cover image Ham Bones

Ham Bones

Carolyn Haines, . . Kensington, $22 (275pp) ISBN 978-0-7582-1092-0

I n the outrageous seventh episode of Haines's delightful Southern Belle series (after 2006's Bones to Pick ), PI Sarah Booth Delaney explores the Mississippi Delta in search of clues to a scandalous murder. She has more than a professional interest: the accused killer is Sarah herself. When the New York cast of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof comes to Zinnia, Miss., lead actor Graf Milieu persuades Sarah to understudy for obnoxious prima donna Renata Trovaioli. Sarah dwells on memories of her acting experience in New York and her fling with Graf, further confusing her already complicated feelings for sheriff Coleman Peters. Then Renata is found dead in her dressing room, and Coleman arrests Sarah. Aided by her partner, Tinkie, and Jitty, a friendly ghost who has taken to wearing Scarlett O'Hara hoop skirts, the sassy heroine sets out to clear her name. While the astute reader may deduce the conclusion in advance, the humorous romp through the pages is well worth taking. (July)