Hayburner by Laura Crum
Nothing calls more urgently for a vet than a burning barn full of penned animals. Gail McCarthy has to push her way through the crowd around the Bishops' barn, repeating, "I'm a veterinarian." She's doing triage in her head--which one is the most seriously hurt, which one can wait until later.
It's later, when all that she can do for the animals and their owners has been done, that she begins to wonder how the fire started. It's not unusual for improperly baled hay to cause a barn fire; if it's baled too wet, the interior begins to get hotter and hotter, and the hay could catch fire.
But as one barn after another suffers a burn, what started as a suspicion becomes a certainty: the fires are being set. Why? By whom? The owners of the first barn to be burned could be responsible, but that implies insurance to be collected, and they were underinsured. A fellow vet, who insists horses always be kept outdoors rather than in barns, is open to suspicion because of his fanaticism. The junior vet in Gail's practice is behaving very strangely while their boss is out of town.
Gail's own life keeps her busy--a new tenant and very new lover, lessons in breaking her new colt, seeing twice as many ailing horses to cover for her boss's absence. But the barn burnings continue and Gail cannot walk away from the task of finding and stopping whoever is behind them, even though it could land her in the same peril as her animal charges.
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