Monday, September 20, 2010

The Tell-Tale Horse - Rita Mae Brown

The Tell-Tale Horse
By: Rita Mae Brown
Published: 2007
Audiobook Read by: Cynthia Darlow
My rating: Good

This was a good mystery with an interesting plot. However it suffered from some confusion and too much description of various fox hunts that took place during the story.

Jane Arnold (Sister), was a fascinating character, filled with the wisdom of her years, having a tender heart and loving ways. I loved how she was so caring towards her animals, even the foxes that she enjoyed hunting so much. Her loving, softheartedness towards Felicity during her struggles and the way she went out of her way to help was a testament to her impeccable character. I very much enjoyed her dry sense of humor and the way she bantered good naturedly with her friends. You could tell that she had years of life's school of hard knocks under her belt and used all of that wisdom to help her through the tough situation that she found herself in.

The plot itself was an excellent premise and overall made for a great mystery. I was pretty well stumped until the secret was openly revealed. Unfortunately the story was weighed down by the frequent bouncing around between what felt like an overwhelming array of characters. I stayed with the plot fairly well but had trouble remembering who each character was and what their role was in the story. I also very much enjoyed the description of the first fox hunt since I am not familiar with they way they normally work. However, after the first hunt I felt that there was no need to continue giving all the blow by blow details for every subsequent hunt. I feel that an overview of each hunt would have been sufficient. I suppose if I were and avid fox hunter I would have appreciated it more. The ending was very dramatic and I must admit that I found myself surprised by it. It was an excellent final twist for the mystery to take, and I felt satisfied by the outcome. Rita did a good job of giving just enough clues that I was able to look back and piece it together, but not enough to give it away too soon.

I also enjoyed the animals in the story. I was surprised to find that Rita gave them dialog of their own. This was a fun part of the book and I very much enjoyed the humorous way they view us humans. The little side story of some of the foxes was a lot of fun to picture in my mind's eye. The cat, Golly, presented an unmistakeably feline character, acting just as I would expect a cat to behave. The way she torments the dogs and the way they treat her in return was very enjoyable.

 I listened to the audiobook read by Cynthia Darlow who did an excellent job. She gave the dialog between the characters a natural sound that made for a very smooth listening experience. She was very easy to listen to and her performance was very enjoyable. I think her only flaw was when she had to do one of the girls that was crying, she gave the voice more of a whine than she should have but fortunately this wasn't a common theme in the book. I would definitely listen to her again!

Overall, this was a very good book and I did enjoy it. The mystery was compelling enough to overcome the flaws. If you get the chance to read it (or listen to it) don't hesitate!

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