Normally found on the Olympic Peninsula, Carson Stables
owner Annie Carson attends a dressage event in Southern
California. If the mystery contains horses, I'm interested.
I've previously enjoyed a couple of the books in the Carson
Stables series and this is the fourth title. The
stable facilities we see initially near Annie's home are
not just warmer than usual in Washington state, they're a
lot swankier. In a wonderful gesture, the center is going
to be a rescue home for both horses and troubled kids. Both
equestrian trainers and skilled counselors will be on
site. The aim is to rehabilitate boys away from crime.
Travis Latham is the man responsible with the help of
boyfriend Marcus Colbert.
RUNAWAY MURDER then brings Annie down to California where,
as a Western horse trainer, she knows she is out of her
depth. Her pals Patricia Winter and Liz Faraday, keen
riders and horse dealers, invite her down for a weekend of
luxury and networking. The two former movie stars own a
dressage stable with the utmost in modern facilities --
solar panels to run the air conditioning -- and regularly
put up groups of equestrians during competitions. But Annie
isn't long on the premises (feeling out of place), when
tragedy strikes. The police are called to a car accident
and someone who was riding a horse recently has been
killed. They suspect foul play. I have to say the death
upsets me, and I'd barely met the victim. Some people's
deaths seem to elicit no sympathy and others make the
reader want to find out what happened, personally if
If you can tell a Hanoverian from an Andalusian and a
Friesian, you'll feel right at home here, as I did, as poor
Annie didn't. She's never even seen a double bridle or a
half-halt. All the horses are classically trained and each
is described as a distinct personality, as are the good
folks, from chefs to snobs, populating the sports complex.
Along with a little history we find rivalries, nastiness,
gossiping, and unpleasant treatment. Some odd events occur --
small perhaps but they add up, especially after Marcus
Colbert arrives. And the killer isn't finished yet.
This book absolutely gripped me from start to finish. I
could visualize every stride, piece of tack, and riding aid.
The author Leigh Hearon credits dressage instructors
Rebecca Parker Clarke, Janet Grumbok, and Charlotte Dujardin,
as well as other riders, for her information. This is
definitely the best book featuring horses you'll read all
year, and by far one of the best-plotted mysteries too.
RUNAWAY MURDER moves the Carson
Stables up into a whole new
Breaking free from her mounting responsibilities on the
Olympic Peninsula, Carson Stables owner Annie Carson
reluctantly swaps muddy jeans for breeches to attend a
dressage event in Southern California. But after settling
into elegant digs at a historic mansion, she finds
herself surrounded by palace intrigue, backbiting riders,
and cold-blooded murder. As Annie makes heads or tails of
clues scattered around the show ring, she must figure out
which of her new acquaintances is a killer—before the
crazed culprit takes the reins . . .