Daneet Steffens
January 19, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

A murder mystery set in Virginia’s snooty foxhunting world sounds promising enough, but Outfoxed, Brown’s misguided mélange of talking animals, drugs, racism, and adultery, kills all suspense. The delicious subplot of Machiavellian maneuvers, Southern-style (two equally obnoxious men vying to enhance their power at the prestigious Jefferson Hunt Club), gets lost in the clutter.

Instead, there’s more than you’d ever want to know about outfitting yourself for the horsey hunting life (”The one item everyone appreciated most and talked about the least was a good pair of underpants. Anything with a raised seam eventually rubbed your leg raw”). By the time the community’s impossibly self-righteous matriarch figures out whodunit, you’ll have already called off the hounds.

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