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Crossed Bones Mass Market Paperback – February 3, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The Mississippi delta in the summer heat is not all that's steaming in Haines's (Splintered Bones, etc.) fourth outing featuring PI Sarah Booth Delaney, an atypical Southern belle who's fiercely independent and outrageously witty. Sarah is enjoying her family home, a mansion in Zinnia, Miss., complete with cotton fields, coral honeysuckle vines and the ghost of Jitty, her great-great-grandmother's nanny. When nightclub owner and black blues pianist Ivory Keys is stabbed to death at his club, Ivory's wife asks Sarah to vindicate the prime suspect, Scott Hampton, a talented white blues guitarist with a history of racism. Aided by her partner Tinkie Richmond, Sarah inadvertently stirs up passions among the townspeople that were long thought forgotten. Jitty's continual lectures on marriage and family and Sarah's mixed feelings about Sheriff Coleman Peters and two new suitors complicate the investigation. While the ghostly Jitty's advice can be wearying and the clothing details verge on the tedious, Haines delivers some real heartwarming moments in a mystery with some fascinating twists. This cozy read is the next best thing to curling up with a mint julep on the porch swing on a lazy afternoon.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Reluctant southern belle and PI Sarah Booth Delaney is hired by Ida Mae Keys to exonerate Scott Hampton, the man who is accused of killing Ida's husband, blues pianist Ivory Keys. Hampton, a former racist and Ivory's protege, maintains his innocence, but the murder weapon and some bloodstained cash are found in his possession. Hampton's offensive attitude and lack of cooperation hinder Sarah Booth, but she perseveres despite the rising racial tension in her rural Mississippi community. Sarah Booth's life is further complicated by her attraction to Sheriff Coleman Peters, who has just returned to his wife to try to save his marriage. Despite the serious issues addressed in the story, the mood is lightened by the commentary of Sarah's partner, Tinkie, and the ghost of her great-great-grandmother's nanny, both of whom believe that Sarah Booth should be wedded and bedded. Sarah Booth is a charming, likable hero, and this fourth installment of her series continues to provide a vivid snapshot of southern life. Sue O'Brien
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; Reprint edition (February 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044024093X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440240938
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carolyn Haines is the author of eighteen novels, including the acclaimed Sarah Booth Delaney mystery series. She was honored with the prestigious 2009 Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence. Haines was also 2010 recipient of the Harper Lee Award. Born and raised in Mississippi, she now lives in Alabama on a farm with more dogs, cats, and horses than she can possibly keep track of!

