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Riding instructor Connor Tremaine returns to her home ground in Mobile, Alabama and ends up married to Clay Sumner, a charismatic politician. On the surface, this is an ideal life, but Connor discovers that things are not as they appear in Clay's world. Not with this home or his children, and she begins to fear that he may not be telling all he knows about his first wife's death.
Along with the sweltering heat of the Mississippi pine barrens, the summer of 1963 brings intruders to Kali Oka Road: The Blood of the Redeemer churchers, members of a secretive religious sect, and Nadine Andrews, a single woman of marrying age more interested in her horses than starting a family.Both threaten the predictable sameness of this rural, tightly knit community. And both provide irresistible temptation for thirteen-year-old Bekkah Rich, who is willing to risk hell fire in her efforts to spy on the newcomers.But then her best friend's baby sister disappears, surrounding Bekkah in a web of kidnapping and murder. Suddenly, summertime antics become deadly serious, and those who were once a curiosity are now tainted with evil.
Johanna McVay is a woman who excites fear and anger in Jexville. She is out-spoken and some say outrageous. When her nine-year-old daughter, Duncan, is struck by lightning while dancing - a pastime frowned upon by the religious elements of the town - some say the uppity family got what it deserved. Duncan survives, but she is changed forever. She now has the ability to prophesy the future, but only in a limited aspect.When a terrible injustice is committed in the town, Johanna will not leave it alone. She has befriended a young woman, Mattie, who is a mail order bride to the town barber, a brutal man.Mattie narrates the story, and ultimately has the final say in bringing justice for sins long buried.
Shop Talk is a madcap adventure that explores sibling rivalry, romantic love, the passion of a group of desperate writers, the dark designs of the CIA, alien DNA, beefalos, Nazis and spontaneous combustion--all in the coastal town of Biloxi, Mississippi.When Lucille Hare, wannabe romance writer, joins up with Mona d'la Quirt, Dallas Dior, Jazz Dixon, Andromeda Ripley, and the cheesecake queen, Coco Frappe', all members of Writers of Mississippi Books (WOMB), she finds women who have big dreams and a game plan for survival.But Lucille must convince her brother and sister-in-law, Bo and Iris Hare, to let her follow her dreams - which may include a relationship with the strange and vivid Driskell LaMont, the night repairman at Bo's television shop.In the meantime, the evil Marvin Lovelace, former CIA operative, is after Lucille. He needs a plug of DNA for his own black plans involving blackmailing the United States Government.While the members of WOMB plot their novels (including excerpts of the unforgettable Forbidden Words, Lucille's novel featuring cowboy/poet Slade Rivers) and Bo and Iris ''get frisky'' while acting out old television shows, Marvin moves ever closer to his goal - a plug of Hare.
If only I hadn't kidnapped the dog. . . but the ransom paid the mortgage. . . . Now I seem to be a private eye. . . . I shouldn't have listened to that ghost. . . . Meet Sarah Booth Delaney. . . an unconventional Southern belle whose knack for uncovering the truth is about to make her the hottest detective in Zinnia, Mississippi. . . if it doesn't make her the deadest. No self-respecting lady would allow herself to end up in Sarah Booth's situation. Unwed, unemployed, and over thirty, she's flat broke and about to lose the family plantation. Not to mention being haunted by the ghost of her great-great-grandmother's nanny, who never misses an opportunity to remind her of her sorry state--or to suggest a plan of action, like ransoming her friend's prize pooch to raise some cash. But soon Sarah Booth's walk on the criminal side leads her deeper into unladylike territory, and she's hired to solve a murder. Did gorgeous, landed Hamilton Garrett V really kill his mother twenty years ago? And if so, what is Sarah Booth doing falling for this possible murderer? When she asks one too many questions and a new corpse turns up, she is suddenly a suspect herself. . . and Sarah Booth finds that digging up the bones of the past could leave her rolling over in her grave. From the Paperback edition.
