cover image Bones of Holly: A Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery

Bones of Holly: A Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery

Carolyn Haines. Minotaur, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-83375-4

Haines’s Southern charm–drenched 25th mystery featuring Zinnia, Miss., PI Sarah Booth Delaney (after Lady of Bones) takes Sarah Booth and her business partner and best friend, Tinkie Richmond, to Bay St. Louis, Miss., to serve as judges at the local library’s annual Christmas tree decorating contest. Their entourage includes various family members and Jitty, a shape-shifting ghost who assumes the guise of famous movie stars of bygone eras. Their fellow judges are bestselling authors and fierce competitors Janet Malone and Sandra O’Day, whose epic and very public battles have captured the public’s attention. When Sandra and Sandra’s assistant go missing at a book signing, Janet becomes the prime suspect in her rival’s disappearance and hires the visiting private eyes to find Sandra and clear her name. Appealing characters and amusing digressions, such as Jitty’s stories of the stars she impersonates, compensate for a host of red herrings that serve to pad what in the end amounts to a shaggy dog tale. Fans will love catching up with their favorite detectives, who never forget that they are Southern ladies at heart. Agent: Marian Young, Young Agency. (Oct.)