Bones of Holly
Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery Book 25
October 11, 2022
Available in: Hardcover, e-Book
Bones of Holly is the next novel from Carolyn Haines in the series that Kirkus Reviews characterizes as “Stephanie Plum meets the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” featuring sassy Southern private investigator Sarah Booth Delaney.
Sarah Booth and Tinkie, along with baby Maylin, are in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi for Christmas this year, as judges for the annual library tree decorating contest.
The other two judges are writers Sandra O’Day and Janet Malone. They’re bestselling Mississippi authors, but bitter competitors. In fact, the feud between them is the stuff of legends. For years, they’ve brawled, their sales skyrocketing with each cat fight. Sandra’s most recent true crime book documents the 1920s rum-running era of Al Capone, who built a mansion in BSL and a distribution network for his liquor. Janet’s book, scheduled to be published in January, is a fictional account of the same material—which only heightens their bitter rivalry.
Sarah Booth and Tinkie are shopping with little Maylin when they see Sandra and Janet outside a bookstore, fur flying, and when Sandra vanishes from her own gala later that night, suspicion turns to Janet. Janet accuses Sandra of attempting to manipulate the media by a fake disappearance, but is it a stunt, or is something more sinister at play?
Sarah Booth and Tinkie will have to dive deep into the history of Bay St. Louis, and even Al Capone himself, to get to the bottom of this case. But the trail in fact leads them back to several prominent families still residing in the area. Families who may not want their secrets known…
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.