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About Carolyn Haines
When I was growing up in the small town of Lucedale, Mississippi, I had big dreams. I wanted to be a cowgirl, a writer, and Nancy Drew. Life has surely thrown me more than a few twists, but dreams are hard to destroy. Today, I’m all three–sort of. Of course the only mysteries I solve are in Zinnia, Mississippi. And I have the help of Sarah Booth Delaney, Tinkie, Cece, Coleman, Millie and a host of other characters. They’ll be quick to tell you they do all the hard work–I’m just the writer.
As to the horses, I have three. But no cows. I’m a little too tenderhearted. If I had a herd of cows, they’d live with me until they died of old age. But I do have the horses, Miss Scrapiron, a Thoroughbred, Mirage, a half-Arabian, and Cogar, a Thoroughbred-Connemara cross.
In the dog department, I have my very own Sweetie Pie, a red tic hound; Maybelline, a tall beagle; Zelda, a husky; and Rosie, a red dog. All of the dogs are strays, as are the cats, Miss Vesta, Gumbo, Poe, Chester, and Maggie.
A lot of people ask me how I started writing about the Mississippi Delta. My hometown, Lucedale, is way down in the Southeast corner of the state. That section is called the pine barrens, and it lives up to its name. Pine trees are a cash crop, and thousands of acres were once owned by the big paper companies. It’s a world very different from the Mississippi Delta.
My first visit to the Delta was as a photojournalist. I went to Parchman State Prison to do a newspaper story. Parchman was notorious at that time, and I can still remember the terrible desolation I felt when I looked out and saw mile after mile of heat and cotton. But the Delta also has fabulous wealth. And it has the blues. I knew then, at the age of 21, that I would one day write about that land of stark contrasts and strange beauty.
Sarah Booth and Jitty came to me in tandem, arguing just as they do in the books. When such fully developed characters visit a writer, it’s truly a gift. I didn’t know Sarah Booth was a private investigator–in fact she didn’t either–until I’d started writing the book (Them Bones). Now, it’s become my challenge to give her interesting cases to solve.
Before I wrote fiction I worked for nearly a decade as a journalist. That experience has been invaluable as a writer. It was a fabulous life for a young woman, and I had some terrific adventures. I once covered an armed robbery on horseback and on another occasion had to climb a tree to cover a hostage situation in a graveyard. It’s a good thing I was a tomboy growing up.
Along with riding my bicycle, building forts in the woods with my brothers, playing baseball and touch football, and getting into mischief, I also spent a lot of time with my grandmother. She lived with us when I was a child, and she was a wonderful storyteller. She’d emigrated from Sweden when she was six, and she had a host of stories that kept me riveted for hours.
Many of the stories my grandmother told were ghost stories. When she really wanted us kids to be good, she’d recite that James Whitcomb Riley poem, “Little Orphan Annie.” We’d be terrified to even let a hand dangle off the bed, so we were very, very good! During spend-the-night parties, I often repeated Grandma’s stories to my friends, usually ending in a squealing, writhing heap of girls trying to find an adult to protect us. But my true love was mysteries. I devoured them as a reader. As early as high school I started trying to write short mysteries.
Prior to the Bones series, I wrote Summer of the Redeemers (1994) and Touched (1996). Though they were published as general fiction, they both contain strong mystery elements. But it wasn’t until Sarah Booth stole that dog that I realized I had hold of a real mystery. I’ve spent the last five years in the company of the Zinnia crowd, and I have to say I’ve had a great time.
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Carolyn Haines's Lady of Bones is the next novel in the series that Kirkus Reviews characterizes as “Stephanie Plum meets the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” featuring sassy Southern private investigator Sarah Booth Delaney.
It’s Halloween season in Mississippi as Sarah Booth and the gang gather to decorate and gush over Tinkie’s new baby, Maylin. Sarah Booth is just about to refresh the cocktails when she hears a knock on the door and opens it to find a woman named Frankie, distraught at the disappearance of her daughter Christa, a young journalist. Christa had been investigating the disappearance of young women in New Orleans over a five-year period—one every year around Halloween. Now Christa herself is missing, and Frankie fears it may be connected to a cult based in the Garden District, called People of Eternity.
