Sister Jane" series by Rita Mae Brown.
I've long been a fan of the author, and enjoyed her cozy Mrs. Murphy series as well as her more serious writing. The Sister Jane books are cozies and full of the American foxhunting traditions and culture. If you don't know anything about riding to hounds, you will after reading this book.
The dialogue and writing are pitch perfect (including such southernisms as 'carrying' someone when giving them a lift in your car). Typically for Ms. Brown, the writing is solidly comfortable and engaging. Reading her books is almost like visiting with an old friend you haven't seen for a while; you just pick up where you left off the last time, even if you haven't seen them for ages.
I had read the first couple of books in this series, then sort of lost track of it and hadn't read any of them for several years. I didn't have any trouble following the story or keeping the main characters straight in my head whilst reading. There is a comprehensive dramatis personae section at the beginning of the book in case the reader needs to sort of who is who. That being said, it is the 10th book in the series and would probably be best read in order.
I personally love anthropomorphic mysteries, but fair warning, if talking animals bug you, this probably isn't the series for you. The book also does a superlative job of giving a glimpse into Virginia hospitality and etiquette and the riding subculture.
Four stars (I've put books 3-9 on my TBR pile, that's pretty high praise from me).
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.
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