Rita Mae Brown

American author possibly best known for her seminal lesbian novel Rubyfruit Jungle, but also having written two animal-filled mystery series, as well as a number of other novels. Born in Pennsylvania in 1944. She was brought up amidst horses and horse racing. She says that her mother "has the best eye for a horse I have ever witnessed." Her mother also liked gambling and often took her daughter racing. A love of horses was inherited, but luckily not a disposition for gambling!

Ms. Brown studied at the University of Florida and New York University and gained degrees in Classics, English, cinematography and a PHD in political science. However academic life was not for her and she became involved in politics, especially in Civil Rights, the feminist movement and Gay Liberation. She began writing poetry in the early 1970s and novels were soon to follow, the success of her first book
Rubyfruit Jungle paving the way for many more bestsellers.

Rita Mae Brown now lives on a farm in Virginia and breeds Thoroughbreds and TB/QH crosses. She has played polo and founded the first woman only polo club in America. She is a also a MFH and has her own pack of hounds, however she stresses that she never kills foxes on her hunts. In fact she is a lover of all animals and has rescued hundreds of cats, dogs, foxes and other animals. Hunting and animals feature in many of her books.

Her horse-themed books consist of a mystery series revolving around a woman MFH solving a string of murders. It is highly unusual for the genre in that the various animals, hounds, foxes, horses and cats, all have viewpoints and get involved with the plot and the sleuthing! (Similarly in her 'Mrs. Brown' mystery series, a cat helps humans solve crimes.) Horses and hunting also appear in two other novels, a time-slip fantasy and a historical war story.

As well as writing novels, Ms. Brown has also written screenplays and worked in Hollywood. She has written a writer's manual and two autobiographical works.

The author has her own website.

Sister Jane Series:  (Adult Fiction)
Adult crime mysteries set against a hunting backdrop. Unusual in that the animals as well as the humans have a point of view and get involved in the mysteries!

1) OUTFOXED
(BALLANTINE [USA] 2000)
Reprinted in paperback.
SUMMARY: MFH Jane 'Sister' Arnold  is nearing 70 and looking for a successor to take over the prestigious Jefferson Hunt in Virginia. There are two rivals for the position and both will stop at nothing to discredit the other. But when a murder takes place on the day of the opening hunt of the season it seems things may have gone too far. Sister Jane, along with the help of hounds and foxes, sets out to solve the murder.
PONYMAD RATING: 3 HORSESHOES

2) HOTSPUR
(BALLANTINE [USA] 2003)
Reprinted in paperback.
SUMMARY: Sister Jane must solve a twenty year old murder involving a wealthy socialite.

3) FULL CRY
(BALLANTINE [USA] 2003)
Reprinted in paperback.
SUMMARY: At last Sister Jane announcing the new joint master to the world at large - and it proves a shock! Even more shocking is another murder...

4) THE HUNT BALL
(BALLANTINE [USA] 2005)
SUMMARY:
Reprinted in paperback.
SUMMARY: When a murder takes place at an exclusive girls school it is up to Sister Jane and an assortment of cats, dogs and foxes, to help find the culprit.

5) THE HOUNDS AND THE FURY
(BALLANTINE [USA] 2006)
Reprinted in paperback.
SUMMARY: Both murder and the mystery of missing millions from a local business are on the menu for Sister Jane and her animal helpers to solve.

6) THE TELL-TALE HORSE
(BALLANTINE [USA] 2007)
SUMMARY:
Reprinted in paperback.
SUMMARY: Sister Jane and assorted animals try and solve a 'Lady Godiva' murder and the theft of a hunting treasure.

7) HOUNDED TO DEATH
(BALLANTINE [USA] 2008)
Reprinted in paperback.
SUMMARY: Sister Jane travels to Kentucky to a hound show and finds death awaiting her there. Death too is waiting back home when her vet friend Hope appears to have killed herself. Can the two deaths be linked?

8) FOX TRACKS
(BALLANTINE [USA] 2013)
Reprinted in paperback.
SUMMARY: A string of bizarre murders sweeps the East coast. Can Sister Jane and her animal friends put an end to the crimewave?

9) LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE
(BALLANTINE [USA] 2014)
SUMMARY: Sister Jane travels to Kentucky where a century old crime stirs up ill will and scandals

Collector's Info:
All still in print. All easy to find in the USA and UK. Some, possibly all, were also reprinted in large print editions.

Other Horse & Pony Books: (Adult Fiction)

RIDING SHOTGUN
(BANTAM [USA] 1996)
Reprinted in paperback.
Also a large print edition.
Still in print.
SUMMARY: Fantasy/historical/mystery. While spending the first anniversary of her husband's death enjoying a pastime they both loved - fox hunting - widow and single mother Cig Blackwood discovers that her husband died in the arms of another woman and is swept back in time to the year 1699.

HIGH HEARTS
(BANTAM [USA] 1986)
Reprinted in paperback.
Still in print.
SUMMARY: Historical story with some horse content. Set in the time of the American Civil war, newly married Geneva is the best rider in the district. When her husband goes off to war she cuts her hair and takes her two horses with her to enlist in the army and follow her husband into battle.

Collector's Info:
Both still in print and easy to find in the UK and USA.

Books About the Author:

RITA WILL: MEMOIR OF A LITERARY RABBLE-RAISER
(BANTAM [USA] 1997)
Reprinted in paperback.
SUMMARY: Autobiographical memoir of the author's Iife.

ANIMAL MAGNETISM: MY LIFE WITH CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL
(BALLANTINE [USA] 2009)
SUMMARY: Autobiographical work focusing on how various animals have dominated and shaped her life.

Collector's Info:
Still in print and easy to find in both the UK and USA.