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Crossed Bones Mass Market Paperback – February 3, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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In the Barren Ground
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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: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #373,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Way too much social interaction and not enough detecting. The protagonist seems to spend 3x the energy thinking about who she wants to bang than her case. For that matter, her friends are at least as obsessed as she is about who she's going to bang. I was raised in the rural South, and recognize the social tics and conventions. They have their place in this novel, but you'd forget this was a detective story if characters didn't keep reiterating the fact that she's a detective. The detective "case" manages to be peripheral to the book, just so you know.

And what's with the ghost, Jitty? She seems entirely gratuitous. The ghost doesn't seem to know very much at all that is remotely of use; for instance, the ghost assumed the man charged in the murder had done it, and several times was wrong about important things. Wouldn't a ghost have better information than that? And as the protagonist is talking to the ghost (on a daily basis, it seems), a million questions pop into my mind that could be asked of the ghost, but their conversations are mind-numbingly centered almost exclusively on when the protagonist Sarah is going to produce a Delaney heir.

I ran out of gas at some point and had to skip to the end. I guessed about who killed the club owner, and you probably will, too. However, it was only a guess, since the author doesn't really give you enough info to think the killer could have been on the scene at the time. The book is a bit better than 3 stars but not enough to fudge it up to 4.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Once again, Carolyn Haines and her protagonist...the one and only Sarah Booth Delaney get ensnared is a web of murder, mayhem, a dash of romance and the value of enduring friendship and forgiveness. All of these ingredients provide a "can't put this darn book down" connection for this reader and appreciator of this Mississippi. One thing I always hold out hope for in all these books is that SBD will eventually show me the light about being a heat seeking missile for unavailable men....here I turn, step by step...alas , instinct and smarts take one just so far despite her BFF, Tinkie's best intentions of finding a soulmate for Sarah, part of this story's recurring theme and somehow letting Mr. Not Well Intentioned through the radar. But there is plenty of fun along the way, and buckle yourself in for another wild ride...there is always the promise of something alluring just around the bend and Ida Mae whose beloved is the latest victim of bad luck, is a character you are just as easily crossing your fingers will find the answers and family healing via the Dynamic Duo..Enjoy.. I know I did.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Sarah Booth Delaney lays claim to being a non-traditional Southern woman. She is in her thirties, a time by which any self-respecting Southern Belle would be long married and raising a family. This is certainly the path that would have been chosen for her by Jitty, the ghost of her great-great-grandmother's nanny with whom she shares her home, Dahlia House, in Zinnia, Mississippi. Jitty watches over her and bosses and nags her, but Sarah Booth continues to go her own way.

She has eschewed marriage and is trying to establish a private investigation business with her best friend, Tinkie. The aim of the business is to provide enough money to save the family plantation home and support Sarah Booth in the style to which she is accustomed. So, yes, she is a bit non-traditional perhaps, but in one respect she is VERY traditional: She is always called by her double name Sarah Booth, never just Sarah. It's a Southern thang, dontcha know.

Sarah Booth has had some success on the few cases that she's had. She has shown a flair and an instinct for investigating. She will need all of that flair and instinct to bring her latest case to a successful conclusion.

A respected man of the community, a talented blues musician and owner of a blues club in Zinnia, has been brutally murdered in that club late one night. He was stabbed and some money was taken from the till. Later the murder weapon and blood-stained money are found in the motorcycle saddlebags of the club's guitarist and singer, the star attraction who brings the people in. He was also a friend of the man who was killed - a man he had first met when they were both in prison in Michigan.

On the basis of the circumstantial evidence, the guitarist/singer, Scott, is arrested and charged with murder.
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