posted on July 11, 2014 by Carolyn Haines

Welcome to Zinnia

Booty Bones Book 14 in the Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery SeriesGrowing 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.


The herd at my house. Several are rescue horses.

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.

Sorrow Haines

Even the dogs are big readers–Sorrow Haines, the beagle hound.

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.

Eudora Welty Haines

Eudora Welty Haines, a redbone hound I rescued from Hwy 45 coming home for the Eudora Welty symposium.

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  My animal rescue work is at 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!

Carolyn Haines

Carolyn Haines

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.

Carolyn Haines Contest

Carolyn Haines is giving away a hardcover edition of BOOTY BONES, Book 14 in the Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery series.

Enter Here

25 thoughts on “Welcome to Zinnia”

  1. Avatar Veronica Hill says:

    I love the Sarah Booth Delaney Mysteries.I pulled Crossed Bones off the library shelf and fell in love so I decided to start from the begining. I’m am currently reading Greedy Bones 🙂

  2. Avatar Amy Newman Connolley says:

    Love Sarah Booth and all her friends and looking forward to the next book.

  3. Avatar Mimi Livaccari says:

    So happy I discovered this series! Have loved everything you have written. I just finished “The Seeker” and am looking forward to Sarah Booth and Aine’s future adventures.

    And I loved you even more when I found out what a champion you are for animals 🙂

  4. Avatar Nancy Bradford says:

    I do love this series.

  5. Avatar Margie Sheffel says:

    What a wonderful series you have developed!!!!! As Brisco Darling from the town of “Mayberry” would say….”they really twang my buds.” As a mommy of two rescue shelties, I appreciate all the work you do to make a fur babies life worth living.

  6. Avatar Sue Rau says:

    Love this series. Keep up the good work Carolyn. I look forward to each and every escapade Sarah and the crew are in involved in.

  7. Avatar Gwen Lightfoot says:

    Love the “Bones” books…I have them all. Although it’s hard to keep them on my shelves since I’m always loaning them out to friends. Keep writing, Miz Carolyn!

  8. This is an encouraging group of readers! Thank you. I enjoy so many of you on FB. We carry on a lot of mischief. And you ladies don’t forget the “drink” contest for BONE-A-FIED DELICIOUS, Recipes from Zinnia’s Finest Chefs. Make a drink from the cookbook and send me a photo. There is a FB page with all the details. It should be a lot of fun.

  9. Avatar Sara says:

    I think the work that you do ( both writing and rescuing : helping animals) is absolutely woderful! Thank you for being so inspiring!

  10. Avatar Debbie Genito says:

    I loved BOOTY BONES, but then I’ve loved every one of the series. The characters become your friends and Zinnia becomes your home town. You really begin to care about what happens to them! Look at the readers who root for Graf and those who root for Coleman. And who wouldn’t want a spiritual advisor like Jitty?

  11. Avatar Christine Keck says:

    This is one of my favorite series.

  12. I love writing about these characters.

  13. Avatar kansan4dogs says:

    I love the sense of community you have developed. No matter what happens, we know that Sarah Booth is not alone. That sense of mutual support is a very powerful thing!

    1. I have been lucky in friends in my life. So Sarah Booth shares that trait with me. And I agree, Sarah Booth will always have support and that is a wonderful thing to know.

  14. Avatar Emily J says:

    I love the different adventures that Sarah goes on! I think my favorite was when she worked as the maid. I’ve got a stack of books to read and I need to add #14 to it!

    1. That was BONEFIRE OF THE VANITIES, Emily. That was a wild adventure! I’m working on BONE TO BE WILD.

  15. Avatar Sara Bryant says:

    Reading Booty Bones now.. Love Sarah Booth.. cant wait for the next one

    1. I’m working on BONE TO BE WILD, which will be the next Sarah Booth adventure. And thank you, Kristin. The South is “a little bit different” from most places. Since it’s my home, I’m partial to it. I really appreciate everyone commenting and making this blog so much fun.

  16. Avatar Kristin Gable says:

    I love a good story set in the south & peppered with details that only a southern girl “gets”. I love Sarah’s adventures and always look forward to the next book!

  17. Avatar Renae Hester says:

    I love your books & would love a copy of Booty Bones!!

  18. Avatar Sandy says:

    Best story in existence ! You can’t go wrong with a Bones book !

  19. You are all so generous with your compliments. Writing is a solitary business, and there are days (and books) that really make me doubt the validity of what I do. But when people make me feel that these characters are real and important, even as entertainment, it makes it all worthwhile. Thank you.

  20. Avatar Donna Ross says:

    I love stories with animals and I have never read you. I look forward to reading your books

    1. Donna, thank you. I have a lot of animals, so many of the ones in my books are “loosely” based on my own critters. I hope you enjoy the books.

  21. Avatar Tammy Thomas says:

    I absolutely love your books !! I came across them in the library in Oxford ,Ms only 1 wk ago I have been diagnosed with a spinal disease and can do anything much but set and watch Tv but I prefer to read as much as possible. I have already finished 3 books in 6 days ! I went today and checked out the rest of the bones collection. Please keep me updated on any I may have missed . Thank you again for keeping me entertained you are wonderful. Tammy Thomas

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