Puss 'n Cahoots

June 9, 2008 – Puss 'n Cahoots (Rita Mae and Sneaky Pie Brown). Recently remarried newlyweds Fair and Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen leave the friendly confines of Crozet, Virginia and head for a horse show in Kentucky. What they find is a killer who's done horsing around.

With Fair and Harry away from home, they're also away from the characters who have become so familiar through past books. A few are referred to but, mostly, it's a whole new group of people who we get to know. They include Joan and Larry, the owners of a horse farm and friends of Harry and Fair; Renata DeCarlo, a movie star who would rather see herself on horseback than on the big screen; Charly, Booty and Ward, three competetive horse trainers. The animal contingent includes Harry's cats - Mrs. Murphy and Pewter - her dog, Tucker and Booty's monkey, Miss Nasty.

The horse show gets off to a bad start for Joan when a valuable piece of her jewelry is stolen. Things get worse when Renata's horse, which was being kept in Joan's stable, goes missing. Things get really bad when the assistant to Joan's head groom is murdered. Harry and her pets are on the case with plenty of help from Fair.

Brown does a good job of fleshing out the new characters so we get to know them without missing the familiar faces too much. My criticisms are more plot related, as some mysteries are solved quickly while others seem like they take longer to unravel than they should. And, of course, there's all that talk about Saddlebreds and gaits and everything else having to do with horses. Not the best entry in the series, but not the worst, either.