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 Mystery Review    


Crossed Bones
by Carolyn Haines
Delacourte Press, 2003
Hardcover, $23.95 (368 pages)
ISBN: 0-385-33659-4

Sarah Booth Delaney may well be the only woman in Mississippi capable of losing three beaus in one evening. While she started her career as a private eye in order to hold on to her family's home, more and more Sarah Booth finds herself putting work before family, friends, and community in her hometown of Zinnia, Mississippi. 

When Ivory Keys, a blues musician with a national reputation, who has "done time" comes home with Scott Hampton, a fellow musician he met in the penitentiary, his neighbors are skeptical about Scott's motives. His albums would have been forgotten if not for their hatred and racial bias. As a businessman and musician, Ivory is a leader in the black community who dreams of bringing all people together through music. His fraternization with a white man who may have sold his soul to the devil (a la Robert Johnson) causes some raised eyebrows but doesn't stop them from coming to hear the two men play at Ivory's club. 

When Ivory is murdered and Scott is arrested as the most likely suspect for the crime, Ivory's wife, Ida Mary, hires Sarah Booth to prove Scott's innocence and find the true killer. Her investigation reopens old wounds and threatens to tear the town of Zinnia apart. 

Crossed Bones, the fourth novel in Carolyn Haines' mystery series featuring Sarah Booth Delaney, is great fun. She's created a cast of memorable characters -- the ghost of her great-great-great-grandmother's nanny haunts her house giving unwanted advice on dating, mating, and other assorted activities; her best friend acts as Sarah Booth's sidekick in her investigations even going so far as dressing their dogs incognito; and the married sheriff has a crush on her. 

Earlier books in the "Bone" series include: Them Bones, Buried Bones, and Splintered Bones. Carolyn Haines is also the author of Summer of the Redeemers and Touched.


Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews

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