People of Eternity are known to have far-reaching connections which Frankie worries may reach as high as law enforcement. Refusing to contact the authorities, she turns to Delaney Detective Agency as her only hope.
Despite initial reservations, Sarah Booth accepts the case, which takes her on a journey to a secret underworld of beguiling cult leaders, witchcraft, and potentially human sacrifice. She’ll have to keep her wits about her if she wants to crack this case…and make it home alive.
Southern gal Sarah Booth Delaney packs up her hound dog and her P.I. business and sets off for Hollywood to take a shot at stardom. No stranger to acting, she aces the screen test for a racy remake of the movie Body Heat alongside leading man Graf Miliau. The chemistry between them is undeniable, and why not? Graf has already starred in one of Sarah's previous affairs and is well on his way to landing a big part in the sequel.
Thrilled as Sarah is, her dream come true comes at a price. She has to leave behind her family's ancestral home in Mississippi, her closest friends, and the possibility of settling down with her longtime love to film on location in Costa Rica. And it's not long before rivalries flare, mysterious accidents occur, and this leading lady finds herself in some steamy tabloids without turning up in a single frame of film.
Carolyn Haines's Wishbones takes the sultry romance and colorful friendships of this delightfully Southern series and heads out west for a mystery that is as thrilling off camera as it is on.
No self-respecting lady would allow herself to end up in Sarah Booth’s situation. Unwed, unemployed, and over thirty, she’s flat broke and about to lose the family plantation. Not to mention being haunted by the ghost of her great-great-grandmother’s nanny, who never misses an opportunity to remind her of her sorry state—or to suggest a plan of action, like ransoming her friend’s prize pooch to raise some cash.
But soon Sarah Booth’s walk on the criminal side leads her deeper into unladylike territory, and she’s hired to solve a murder. Did gorgeous, landed Hamilton Garrett V really kill his mother twenty years ago? And if so, what is Sarah Booth doing falling for this possible murderer? When she asks one too many questions and a new corpse turns up, she is suddenly a suspect herself . . . and Sarah Booth finds that digging up the bones of the past could leave her rolling over in her grave.
Carolyn Haines's Independent Bones is the next novel in the series that Kirkus Reviews characterizes as “Stephanie Plum meets the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” featuring sassy Southern private investigator Sarah Booth Delaney.
When Dr. Alala Diakos, a visiting professor of Greek literature, comes to teach at Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi, it doesn't take long for controversy to follow. With her fervent feminist ideals and revolutionary leanings, she quickly earns the admiration of many—and the ire of others. During a speech in the park, in which Alala tries to organize the women of Zinnia to demand equal pay, the crowd gets unruly, with men heckling the professor. And when PI Sarah Booth Delaney finds a sniper rifle and scope in the bushes, she begins to worry that there are more than fighting words at stake.
Sarah Booth calls her boyfriend, Sheriff Coleman Peters, who offers the protection of the Zinnia police department, but Alala rejects him, saying she has no use for the law or men. And when a notorious domestic abuser is found dead the next day, suspicions turn to Alala herself, who was overheard bragging that she would take him down. Tensions deepen when connections are drawn between Alala and two similar, previous deaths.
But Sarah Booth doesn't want to believe Alala is a murderer, and when the professor shows up at Sarah Booth’s doorstep, asking her to find the real criminal, Sarah Booth embarks on a case stretching across the Delta. Yet Alala remains at the center of it all, and Sarah Booth can’t help but wonder if the killer has been with her all along...
Spunky southern private investigator Sarah Booth Delaney tackles a string of strange accidents while celebrating the holiday season in Carolyn Haines's cozy A Garland of Bones
Sarah Booth has traded in hosting this Christmas season for a road trip with her besties. Each little Delta town has a special Christmas activity, and Sarah Booth’s bff and detective partner, Tinkie, has arranged to rent a limo for the gang and drive to Columbus, MS, to stay in a B&B. Visions of Christmas shopping, parade floats, and romantic rendezvous are already dancing in their heads.
