A Garland of Bones
Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery Book 22
October 13, 2020
Available in: Hardcover, e-Book
Spunky southern private investigator Sarah Booth Delaney tackles solving a string of strange accidents in the midst of celebrating the holiday season, in Carolyn Haines’s cozy A Garland of Bones.
Sarah Booth is all set for Christmas. She’s having a decoration party at Dahlia House and planning a festive Christmas dinner with all of her friends. There are parties everywhere. It seems the residents of Sunflower County have brought in a bountiful crop this year and everyone is in a party mood.
Each little Delta town has a special Christmas activity, and Tinkie proposes that they rent a limo and drive to Columbus, MS, and stay in a B&B for several days so they can Christmas shop and participate in a slate of annual Christmas activities that include Christmas karaoke, wassailing, and a parade with floats of blues musicians. Everyone is on board to go. Because a good journalist is never off work, Cece says she will cover it for the Zinnia Dispatch. Even Millie takes some time off from the café to party with her friends.
But their Christmas cheer soon mutates to Christmas fear, when at one celebratory event after the other, someone gets hurt. An electrified microphone and a slip down the stairs may seem like mere accidents, but each of these so-called “accidents” could have been fatal. The Christmas bells are ringing hauntingly in Columbus this year, and Sarah Booth and Tinkie—with a little help from Sheriff Coleman Peters of course, are determined to catch the wrong-doers and ensure they receive nothing but coal in their stockings.
USA Today bestselling author Carolyn Haines grew up with both parents working as journalists, and she was bitten by the writing bug at a very young age. Her three ambitions were to be a cowgirl, a mystery-solving sleuth like Nancy Drew, and a writer. Today, she has basically accomplished them all. She is the author of the acclaimed Bones mystery series and in addition, she works as an advocate for humane treatment for animals and operates a small rescue on her farm (7 horses, 9 cats and 6 dogs).
Haines claims to have had “the last golden childhood of the South.” She grew up in Lucedale, Mississippi, a town of 3,000 in the Southeastern Pine Barrens. She rode her bicycle all over the county with her wonderful dog Venus and employed her imagination to create adventures with her friends.
Her first job in journalism was at the local weekly, The George County Times, when she was in high school. She went on to work as a photojournalist at the Hattiesburg American while attending the University of Southern Mississippi to earn a B.S. in journalism.
She worked for nearly a decade in the news business, covering local politics, the state legislatures in Alabama and Mississippi, spot news, writing a personal column and her favorite—writing features and using photography to illustrate the story. With her mother, she ran a statewide bureau in Mississippi for the Mobile Register and the Mississippi Press. As part of her journalistic adventures, Haines covered an armed robbery on horseback, hopped a freight train, and rescued a young, injured bald eagle from certain death. She was the first female reporter hired on the news side of the Huntsville Times.
At the same time, she began writing short fiction for personal satisfaction. Under the sway of Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, Doris Betts, and Lee Smith, Haines wrote about the landscape and the people she knew. The end result was being accepted by an agent who urged her to “write a novel.”
Another huge influence was Harper Lee and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Haines’s first novel was SUMMER OF THE REDEEMERS, a coming of age story set in 1963 rural Mississippi and published in 1994. Haines was honored in 2010 with the Harper Lee Award for Distinguished Writing.
In 2009, Haines was named the recipient of the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence.
From general fiction, Haines drifted into mysteries, and THEM BONES, a humorous mystery with a wise-cracking ghost, was bought at auction. The stories center around Sarah Booth Delaney and her friends. The fourteenth book in the series, BOOTY BONES, was published May 20, 2014, by St. Martin’s Minotaur.
While writing the lighter mysteries, Haines has continued to write in the darker terrain of the crime novel. PENUMBRA and FEVER MOON (both St. Martin’s Minotaur) are historical crime novels.
In May 2010, an anthology she edited, DELTA BLUES, was released to critical acclaim.
Along with writing, Haines is the fiction coordinator at the University of South Alabama where she teaches graduate and undergraduate fiction writing. And she is president of Good Fortune Farm Refuge, an organization dedicated to helping animals and to educating the public on the need to spay and neuter.
She lives on a farm with her “critters.” They are the terror of the neighborhood.