Private investigation isn't on the list of a southern belle's most desirable accomplishments--but it's saved Sarah Booth Delaney's Delta homestead. Now all she has to cope with is its bossy antebellum ghost who is determined to save Sarah--from spinsterhood. Then comes the perfect social occasion: Lawrence Ambrose's dinner party...Buried BonesAmbrose, once a famous man of southern letters, is planning a comeback: a delicious tell-all with a bitchy ex-model as his "biographer." As he taunts his dinner guests with the news that his book will blow the lid off Zinnia's darkest secrets, it becomes plain that each and every guest has a secret--and wants Ambrose to keep it. When the morning-after mess includes a bloody corpse and the manuscript of the biography disappears, Sarah Booth goes digging for answers. But many who hold them are six feet under--or soon will be--and if she doesn't tread carefully, she could join them any day now...From the Paperback edition.
She may be a Mississippi belle, but Sarah Booth Delaney is no pampered daddy's girl. Unwed and over thirty, Sarah has her own set of problems--like coping with regular hauntings by her great-great-grandmother's nanny, a busybody of a ghost who's set on marrying her off to the first suitor who comes calling. But when an old friend is in trouble, Sarah Booth doesn't hesitate to get involved.Splintered BonesEulalee McBride has confessed to murdering her husband...and she wants Sarah to dig up the dirt on the violent scalawag to prove he got what he deserved. Sarah Booth suspects that her friend is lying through her pearly whites...but why? There's certainly no lack of suspects in Zinnia, Mississippi, including Bud Lynch, a horse trainer who arouses killer lust in the town's women. As Sarah Booth begins to put together the pieces of the case, a killer is preparing to strike again. And this time it could send one late-blooming southern sleuth into an early grave.From the Paperback edition.
In rich, atmospheric mysteries set against the backdrop of modern-day Mississippi, Carolyn Haines has given the southern belle a brilliantly hip makeover. Now Haines and her unforgettable heroine, Sarah Booth Delaney, are back with a tale about skeletons in closets--and elsewhere.Crossed BonesSarah Booth Delaney is no ordinary P.I. A born-and-bred Mississippi belle, she struggles to hold on to her family's plantation and keeps up a running conversation with the ghost of her great-great-grandmother's nanny, a busybody who decks herself out in a stunning new outfit every day--and schemes to save Sarah Booth from spinsterhood. Not one to wait around for a white knight, Sarah takes on the kind of cases no one else will touch. Like trying to exonerate a man accused of murdering Sunflower County's most popular musician.The two men met in prison: Ivory Keys, a gifted black blues pianist, and Scott Hampton, a rich white boy turned racist. Somewhere between the two men, a spark was lit. And by the time he came out of the joint, Scott Hampton had not only renounced his racist ways, he had learned to play a blues guitar that made grown women go weak in the knees. So why did Scott plunge a steel shank into his mentor's chest? Ivory's widow doesn't think he did, and she's paid Sarah Booth to prove it. No easy task, especially since the delicate racial harmony of Sunflower County is threatening to come undone under the heat of Sarah Booth's investigation.For a woman feeling a little heat of her own--navigating between a rich, available businessman, a married lawman with a waffling heart, and the sexy bluesman who is angling to become much more than her client--this case is taking dangerous twists. A town's slumbering passions have awakened with a jolt, a matchmaking ghost is dressed up like Jackie O, and Sarah Booth is caught between her need to know the truth and the consequences it will have on her town--and on her life. With riveting suspense and a sparkling cast of unforgettable characters, Carolyn Haines has woven a rich portrait of a part of America grappling with its past, its illusions, and its hopes. Crossed Bones is the most dazzling work yet from a uniquely gifted writer. From the Hardcover edition.
Peggy thought marriage would deliver her from the poverty and abuse of childhood in rural Mississippi. but she did not know, that she would be exposed to racial violence in the Civil Rights Movement.