But Christmas cheer soon turns to Christmas fear when, at one event after another, people keep getting hurt. Christmas karaoke gets ugly when one singer’s microphone gives her an electric shock. A party during a historic home tour ends with a fall down the stairs for one of Columbus’s most disreputable “players.” And when the woman who hires Sarah Booth to find the villain behind the so-called accidents is nearly killed with an arrow during a holiday mumming, Sarah Booth knows something more sinister is at work.
The Christmas bells are ringing hauntingly in Columbus this year, and Sarah Booth and Tinkie—with a little help from hunky Sheriff Coleman Peters, of course—are determined to catch the wrong-doers and ensure they receive nothing but coal in their stockings.
The Devil's Bones is the latest novel in the series from Carolyn Haines that Kirkus Reviews characterizes as “Stephanie Plum meets the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” featuring sassy Southern private investigator Sarah Booth Delaney.
As Sarah Booth sees it, Easter weekend is a time to celebrate life in all its many forms. So when the newly-pregnant Tinkie invites her and Cece on a girls’ trip to Lucedale, Mississippi to celebrate that spring has officially sprung, Sarah Booth can’t resist. Plans include facials, food, and a trip to the incredible Garden of Bones—a miniature Holy Land with recreations of all parts of the Middle East—for their Sunrise Easter Services led by biblical scholar, gardener, and creator of the Gardens Daniel Reynolds.
Unfortunately for Sarah Booth and the gang, someone doesn’t seem appreciate this season of new life. Easter morning has just dawned when the trio find themselves at the Mount of Olives—with a dead body at their feet.
Reynolds identifies the dead man as local lawyer Perry Slay, who was well known for his sly and underhanded dealings. Perry had rubbed plenty of people the wrong way, and now it looks like someone has rubbed him out…
Because being a PI apparently means never being on vacation, Sarah Booth and her friends must now find a way to resurrect the truth from a list of suspects as long as the River Jordan, reveal the devil in disguise, and—if they’re lucky—find a moment to enjoy a few chocolate bunnies before more bodies pile up like pillars of salt.
Ambrose, once a famous man of southern letters, is planning a comeback: a delicious tell-all with a bitchy ex-model as his “biographer.” As he taunts his dinner guests with the news that his book will blow the lid off Zinnia’s darkest secrets, it becomes plain that each and every guest has a secret—and wants Ambrose to keep it. When the morning-after mess includes a bloody corpse and the manuscript of the biography disappears, Sarah Booth goes digging for answers. But many who hold them are six feet under—or soon will be—and if she doesn’t tread carefully, she could join them any day now. . . .
Eulalee McBride has confessed to murdering her husband...and she wants Sarah to dig up the dirt on the violent scalawag to prove he got what he deserved. Sarah Booth suspects that her friend is lying through her pearly whites...but why? There’s certainly no lack of suspects in Zinnia, Mississippi, including Bud Lynch, a horse trainer who arouses killer lust in the town’s women. As Sarah Booth begins to put together the pieces of the case, a killer is preparing to strike again. And this time it could send one late-blooming southern sleuth into an early grave.
Sarah Booth Delaney is no ordinary P.I. A born-and-bred Mississippi belle, she struggles to hold on to her family’s plantation and keeps up a running conversation with the ghost of her great-great-grandmother’s nanny, a busybody who decks herself out in a stunning new outfit every day--and schemes to save Sarah Booth from spinsterhood. Not one to wait around for a white knight, Sarah takes on the kind of cases no one else will touch. Like trying to exonerate a man accused of murdering Sunflower County’s most popular musician.
The two men met in prison: Ivory Keys, a gifted black blues pianist, and Scott Hampton, a rich white boy turned racist. Somewhere between the two men, a spark was lit. And by the time he came out of the joint, Scott Hampton had not only renounced his racist ways, he had learned to play a blues guitar that made grown women go weak in the knees. So why did Scott plunge a steel shank into his mentor’s chest? Ivory’s widow doesn’t think he did, and she’s paid Sarah Booth to prove it. No easy task, especially since the delicate racial harmony of Sunflower County is threatening to come undone under the heat of Sarah Booth’s investigation.
