Thursday 18 January 2024

Book ~ "Crossed Bones" (2003) Carolyn Haines

From Goodreads ~ Sarah 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.

Sarah Booth Delaney is single, in her thirties, the last of her line, living in her family's plantation and is a private detective. Ivory was an older Black man who was murdered at his blue club ... money was stolen and whoever murdered him was looking for something. Scott, a blues singer Ivory had befriended in prison, was a singer there and was arrested for his murder (was he framed?). Ivory's widow doesn't think Scott did it so hires Sarah to investigate. At first, Scott doesn't want her help but eventually welcomes it as they get to know each other. The Blacks in the town want justice for Ivory and this starts to cause racial tensions. In the meantime, Sarah has three possible suitors, though there is really only one she wants.

This is the fourth in the Sarah Booth Delaney series (there are currently 26 books in the series) ... it works as a stand alone as there is enough background provided but it's helpful if you've read the previous ones. I recently read the first three and liked them enough to keep going with the series. I thought this one was just okay. It is written in first person perspective in Sarah's voice. As a head's up, there is swearing.

Sarah's mother's last name was Booth and her father's last name was Delaney and I thought it was weird that everyone calls her "Sarah Booth" rather than just "Sarah". It's odd that Jitty, the ghost of her great-great-grandmother's nanny, "lives" with her. Jitty is still really annoying ... she's very negative and always putting Sarah down and nagging her about being single and childless. I'm tired about hearing about Sarah's womb. Nandy was a useless character who didn't really add anything for me.

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