The southern Delta has never been more exhilarating, evocative, and wickedly funny than in the mysteries of Carolyn Haines. Now she takes readers on another rollicking ride across the Mississippi cotton fields and into the glamour of New Orleans...as P.I. Sarah Booth Delaney follows a winding trail of murder and deception into a world where ghosts make fashion statements--and where one person's miracle is another person's mayhem.The leaves of the calendar may be shedding faster than the sycamores on her family's decaying Mississippi plantation, but thirty-something southern belle Sarah Booth Delaney isn't ready to sing the blues. Not when she's got a thriving detective agency and the outspoken, outrageously attired ghost of her great-great-grandmother's nanny to keep her on her toes. But the matchmaking phantom may have the last word on motherhood when Sarah Booth takes on the controversial case of an accused baby killer.Although Doreen Mallory's been arrested for feeding sleeping pills to her ten-week-old daughter, no one could accuse her of lacking faith. A healer who, tragically, couldn't save her own baby girl, born with multiple birth defects, Doreen has her own crosses to bear. While the local law seems convinced of Doreen's guilt, Sarah Booth isn't so sure. But why is Doreen reluctant to talk about the men in her life? Like the televangelist who stands to lose a lot more than his flock. Or the married politician with family ties to the Mob. Either of them could be little Rebekah's father; either of them could also be her killer.With Halloween approaching and her own personal life up for grabs, Sarah Booth could use a little faith healing herself. Torn between a married sheriff and an old flame who's literally sweeping her off her feet, she'd better be prepared for the fallout of her most unpopular case yet. Justice may not stand a ghost of a chance as a decades-old secret explodes, unleashing a storm of fury on Sarah Booth and all those she loves.Witty, suspenseful, and featuring a cast of memorable characters, Hallowed Bones is a riveting tale of faith, murder, and maternal love. It is Carolyn Haines's most accomplished novel yet.From the Hardcover edition.
Dixon Sinclair arrives in Jexville, Mississippi, the town of her forebears, to find solace, stop drinking, and rebuild her life after her father's murder. As the new publisher of the weekly newspaper and a second-generation journalist, she's determined to ignite the political will of the townspeople and expose the corruption of the old guard. She forms an uneasy partnership with Sheriff J.D. Horton, another prodigal son returned hoping to find peace and a sense of fulfillment by keeping his town safe. Then two teenage girls disappear from a sandbar on the swift-moving Pascagoula River, and fears surface that evil lurks in the depths of the swampland-an evil consumed with rage against betrayal and an insatiable desire for vengeance. Suspicions fall on a mysterious transient, a young man running from a violent past in the Catholic Church of Mexico. Yet J.D. and Dixon discover that many there in Jexville have been betrayed, innocents suffering the sins of the fathers. Now they must find out who is willing to kill for revenge.
Wickedly witty and full of more dirt than a debutante's diary, the mysteries of Carolyn Haines bring the southern Delta to roaring, rollicking life. . . Intrepid P. I. Sarah Booth Delaney has been known to single-handedly save her family's Mississippi plantation, converse with Dahlia House's ghost, and capture a killer or two. But when a local girl is found dead in a cotton field, it's enough to make a lady toss back a Bloody Mary before noon on Sunday. Someone held twenty-three-year-old Quentin McGee's face down in the rich Southern soil until she suffocated. The lawmen think Quentin's lover killed her. When the suspect's brother hires Sarah to prove his sibling innocent, Sarah quickly learns that the victim had plenty of wealthy, powerful enemies. Each had a bone to pick with Quentin for writing a scandalous exposé on her hometown. Adding spice to the gumbo is the news that Quentin was due to inherit the family fortune the day after she was killed. . . and that a second book was in the works. From illicit lovers and outraged families to slandered aristocrats, everyone is a suspect--and no one is safe. . . "Carolyn Haines has done for the Delta what Janet Evanovich has done for New Jersey. "--The State"Wickedly funny. Devilishly clever. Scintillatingly Southern. Carolyn Haines is an author to die for. "--Carolyn Hart
Jade Dupree is a beautician and an undertaker's assistant with a gift for smoothing the ravages of death from the faces of her clientele. But her strange talent isn't the only thing that sets her apart from the townspeople of tiny Drexel, Mississippi.Jade is half-black and the unacknowledged bastard daughter of Drexel's ''first lady,'' the imperious Lucille Longier. Jade's half sister, the pale, fragile, and legitimate Marlena, is married to Lucas Bramlett, the wealthiest man in the region. While the entire town knows of the blood bond between the two women, no one dares speak the truth out loud.Though her talents as a hairdresser are highly sought after by Drexel's elite, Jade accepts that she'll never truly be part of the town and lives her life the best she can. But on one hot summer day in 1952, Jade's world is turned inside out when Marlena, on a tryst with her lover, is savagely beaten and her young daughter kidnapped. Determined to find her niece before it's too late, Jade accepts help from a white sheriff's deputy, Frank Kimble. The forbidden attraction that ignites between them threatens to add to the violence already brewing in town.
