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The Tell-Tale Horse

("Sister" Jane #6)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  793 ratings  ·  53 reviews
It's February, prime foxhunting season for the members of Virginia's Jefferson Hunt Club, when a shocking event alarms the community. A woman is found brutally murdered, stripped naked, and meticulously placed atop a horse statue outside a tack shop. The theft of a treasured foxhunting prize inside the store may be linked to the grisly scene, and everyone is on edge.

Paperback, 294 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2007)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  793 ratings  ·  53 reviews

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Aug 31, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't work to start with #6 of the series...
I always enjoy reading Rita Mae Brown, but shes gotten more and more in the habit of sacrificing plot in the name of personal opinion. Theres page after page of diatribes on how the human race is ruining the planet, theyve gotten out of touch with nature, the government is evil, and the end of the world is coming. Granted, those things may all be true, but the result makes this book read more like a manifesto than a mystery. I estimate that I skimmed over at least a third of the pages. The ...more
Val Fournier
Aug 22, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Blargh. Any book which has to have a 5 page intro list of "casts of characters", all the way from the mains to the hunting hounds, is immediately suspect. Then another long list follows of foxhunting terms.
I immediately felt alienated-as if the author was telling me upfront just how much I didn't know and how I probably wouldn't understand the book anyways.
50 pages into the actual novel, I gave up. The characters are uninteresting and the plot drags. This is the first book I have picked up to
Susan Webb
As much as I love Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown's Harry Harristeen books, I have to admit this book disappointed me. It did not capture my attention. I know there are several in this series so I will try one more and hope it was just this book, but I wouldn't recommend this.
I grabbed this as an audio book to pass the time on a nine hour drive. It was the perfect length, and the right blend of cheesy and engaging. I hadn't realized that it was the sixth book in a series, but it didn't feel like I had missed much. The main character was interesting and complex, and worth hanging a mystery around. The mystery itself was decent, though there were a few too many red herrings for my taste.

My main complaint is the talking animals. I'm fine with talking animals in a
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Filled with a winter season of foxhunting and the details of the hunt will make you wish you had the money to be a foxhunter, or at least cap for a few days each year. Of course there is the requisite murder, affairs, lies, and drama to move things along.

A light read, enjoyable, and well written enough to read a second time several years apart.
Sandy Pfefferkorn
Apr 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Although I liked this book, I really prefer her Sneaky Pie Brown books.
David Kirschner
Apr 30, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Picked this up from the library because I laughed at the cover and title, and I'd never read a Rita Mae Brown book, and I needed something light for a road trip. This isn't the one to start with, the middle of a series featuring Sister. I listened to the first two CDs twice, and the second CD once. I can tell you what happened, but I cannot begin to explain the complexities of foxhunting country club life that all the super hot, old, rich, gossip-loving people in the story partake in. They talk ...more
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not good. It felt like the author was more interested in showing us how cool and progressive Sister is that an actual story. Except that Sister (and the author) comes across as pretentious and unaware. Ironically, this inadvertently fits the attitudes of old VA elitist southern belles. Thats the real flaw of the book. Brown is so focused on making Sister a Mary Sue that she misses the satire of such a character.
I didnt know that this is the the sixth book in the series. Not that it made a
Maureen Shannon
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just love

Although there are times when I find Sister Jane doing too much serminizing, I still love all the kinds of love the books reveal. I have to come to love so many of the characters of the stories, that I wait eagerly for the next book and then have to start at the beginning and reread every Sister Jane again. Keep them coming, Rita Mae Brown!
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Wow! Again, I did not see that coming! It's a good thing that we are constantly being introduced to new characters, because they are dropping like flies! I love all of these strong female characters! Jane and Betty, Tootie and Val, etc. etc. I can't wait to read the next book in the series. Five out of five stars to the Tell-Tale Horse.
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book was WORK. And the work was nowhere close to being worth the reward. The characters were not remotely believable, and the mystery was just weird.
Morgan Halbert
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was beautifully done, Sister is a strong leading character with nerves of steel. It was a good mix of some suspense, friendship, love for one another, and of course murder!
Gerda Leek
a fox hunting novel, but I didn't like this one
Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I love Rita Mae Brown, and am especially partial to her "Fox Hunting Series" with Sister Jane Arnold as the main character.

The end to this book was reaaaaally good and had me on the edge of my seat, but I was a little annoyed by the "Mary Sue" like persona of Sister. "Mary-Suing" is a phrase typically found in the fanfiction realm, used to denote a character who is perfect in every way. While Brown does appear to demonstrate that her characters have "faults" such as Sister's sleeping around,
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I bought two of Brown's foxhunting mysteries. After laboring my way through just this one, I sent both to the used bookstore.

It's clear she's extremely knowledgeable about foxhunting. And I appreciate that. But I had an early indication that I was in trouble when the start of the book included a full listing of the characters. Human and animal. A FULL listing. And by full, I mean there were a lot. A LOT of a lot. It became tiresome to keep track of them all.

And talk about jumping (no pun
Aug 19, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book because I love mysteries and I love horses. The mystery plays second fiddle to the fox hunting, which is wrong way round in my opinion. I pressed "skip" more than once to get beyond the endless descriptions of fox hunt attire, protocol, and terrain - none of which progressed the mystery plot. And talk about alternating points view - the hounds spoke to each, the foxes spoke to one another, even Jane's pets had dialogue...good grief. And there were so many human ...more
Jan 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Woo Hoo we are off and running and that is not just the hunt. We have a murder victim on page 16.
Risque...p 10 "Speaking of balls...if a man has taste and is fortunate enough to win the hand of the right woman, best to use them in one location."
p 15 on whose is running for office "That's not what the people want these days. They want false glamour, a smooth liar, and, above all, a pious hypocrite." (less)Stories are getting better. Murder and clues throughout. Enjoying the behind the scenes
Beverly Lawrence
A fun read, with some added attractions to those of us who have a 'horsey' background. The setting of the 'hunt country' in Virginia and its population of the fox hunting crowd (both aging and 'newbie'), and their relationships to one another, sets the scene for some nefarious behaviour - both of the deadly (murder) and not quite so deadly (philandering) type. The 'humour' added by communication between the companion animals (horses, hounds, terriers, house and barn cats) and the foxes, ...more
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure what happened to RMB. She used to be a clever, funny writer with engaging characters, and enjoyable plots. All of her work I have recently read, however, seems like little more than an opportunity for her to stand on her soapbox and spout her political views. She's also become very pedantic, lecturing the readers through the mouths of her characters. Rather than have the narrator explain some arcane foxhunting minutiae for example, she has her characters explain it to each other. ...more
Jul 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
#6 in the "Sister" Jane Arnold fox hunting in Virginia mystery series. Another very good mystery and story with the core characters in the series. As usual, it is not overly difficult to make a good guess at who the murderer is, but it doesn't detract from the story line. As usual, the action centers around fox hunting and the activities of Sister's fox hunting club. However, this story deals with the communications industry and less about the problems with a central character who has been ...more
Laura Brown
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The more I read this series, the better I like and enjoy the characters. This story took a huge swing at the end to reveal the murderer, who was never even on the radar. I think more clues should have and could have been dropped earlier in the story to help the reader start coming to the conclusion that the author did. Looking back, if there were clues, they were too subtle for me! Anyway, I love a good hunt with Sister and enjoy being transported to the genteel Virginia countryside.
Sep 05, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Reading a Rita Mae Brown book in this series is like a visit with old friends. I love hearing what everyone is doing, who's moved into the community, and what other calamities have befallen the member of the Jefferson Hunt Club. Sister is a marvelous character, an astute sleuth and someone you wish you could visit for the weekend. Though the culprit in this particular book was pretty easy to spot early on, Brown's plotting was good and the resolution highly dramatic.
Katharine Reynolds
It takes right off with the first murder right away. But I'm a little confused now as to relationships and who knows what about whom. But not giving up as its a fast read so far.
The wrap up was half what I had figured out, half surprise. Very lively read and have plunged right into the next book. Wish Ms. Brown would write about Jane's grand father. Think there's a great story or several lurking there.
Feb 01, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no
Recommended to Linda by: myself
Shelves: rita-mae-brown
I'm a big fan of this Foxhound series but this mystery wasn't as interesting as the previous ohters for me it fell flat. It just wasn't as intriguing as the other previous mysteries in the series. This book was a little shorter than the others and I felt the build up to discovering the murderer was kinda brief and I didn't really feel one way or another about the who was killed. There wasn't a sense of elation like, "good you captured the bad guy" so it just didn't intrigue me this time.
Tara Choate
I'm not sure how to review this book either. I started out thinking I hadn't read it, then opened it and realized that I had... or at least skimmed it. My main criticism is there weren't enough "hunts" and SO much reflection/philosophy. In fact, this is my criticism of this series going forward. There is literally a lot of sitting aroudn talking, and not much action. Yet when the action comes, it's SO good.
Susan Miller
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great chase through the Virginia country side to find a killer, led by the intrepid sister Jane. This killer has shot women and left them publicly displayed, naked and horseback. Odd twists leave you wondering who the murderer is. Sometimes lying, cheating husbands are the worst. Some women can tolerate it, others look the other way, some eventually take action.
Jun 14, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Rita Mae Brown is a great writer, but this is one from her "Sister Jane and the Outfoxed" series, where the animals (foxhounds, foxes, cats, birds, etc) are also characters and talk to each other. It's just not for me. A good mystery, but I guess I'm just not that much of an animal lover! To get through the book I had to skip over the scenes of the animals talking to each other.
I've read this whole series so far and throughout them all I've greatly enjoyed the social interaction and the character development of both the humans and the animals and also the wonderful descriptions of the foxhunting and Virginia. But I must be honest, the mysteries are nothing special and the books would be just as good without them.
Apr 02, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Got a little tired of reading about the death of Sister's husband Ray and son RayRay. It just kept coming up and coming up. I've always enjoyed Ms. Brown's animals and characters, but this time the characters weren't very likable.
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Rita Mae Brown is a prolific American writer, most known for her mysteries and other novels (Rubyfruit Jungle). She is also an Emmy-nominated screenwriter.

Brown was born illegitimate in Hanover, Pennsylvania. She was raised by her biological mother's female cousin and the cousin's husband in York, Pennsylvania and later in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Starting in the fall of 1962, Brown attended the

Other books in the series

"Sister" Jane (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Outfoxed ("Sister" Jane, #1)
  • Hotspur ("Sister" Jane, #2)
  • Full Cry ("Sister" Jane, #3)
  • The Hunt Ball  ("Sister" Jane, #4)
  • The Hounds and the Fury ("Sister" Jane, #5)
  • Hounded to Death ("Sister" Jane, #7)
  • Fox Tracks ("Sister" Jane #8)
  • Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (Sister" Jane, #9)
  • Crazy Like a Fox ("Sister" Jane #10)
  • Homeward Hound ("Sister" Jane, #11)

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