Lights, Camera, Bones

Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery Book 27

Carolyn Haines
Minotaur Pub

May 21st, 2024

Lights, Camera, Bones by Carolyn Haines is another installment in the Sarah Booth Delaney Mysteries. Murder, kidnappings, a shark named Betty, and downright rotten people keep this book moving along at a good clip.

“I have always been fascinated by the story of the 1927 Greenville Mississippi flood. My grandmother was the County Historian and she had talked about and painted visit pictures of the flood, about people stuck and having to be rescued. This captured my imagination. I have been going to the Delta area for a long time, doing book signings. The history of Greenville has been interesting, a real boom town for a long time. People might think that having a shark in the story is unrealistic, but I read a true story about this bull shark that swam up the Mississippi River. This was the inspiration for the book. I set my books in the South because that is the area I know and love.”

The main character is Sarah Booth who owns the Delaney Detective Agency. She is ably assisted in her investigations by her partner Tinkie, Coleman Peters who is her love interest and the sheriff of Sunflower County, a ghost named Jitty, and her animal companions. Sarah is very nonsense, and she was very adept at solving mysteries. Her partner, Tinkie, was a Southern Belle who is a bit sassy. There are two protagonists who become people of interest. 

“Mary Doyle is sharp, funny, high-handed, and sarcastic with a sense of humor.  She feels guilty over once losing her assistant to a shark when she was a former marine biologist but has redeeming qualities because she is now a book seller. The other person, Bilbo is manipulative, arrogant, a political animal, and a narcissist.”

Delaney Detective Agency gets a taste of the spotlight when they are called to a case on a movie set in Greenville, MS, right on the Mississippi River. Marlon Brandon, heir to a wealthy and influential political family, has brought a film crew to town to film a drama about the 1927 flood that submerged a great deal of Greenville. He is a local man that is starring in the movie and has written the screenplay. Marlon wants the world to know the story of the flood―and the heroic role the Brandon ancestors played in rescuing dozens of residents from drowning.

But from the start there are a lot of people who don’t want this story told. And his own grandfather seems to be on the fence about it. Their protest was allegedly tied to people be stranded intentionally to keep workers from leaving during the flood.

“I based Marlon Brandon on Marlon Brando, the actor. I am always interested in movies and stories that entertain and educate.  Because Greenville has been in such an economic slump, I thought how a movie would bring income to town.  I wish someone would film a movie there.”

When one of the casts ends up dead in the river, they also find a shark swimming around in there. And when Marlon goes missing as well, Sarah and Tinkie are going to go all in to find him and remove the shark to another location. Unfortunately, this could get them in a lot of trouble and possibly could get them dead!

“I called sharks killing machines.  They always must swim forward.  Bull sharks are an aggressive species. They eat what they can bite.”

The plot is very interesting.  It delves into old money and the power that goes with it, murky family histories, and issues of racism as the plot progresses, readers learn bits of history, as well as how someone’s relationship with their family impacts current life.  There are also bits of information regarding sharks. 



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About the Author

Elise Cooper

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