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At the start of bestseller Brown's discursive seventh crime novel starring master of fox hounds "Sister" Jane Arnold (after The Tell-Tale Horse), Sister is busy showing her hounds in the hunting off-season. Then calamity strikes. At the Mid-America Hound Show in Kentucky, an unpopular master is shot dead with "rat shot" (aka bird shot). Back home in Virginia, a member of Sister's Jefferson Hunt Club disappears. When a veterinarian, despondent over her divorce, apparently commits suicide, Sister decides she can no longer leave matters to the police. As usual, a wealth of fox-hunting lore lends interest, but too many incidentals-a conversation about a saint, the furnishings of Sister's house, a prep school commencement-neither further the plot nor illuminate character. Still, series fans should enjoy catching up with old friends among the Virginia fox-hunting gentry. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.