Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Them Bones

Author:  Carolyn Haines
Genre: Mystery

5 Stars

Sarah Booth Delany has returned to her home in Zinnia, Mississippi.  After a failed career in New York, she returns to her ancestral home, Dahlia House, over thirty, unemployed and unwed.  Also living at Dahlia House is Jitty, a her great-great-grandmother's nanny - and a ghost who is now haunting Sarah Booth.

On the verge of losing her home and desperate for money, Jitty convinces Sarah Booth to kidnap Chablis, the dog of her best friend, Tinkie.  She sends Tinkie a ransom note for $5000, and Tinkie, frantic, wants Sarah Booth to deliver the money and retrieve her dog.

What this does, is unleash an entire series of events regarding a 20-year-old murder case that leads to questions nobody wants asked and threats on Sarah Booth's life.  But she presses on, because by now she is immersed in the case and has some questions of her own.  It doesn't help that she's attracted to the murder victim's son, who has been living abroad since the murder, and has now returned home and wants nothing more than for her to drop the whole thing.

Sarah Booth is a 'Daddy's Girl', whose only job is to marry well and enjoy the privileges that come with it.  But she is not like the others of her ilk, she is unconventional and not interested in marrying the first man who asks her that is rich.  She returns home to Zinnia Mississippi, still unwed and now unemployed, and about to lose her ancestral home, Dahlia House.  Desperate for money, she listens to Jitty, who convinces her that the quickest way to get it is to kidnap Chablis, her best friend Tinkie's dog, and then ransom him back.

Having done this, Tinkie declares that Sarah Booth is now a PI, and hires her to find out why an ex-boyfriend, Hamilton Garrett V,  has recently returned home.  Years ago, Hamilton was exiled to Europe when first his father, then mother were killed.  There are reasons he was sent to Europe, and after setting sight on Hamilton, and immediately being drawn to him, she ultimately decides that the deep mystery surrounding his family and the reason he was sent to Europe are something she must find out.  She first convinces herself it is for her friend Tinkie, but soon realizes she is doing it for herself.

While she is investigating Hamilton, she also begins investigating the two murders (under the guise of writing a fictional book), since she believes that Tinkie deserves to know the truth about the situation.  Sarah Booth begins discovering secrets, and soon finds out what everyone really wants her to do is just leave it all alone and forget the past - which she is not about to do.

This book moved along at a great pace, Sarah Booth is headstrong, her conversations with Jitty are interesting, to say the least, and the descriptions of the area where she lives are colorful.

What I really found the most interesting were the women.  The way the women interacted with each other was extremely telling in how the Daddy's Girls were different, and of a different class.  Sarah Booth was somewhere in the middle, now disdained by the true Daddy's Girls, but still one of them, and as such, those that weren't kept her at arm's length.

This book was delightful, the mystery well done, the characters described wonderfully.  I highly recommend this and can't wait to read the next in the series.

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