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Them Bones
by Carolyn Haines
Bantam, 1999
ISBN:  0553581716 

Sarah Booth Delaney is unwed, unemployed, and down on her luck. The last of the Delaney family, she is the sole surviving heir of Dahlia Houseóa once thriving Mississippi antebellum plantation that has since fallen to rack and ruin. To make matters worse, overdue bank notes have put Dahlia House on the brink of foreclosure.

My, my, my. What is a woman to do?

Kidnap her rich friend Tinkieís dog and hold the pooch for ransom, thatís what. Not a gallant course of action, Iíll admit. Nonetheless, Sarah Boothís ignoble deed is what sets Them Bonesí plot in motion.

Unexpectedly, Tinkie asks Sarah Booth to help find her dog. Since Sarah Booth is the one who kidnapped frou-frou in the first place, she returns Tinkieís dog in record time, while pocketing the ransom money and collecting Tinkieís finderís fee.

Convinced that Sarah Booth has the makings of a resourceful private investigator, Tinkie hires her yet again to investigate a sequence of fatal ďaccidentsĒ that occurred more than twenty years ago. Follow closely here...

ó Over the years, folks in and around the tiny town of Zinnia, Mississippi suspected that wealthy plantation owner Hamilton Garret IVís death was not a hunting accident at all. In all likelihood, he was murdered by his wife, Veronica Garret.

ó Over the years, folks suspected that Veronica Garretís fatal car accident was not an accident at all. In all likelihood, she was murdered by her revengeful son, Hamilton Garret V (who also poses as the tall, dark, handsome, brooding, and mysterious expatriated hunk who is, of course, at the center of Zinniaís love triangles).

ó Over the years, folks suspected that the investigating sheriff did not accidentally drive himself off the side of a bridge. In all likelihood, his death was part of the elaborate cover-up.

So? Who done it?

Thatís for me to know and you to find out.

Although Carolyn Haines has written 28 novels, Bones is Carolynís first foray into the world of murder mysteries. Of course we all knew Carolyn would throw in a pinch of Southern social satire and a dose of comedic romance. Include a bit of ethereal whimsy (Sarah Boothís personal advisor is Dahlia Houseís resident ghost) and we wind up with a tightly knit suspenseful and humorous page-turner that is fun to read.

Whatís next? Good question.

Buried Bones, the second of Carolynís three-book mystery deal with Bantam Books, will be out next year. Bones III will follow that. The Southern locale and many of Them Bonesí characters will flow from one book to the next. So now is the time to get in on the ground floor of Carolynís intriguing venture into a world of murders, mysteries, and romances in the Mississippi Delta. For pure fun, Them Bones gets my highest recommendation.

Joseph Sackett
Southern Scribe Reviews

 

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