A Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery #4
April 1, 2003
Available in: Hardcover
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.
USA Today bestselling author Carolyn Haines grew up with both parents working as journalists, and she was bitten by the writing bug at a very young age. Her three ambitions were to be a cowgirl, a mystery-solving sleuth like Nancy Drew, and a writer. Today, she has basically accomplished them all. She is the author of the acclaimed Bones mystery series and in addition, she works as an advocate for humane treatment for animals and operates a small rescue on her farm (7 horses, 9 cats and 6 dogs).
Haines claims to have had “the last golden childhood of the South.” She grew up in Lucedale, Mississippi, a town of 3,000 in the Southeastern Pine Barrens. She rode her bicycle all over the county with her wonderful dog Venus and employed her imagination to create adventures with her friends.
Her first job in journalism was at the local weekly, The George County Times, when she was in high school. She went on to work as a photojournalist at the Hattiesburg American while attending the University of Southern Mississippi to earn a B.S. in journalism.
She worked for nearly a decade in the news business, covering local politics, the state legislatures in Alabama and Mississippi, spot news, writing a personal column and her favorite—writing features and using photography to illustrate the story. With her mother, she ran a statewide bureau in Mississippi for the Mobile Register and the Mississippi Press. As part of her journalistic adventures, Haines covered an armed robbery on horseback, hopped a freight train, and rescued a young, injured bald eagle from certain death. She was the first female reporter hired on the news side of the Huntsville Times.
At the same time, she began writing short fiction for personal satisfaction. Under the sway of Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, Doris Betts, and Lee Smith, Haines wrote about the landscape and the people she knew. The end result was being accepted by an agent who urged her to “write a novel.”
Another huge influence was Harper Lee and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Haines’s first novel was SUMMER OF THE REDEEMERS, a coming of age story set in 1963 rural Mississippi and published in 1994. Haines was honored in 2010 with the Harper Lee Award for Distinguished Writing.
In 2009, Haines was named the recipient of the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence.
From general fiction, Haines drifted into mysteries, and THEM BONES, a humorous mystery with a wise-cracking ghost, was bought at auction. The stories center around Sarah Booth Delaney and her friends. The fourteenth book in the series, BOOTY BONES, was published May 20, 2014, by St. Martin’s Minotaur.
While writing the lighter mysteries, Haines has continued to write in the darker terrain of the crime novel. PENUMBRA and FEVER MOON (both St. Martin’s Minotaur) are historical crime novels.
In May 2010, an anthology she edited, DELTA BLUES, was released to critical acclaim.
Along with writing, Haines is the fiction coordinator at the University of South Alabama where she teaches graduate and undergraduate fiction writing. And she is president of Good Fortune Farm Refuge, an organization dedicated to helping animals and to educating the public on the need to spay and neuter.
She lives on a farm with her “critters.” They are the terror of the neighborhood.