Delcorte, March 2002, 24.95, 308 pp.
In Zinnia, Mississippi the old code of the south still reigns supreme. “Daddy's Girls”, those females who grow up the daughter of a rich man and learn all they can to marry a wealthy man are in plentiful supply. Sara Booth Delaney started life as a “Daddy's Girl” but when her parents died in a freak accident, she had to grow up in a hurry. Although she wants to keep the family estate of Dahlia House, she wants to pay off the family promissory notes by using her salary as a private detective.
Her partner in the agency is Binky, an intelligent Daddy's Girl (oxymoron?) with their office being Dahlia House haunted by Jiltty, the ghost of Sara's great-great grandmother's nanny. Sara's latest case is heartbreaking as Lee McBride confesses to the murder of her abusive husband Kemper but nobody believes she did it. Although the prime suspect is Lee's daughter, there are a lot of other people who wished him dead. Sara Booth has plenty of suspects with viable motives but the one thing she lacks is what she desperately needs: proof.
Carolyn Haines is a colorful and creative writer who captures the atmosphere of the old south (or at least one aspect of it) to perfection. The heroine's interactions with the ghost are hilarious and add comic relief to a very fast paced, angst-laden plot. SPLINTERED BONES is a unique mystery that will be enjoyed by those fans wanting something different in their mystery reading material.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner