Them Bones by Carolyn Haines: A review

I feel that I should put this book in the category of guilty pleasures. I know in my heart that it is not the kind of book that a woman about to celebrate her mumble-mumble birthday should be spending her time reading, and, yet, frankly, it was a joy to read! Sort of a Fifty Shades of Grey without all that nasty BDSM. There was a bit of hot and heavy sex but it was more alluded to than explicit, which is only proper in a story about a genteelly-bred Southern woman.

Sarah Booth Delaney of Zinnia, Mississippi is not your stereotypical Southern belle though. She is over thirty, unemployed, and - horror of horrors! - unwed. She lives in her ancestral home, Dahlia House, in the Mississippi Delta. It is an ante bellum structure that has sheltered many generations of Delaneys, but now Sarah Booth is flat broke with no prospects of getting any money and she's about to lose her home, just when she's begun to understand how much she loves it.

But Sarah Booth isn't alone in the ancestral home. Jitty, the hundred-and-fifty-year-old ghost of her great-great-grandmother's nanny, inhabits the structure as well, and Jitty is one determined ghost! Mostly, she is determined that all of her hundred and fifty years with the Delaney family will not have been in vain and that Sarah Booth will not be allowed to lose her - and Jitty's - family home.

Jitty suggests a course of action which sets Sarah Booth on the road to some very unladylike behavior and finally gets her involved in investigating two violent deaths that occurred twenty years before. Both deaths were called accidents at the time they occurred, but Sarah Booth is not so sure. And when the gorgeous and sexy son of the two dead people unexpectedly returns to Zinnia from Europe where he's lived all these years, Sarah Booth becomes more convinced than ever. 

Then one of the people she had interviewed in her investigation turns up murdered and she is accused of the murder. In order to extricate herself, she must solve the puzzle of those long-ago murders. And just like that, Sarah Booth Delaney is launched on her new career as a private investigator. Maybe it will be lucrative enough to save the family manse - if only she can stay alive.

This is the first in a series and it is an excellent introduction to the main characters. The book is written with a light touch and a lot of humor. Sarah Booth and Jitty are delightful characters. Sarah Booth is the kind of person that a woman would be lucky to call her best friend. As for Jitty, well, I'd love to have a ghost like her inhabiting my house.


  1. I agree ... guilty pleasure!

  2. Thanks for the review and comments. It seems like only the blink of an eye when I first "met" Sarah Booth and Jitty. This summer I'm just finishing the 13th book in the series, Smarty Bones, for release next year. This has been a wonderful adventure for me, learning more and more about each character in the course of writing a book. And they have all surprised me. Thanks for reading my book, and have a great reading summer.

    1. I'm delighted to have found Sarah Booth and Jitty, Carolyn, and I look forward to reading their further adventures. Congratulations on this fun series!


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