Tell-Tale Bones

Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery Book 26

Carolyn Haines

Minotaur Books

May 16th, 2023

Tell-Tale Bones by Carolyn Haines is a borderline novel between a Cozy Mystery and a regular mystery. It has suspense, intrigue, and very determined women heroines who seek answers and justice.

For those who are reading this book as a first in the series below is how the author describes the characters.

The main character, Sarah Booth, is smart, tenacious, very direct, a Tomboy, and not a Southern Belle.  She was raised to take action to defend the helpless.

Her partner and friend, Tinkie, is a Southern Belle. She was raised in privilege. She manipulates men and wraps them around her finger. She is the old-fashioned debutante girl: very smart and pretty. In the first book, Sarah Booth was wary of her.  After Tinkie hires Sarah to solve a mystery, she allows Sarah to pursue her PI instincts. By the third book, they are PI partners. Tinkie is excellent with money and can get information and facts from others. 

Jitty is the ghost of the main character, Sarah Booth’s great, great grandmother’s nanny. Jitty and the grandmother had a very close friendship and depended on each other. Jitty also functions as Sarah Booth’s subconscious. She keeps Sarah on the straight and narrow with her annoying tactics.  Jitty impersonates everything. She never helps solve the mystery but clarifies the ethics for Sarah.

Sheriff Coleman is Sarah’s boyfriend. “The books are written over a time period of two years in Sarah’s life. Coleman is the County Sheriff who is the man of her heart. They were best of friends in high school but not romantically involved. She now realizes what is important to her is integrity, a good heart, and a good value system.  She realizes Coleman has these qualities and that they share a value system. They are a team from now on.  Eventually, they will get married and have a child, but not while I am writing the series.” 

The plot has a wealthy heiress disappearing seven years ago. Her mother wants to hire Sarah Booth’s private investigative firm to find out if she is dead or alive. Sarah enlists the help of her partner, Tinkie, her soulmate, Sheriff Coleman, some eccentric friends, and a ghost, Jitty, who is the connection between Sarah and her late family. They consider Tope Maxwell a prime suspect in his wife, Lydia’s disappearance. Using the atmosphere of abuse the author was able to reference Edgar Allen Poe and even brought him in as a book character.

Tope can be charming, but is cruel, creepy, abusive, evil, and is someone who enjoys breaking women’s spirits. The missing women, Lydia and Bethany, had formed a friendship. Lydia’s husband is abusive, and people suspect he may have killed her.  He now wants her declared officially dead to inherit her wealth. Lydia is more passive and tender while Bethany is bold, stands up for herself, and independent.”

There is plenty of action and the clues allow readers to try to solve the crime with the characters.



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About the Author

Elise Cooper

Elise writes book reviews that always include a short author interview.