Overview from www.bn.com: The complex and romanticized lifestyle of elite foxhunters is revealed in this thrilling murder mystery. An attractive and wealthy lawyer and horseman, Doug Cummings personifies the old money equine subculture of Middleburg, Virginia. Driven to succeed, Cummings’s climb to the top is halted when he becomes the target of a twisted scheme to frame him for the murders of his former lover and horse groom. As Cummings attempts to find the true culprits, the conflicting forces of his community offer a revealing look at how vengeance, love, and envy obscure the search for truth and justice.
I found the description above a little strange on this book since I didn’t know that the lifestyle of foxhunters had been romanticized either in this book or in the media in general. In fact, I didn’t even know that fox-hunting was practiced in this country or what exactly it entailed. This book educated me. Don’t get the idea that the book is entirely focused on fox-hunting. It is not. But it was still fun for me to learn something new.
The book centers around Doug Cummings who becomes a prime suspect in some mysterious deaths, later classified as murders, that occur in this small, elite community. Cummings is a well-respected tax attorney working out of nearby Washington D.C. who begins to see his career destroyed as the bodies pile up while he remains the chief suspect.
To prove his innocence, he enlists the help of a locally well-know defense attorney named Anne Sullivan- not to be confused with the Anne Sullivan of “The Miracle Worker.” Though Anne goes to great lengths to defend Doug from his critics in the community who become more and more convinced with each passing day that he is guilty, even she has her doubts though in the end, she choses to believe her client.
Caught up in the middle are Anne’s ward Samantha and her nanny, as well as Doug’s three alleged victims. The book kept me guessing throughout as to whether Doug is guilty or not. Of course the existence of several nefarious characters create the possibility of other suspects but every so often some new evidence turns up that seems to point right back at Doug again. I think it is a safe guarantee that you will be kept on your toes throughout this tale of murder in Virginia’s back country.
The only negatives I can think of to mention here are two-fold. First, there are certain sex scenes that I didn’t care for too much but they didn’t strike me as terribly graphic and they didn’t stop me from enjoying the book. Second, I got confused on page 176 when they started talking about some protest that was being held by the fox-hunting community against some bill that was reintroduced in Parliament. I wondered what Parliament, capital P, had to with anything since this story was supposed to be happening in the United States. Later, it was explained that the English Parliament was the one refered to but I wasn’t clear on that at first, and also wasn’t sure why they would hold a protest of sorts about something that was happening in an entirely different country even if it did relate to fox-hunting. Maybe that is normal but it seemed a little over the top to me.
If you can get past that, however, I think you will enjoy this book a lot. It was certainly entertaining and it didn’t disappoint.
P.S. Please forgive the lateness of this review. I had some pressing problems come up yesterday and was unable to post.