For a woman feeling a little heat of her own--navigating between a rich, available businessman, a married lawman with a waffling heart, and the sexy bluesman who is angling to become much more than her client--this case is taking dangerous twists. A town’s slumbering passions have awakened with a jolt, a matchmaking ghost is dressed up like Jackie O, and Sarah Booth is caught between her need to know the truth and the consequences it will have on her town--and on her life.
With riveting suspense and a sparkling cast of unforgettable characters, Carolyn Haines has woven a rich portrait of a part of America grappling with its past, its illusions, and its hopes. Crossed Bones is the most dazzling work yet from a uniquely gifted writer.
Displaced from its New Orleans venue, a red-hot touring production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is opening right in the heart of Zinnia, and featuring hunky star Graf Mileau! Sarah Booth, who had her own brief stint with Mileau himself, is less than thrilled. Graf is now linked with his costar, Renata Troviola, a dyed-in-the-wool diva who plans to ride Graf's coattails all the way to Hollywood. But Renata's trip to the top comes to a screeching halt on the play's second night when someone laces her lipstick with cyanide.
It seems Renata was stirring up plenty of drama behind the scenes, making enemies galore: her long-suffering makeup artist, an extremely harsh critic, an angry audience member. . .even boy toy Graf had a motive. But the most damning evidence points to Sarah. Now, to save her reputation, Sarah reckons she'll have to bring the curtain down on a mystery with more twists and turns than the Old Muddy. . .
Praise for Carolyn Haines and her Southern Belle mysteries:
"Funny, ingenious. . .and delightful." --Dallas Morning News
"Wickedly funny. Devilishly clever. Scintillatingly Southern. Carolyn Haines is an author to die for." --Carolyn Hart
The leaves of the calendar may be shedding faster than the sycamores on her family’s decaying Mississippi plantation, but thirty-something southern belle Sarah Booth Delaney isn’t ready to sing the blues. Not when she’s got a thriving detective agency and the outspoken, outrageously attired ghost of her great-great-grandmother’s nanny to keep her on her toes. But the matchmaking phantom may have the last word on motherhood when Sarah Booth takes on the controversial case of an accused baby killer.
Although Doreen Mallory’s been arrested for feeding sleeping pills to her ten-week-old daughter, no one could accuse her of lacking faith. A healer who, tragically, couldn’t save her own baby girl, born with multiple birth defects, Doreen has her own crosses to bear. While the local law seems convinced of Doreen’s guilt, Sarah Booth isn’t so sure. But why is Doreen reluctant to talk about the men in her life? Like the televangelist who stands to lose a lot more than his flock. Or the married politician with family ties to the Mob. Either of them could be little Rebekah’s father; either of them could also be her killer.
With Halloween approaching and her own personal life up for grabs, Sarah Booth could use a little faith healing herself. Torn between a married sheriff and an old flame who’s literally sweeping her off her feet, she’d better be prepared for the fallout of her most
unpopular case yet. Justice may not stand a ghost of a chance as a decades-old secret explodes, unleashing a storm of fury on Sarah Booth and all those she loves.
Witty, suspenseful, and featuring a cast of memorable characters, Hallowed Bones is a riveting tale of faith, murder, and maternal love. It is Carolyn Haines’s most accomplished novel yet.
Sarah Booth Delaney, a Southern belle known for abiding by tradition only when it suits her, is no stranger to drama. A talented actress and a P.I., she's chosen to pursue a career in Hollywood when she hears that her best friend's husband is suddenly on his deathbed back home in Mississippi---and he's not the only one. The vicious illness begins with burning fevers and delirium, quickly plunging its victims into a coma. The Centers for Disease Control is on the scene, but they can't find a cure for it or the boll weevils that are decimating Sunflower County's cotton crop. With patients in quarantine and the whole town in crisis, Sarah drops everything to stop the outbreak and save the only place she's ever been able to call home.
From feuding scientists to ailing locals, there is no shortage of bad blood coursing through the little town of Zinnia, Mississippi, as Carolyn Haines's often steamy and always charming series turns equally intense in Greedy Bones.