With the acclaimed novel Penumbra, Carolyn Haines branched out from the cozy Southern mysteries that made her name and moved into more ominous, more literary territory. She continues that exploration of the darker side of the South with Fever Moon.Set in New Iberia, Louisiana, during World War II, Fever Moon begins when Deputy Raymond Thibodeaux discovers Adele Hebert covered in blood and hovering over the brutally eviscerated body of Henri Bastion, a wealthy plantation owner. In the aftermath of the murder, Adele claims to be the loup-garou, a legendary Cajun shape-shifter that traditionally takes the shape of a wolf, and panic ensues in this small town that already has been living under the pressures of wartime rationing and poverty. Raymond is determined to restore order, but to do so he'll have to prove that Adele isn't a murderer or a monster. In this dark and swirling literary thriller, Carolyn Haines tells the story of a town that is caught up in the frenzy of a murder and a killer who feeds its terror to suit his own purposes.
Carolyn Haines's Southern Belle mysteries kick sleuthing up a notch with Sarah Booth Delaney, the sassiest heroine this side of the Mississippi. . . Displaced from its New Orleans venue, a red-hot touring production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is opening right in the heart of Zinnia, and featuring hunky star Graf Mileau! Sarah Booth, who had her own brief stint with Mileau himself, is less than thrilled. Graf is now linked with his costar, Renata Troviola, a dyed-in-the-wool diva who plans to ride Graf's coattails all the way to Hollywood. But Renata's trip to the top comes to a screeching halt on the play's second night when someone laces her lipstick with cyanide. It seems Renata was stirring up plenty of drama behind the scenes, making enemies galore: her long-suffering makeup artist, an extremely harsh critic, an angry audience member...even boy toy Graf had a motive. But the most damning evidence points to Sarah. Now, to save her reputation, Sarah reckons she'll have to bring the curtain down on a mystery with more twists and turns than the Old Muddy... Praise for Carolyn Haines and her Southern Belle mysteries: "Funny, ingenious...and delightful." --Dallas Morning News "Wickedly funny. Devilishly clever. Scintillatingly Southern. Carolyn Haines is an author to die for." --Carolyn Hart
When a decades-old mass grave near a notorious Biloxi nightclub is unearthed, reporter Carson Lynch is among the first on the scene.The remains of five women lie within, each one buried with a bridal veil-and without her ring finger.Once an award-winning journalist, Carson knows her career is now hanging by a thread. This story has pulled her out of a pit of alcohol and self-loathing, and with justice and redemption in mind she begins to investigate. Days later two more bodies appear, begging the question-is a copycat murderer terrorizing Biloxi, or has a serial killer awoken from a twenty-five-year slumber?
This collection of short fiction captures both the art of the tale and the power of the blues, and is a nod at the human condition that often inspires musicians to write and sing the blues.
Jingle Bones, an e-original Christmas story featuring Mississippi PI Sarah Booth Delaney, offers all the Southern charm and zany adventure Carolyn Haines's fans have come to expect--and more.Sarah Booth just wants the perfect Christmas holiday. Even with the dissolution of her engagement, she refuses to lose her Christmas spirit. But when Theodora Prince--an ex classmate and current Pastor's wife--comes calling with a year-old case and cash upfront, Sarah Booth must find the truth about the boys who ruined last year's Christmas pageant in time to stop them from doing it again.
Sarah Booth Delaney knows the perfect way to begin recovering from both the recent attack on Scott Hampton's blues club and her broken heart. She's going to host a Thanksgiving feast for all of her friends at her ancestral home in Zinnia, Mississippi. But one bitterly cold night with the holiday just around the corner, Sarah Booth awakens to the insistent ring of her doorbell. She opens the door to find a newborn baby in a basket sitting on her front porch...and a pool of blood slowly seeping out from the basket. Before she can respond, an engine guns and a dark vehicle takes off.After the police and a doctor ensure the baby is otherwise safe and healthy, Sarah Booth calls Tinkie Richmond, her partner at the Delaney Detective Agency. They know they need to do everything they can to find the baby's mother...even if they are starting to fall in love with the baby themselves. But as they track the baby's mother, Sarah Booth soon begins to suspect the woman might have been in danger; in fact, she might have been running for her life. And following in the woman's footsteps, Sarah Booth might find her own life on the line next.USA Today bestselling author Carolyn Haines will once again delight readers with the next sparkling Sarah Booth Delaney mystery.
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