Growing up in the small Mississippi town of Lucedale, I had two ambitions. I fantasized about being a cowgirl and solving mysteries, a la Nancy Drew. Fate has a wicked sense of humor. I have attained my dreams, but certainly not in the way I envisioned them at the age of nine.
Today, I live both of those fantasies through the character of Sarah Booth Delaney, a thirty-something Mississippi woman who solves the crimes of passion and greed around her hometown of Zinnia. Sarah Booth also finds a little time to ride horses around the vast cotton fields that mirror both the wealth and poverty of her home region, the Mississippi Delta.
Sarah Booth stumbled into crime solving when she left New York City and an unsuccessful theater career to rush home to stop a tax sale on her family plantation of Dahlia House. The ancestral home and lands were virtually on the auction block when she hired herself out to investigate the dark and mysterious Hamilton Garrett V.
Uncertain of how, exactly, to investigate, Sarah Booth comes to realize that she has a talent for asking nosy questions and a network of friends who work with her to find justice. With the successful resolution of whether Hamilton is a mother-killer or a victim of a frame (THEM BONES), Sarah Booth is set upon a path that leads to exciting cases, danger, humorous happenings, and always an appreciation for her friends.
One of the biggest surprises is that she isn’t alone in the family home. A wise-cracking, bossy, and demanding ghost haunts Dahlia House. Jitty, the shade of her great-great-grandmother’s Civil War era nanny, is a sassy piece of work who keeps Sarah Booth in line. She’s a fashionista who hops decades to wear the glam trends of the times and gives Sarah Booth advice about her love life and cryptic messages about the past.
Sarah Booth, who lost her parents early on, finds family and connections in the friends she builds in Zinnia. While mysteries are the skeleton of these books, friendship is at the heart of each story. Humor is also a key ingredient. Tinkie Bellcase Richmond, the town’s society leader and the most accomplished Daddy’s Girl in the state, becomes Sarah Booth’s partner in the detective agency. While Sarah Booth is an avid tomboy and disdainer of the Daddy’s Girls species of female, she grows to appreciate Tinkie’s special skill set. The two make the perfect partnership for poking into shady business and dead bodies. Sarah Booth also finds help and friendship from journalist Cece Dee Falcon (formerly Cecil), psychic Madame Tomeeka, and café owner, Millie Roberts. Just your typical gathering of Southern eccentrics in any small town.
BOOTY BONES is the 14th book in the series, and one that moves across the state line to Dauphin Island, Alabama. Sarah Booth takes her fiancé, Graf Milieu, to the Gulf Coast island to heal from a bullet wound from a previous adventure. While touring Fort Gaines, Sarah Booth meets Angela Trotter, a young woman whose father was murdered only hours after he proclaimed that he’d located a valuable pirate treasure. Angela believes that Larry Wofford, the man convicted of killing her dad, is innocent—and she intends to prove it.
Angela hires a reluctant Sarah Booth to prove that Wofford has been falsely convicted of shooting the hard-drinking treasure hunter. Although her father, John Trotter, told several people he’d found the key to finding the Esmeralda treasure, no evidence of the gold and jewels has ever been found.
When Sarah Booth and Tinkie begin to pry the lid off the case, they find leads that connect to various elected officials and plenty of danger. Sarah Booth has left Dahlia House for this adventure, but she can’t leave Jitty, who puts in several appearances that seem foreboding. And of course Sweetie Pie the hound and Pluto the cat are on-scene.
I’m currently at work on the 15th Bones book, and I often reflect on how these characters and these stories have allowed me to have my dream. I solve mysteries through Sarah Booth, and I do have several horses (some of them rescues) as well as an abundance of dogs and cats (all rescue animals). I’m a big promoter of spay/neuter opportunities for low-income families in the area where I live because animal over-population is such a serious problem.
I hope you’ll give BOOTY BONES a try. You can jump into the series with any book, and who can resist pirate treasure and an island paradise? Talk about the perfect beach read!
Macmillan, my publisher, has been running some great specials on the e-book backlist of the Bones books, so grab a bargain while you can. Click here for more details.
If you’d like to know more about me and my passion for writing, animals, and mischief, you can go to www.carolynhaines.com My animal rescue work is at www.goodfortunefarmrefuge.org. Join the fun with a Bones adventure. As Sarah’s wise (and wise cracking) Aunt Loulane would say, “Eat a live toad the first thing in the morning and nothing worse can happen to you for the rest of the day.”
A signed copy of BOOTY BONES will be given to one person who comments!