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on April 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The Mississippi Delta and her home Dahlia House are in Sara Booth's Delaney's blood. She will do almost anything in her power to keep them both, even work as a private detective. Almost anything excludes marrying a man from her social set and letting him take care of her even though Jitty, the ghost of her great great great grandmother nanny, wants the last Delaney married.
Sarah Booth is enjoying the land, her house and her dog when she is dragged into the homicide investigation of the famous blues musician, Ivory Keys. His wife Ida Mae Keys wants Sarah Booth to prove that while blues singer Scott Hampton didn't kill his friend and employer Ivory. The two men met in prison and shared a vision that music could be the bridge between the races. Circumstantial evidence points to Scott as the perpetrator and if Sarah Booth doesn't find the real perpetrator soon, the town of Zinnia will erupt into violence.
CROSSED BONES is a well-written colorful mystery that gives the reader some terrific insight into the workings of a small southern town. The heroine is strong, independent and straightforward, and not your typical southern belle; while her partner is all those things and lends a sense of comic relief to the plot when it begins to boil. Sarah Booth is attracted to the bad boy musician but not enough to give him her heart while the man she really wants reconciles with his wife. Readers will empathize and sympathize with the heroine, hoping she will get the perpetrator and collect her fee.
Harriet Klausner
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Darryl D. James on April 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Carolyn Haines simply gets better with each new book in this series, and this one is superb. The plot is smoothly constructed, with the suspense building steadily throughout. The characters are well drawn, and Sarah Booth remains a fascinating, complex heroine. Having grown up near the Mississippi Delta, I feel like I'm going home every time I read one of these books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Moe811 on April 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sarah Booth is hired by the widow of bluesman Ivory Keyes to prove that his protegee, former white supremacist rapper, now blues guitarist Scott Hampton. Scott doesn't want to be cleared of the murder and at first seems to be guilty. Sarah has problems in her personal life as usual, Coleman has gone back to his wife, again, and Tinkie is trying to set her up with a handsome millionaire. Scott has a fan of his own, crazy Nandy, who was raised to believe that she is the heir to the Scottish throne. Ivory's murder has caused racial unrest among the local population. This isn't helped by the arrival of two of Scott's prison buddies. This case is going to take all of Sarah Booth's talent to solve, even without the personal attacks and the distractions of the "Delaney Womb", and Scott Hampton most definitely is a distraction.
As usual Ms. Haines has produced a funny and gripping mystery. There are many great suspects, and the quirky characters of Sunflower County are as crazy as ever. I can't wait to read the next one.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. C. Crammer VINE VOICE on April 26, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
And no wonder. Sarah Booth, our Mississippi broke-but-upper-class private investigator, has three romantic interests in this book: the sheriff, who is married; a wealthy businessman who is pursuing her; and a bad-boy blues musician who is charged with a vicious killing -- he's her client.
So -- although there was mystery at the beginning and mystery at the end, most of the middle seemed to be romance. If you like a lot of romance, you'll probably really like this book, but if you're more of a fan of mysteries, you may find all of Sarah Booth's dates and endless soul-searching about who is the man for her, etc. rather tedious after a while.
The plot involves racial tensions in the Mississippi delta town of Zinnia. A black man who owns a blues club has been viciously killed, and the white man who is the star musician in the club (they met in the penitentiary) is accused of killing him. The black man's wife hires Sarah Booth to prove that Scott the star musician didn't commit this murder. Scott has an unsavory past as a racist (not to mention the stretch behind bars) and he's belligerant and rude, but Sarah Booth comes to believe that he is indeed innocent and sets out to find the proof. The motive for this murder is the key to solving the crime, if she can only find out why he was killed.
Racial tensions are rising in Zinnia, and a lot of people are not happy that Sarah Booth has taken this case, so she is in some jeopardy herself. The dead man's son Emmanuel is convinced Scott killed his father and wants to see him convicted, but Emmanuel is a racist in his own right.
I really enjoyed Them Bones, so I picked up this book expecting to be equally delighted. I wasn't. As I said earlier, too much time spent on romances and too little on the mystery.
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By Louis M. Perdue on October 20, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I really enjoyed this entry in the Mississippi Delta series. It deals with a more serious subject than previous entries - that of a racism that is, unfortunately, still prevalant in some communities.

In this episode, P.I. Sarah Booth Delaney is asked by the widow of a murdered black blues musician to find out who really killed him as she doesn't think the man accused, a white formerly racist bluesman, is guilty.

Sarah Booth must deal with, among the normal problems an investigation brings, a town that is divided along racial lines due to the killing, a son of the murdered man who hates all white people, two biker friends of the accused (also racist), and, of course, Jitty, her house ghost. I must admit that I agree with one of the other reviewers that Jitty can be tiresome as she contradicts herself repeatedly and, for some reason, the author insists on describing her various outfits down to the smallest detail.

Also in the plot is some romance - Sarah Booth is in love with the married sheriff, she is falling in love with the accused, and she has a few dates with a rich northerner who is in town to buy the club that the murdered man owned.

I think that this book is the best of the series thus far - it seems to reach a new level of competence in its style of writing and tackles a very serious subject with sensitivity. For me, it was almost a 5-star book, and would have been even closer to 5 stars if Jitty had been dropped completely or been a smaller part of the book.

Will definitely be reading the next in the series, "Hallowed Bones."
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