Review: Charmed Bones by Carolyn Haines
By Terrie Farley MoranMay 14, 2018
Charmed Bones by Carolyn Haines is the 18th book in the Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery series.
We meet Sarah Booth in her home, the very grand Dalia House in Zinnia, Mississippi. She is cuddled up on the couch with her dog, Sweetie Pie, and her black cat, Pluto. All three are enjoying Sarah Booth’s favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz. The munchkins cower, and Sarah Booth cringes at the first on-screen appearance of the evil, green Wicked Witch of the West. All of a sudden, it’s as though the witch jumped out of the television and into the living room. I’ll let Sarah Booth tell you about it:
Not five feet in front of me, orange smoke explodes. In the swirl of vapor, I discern the black and green image of the witch—right in my very own den. She leers at me and shakes her broomstick. “Beware, my fine lady. I may not attend you here and now, but you can’t escape me.”
I push back against the sofa as the hair on Sweetie Pie’s back bristles. She barks and growls. Pluto, on the other hand, jumps from the sofa and saunters toward the witch.
“Away with you.” The witch waves the broomstick at Pluto, but the cat is not deterred.
I realize then that Jitty, the resident ghost of my family plantation, has come to devil me again. This is no manifestation from Oz, but the spirit of a former slave who survived the Civil War with my ancestor, Alice Delaney. She is both blessing and curse.
Most of the time, I am not sure what Jitty’s appearances mean. I always wonder whether she is actually trying to give Sarah Booth a message. So when Jitty pops in as a witch, it could be a symbol of an imminent problem or, just as often, she is being deliberately irritating in a bid for attention to distract Sarah Booth.
That question gets answered, at least for me, when Tinkie Bellcase Richmond—Sarah Booth’s best friend and partner in the Delaney Detective Agency—telephones and insists that Sarah Booth hurries to the School Board meeting where three sisters are advising the town that they will be opening the Harrington School of Nature and Wiccan studies. Needless to say, the residents are not pleased. And in the midst of all the yelling, Kitten Fontana hires Sarah Booth and Tinkie to find her missing and often errant son, Corey. They may not like Kitten, but the ladies are happy to take her five-figure check. Here is a snippet of the conversation:
“Where do you think your son is on this bitter cold night?” Tinkie asked, inserting the ice pick and giving it a little twist.
“Those witches have him. I know it in my heart.”
“Now if they were into voodoo, he might be a great human sacrifice,” I said, draining my martini. I’d had enough of her company. Her check might be good but her soul was rotten. To the core.
Of course, looking for Corey leads Sarah Booth and Tinkie to the Harrington sisters, who Kitten is certain are bona fide witches. And yet, the Harringtons turn out to be surprisingly helpful in finding Corey—but then the real mystery begins.
Charmed Bones is the 18th book in the freewheeling Sarah Booth Delaney series. Did I mention I have read every single one of them? That’s because Sarah Booth, her best friend Tinkie Bellcase Richmond, and the sometimes annoying but exceptionally crafty Civil War-era ghost Jitty are always laugh-out-loud funny, each and every time I follow one of their adventures. So hurry up and grab a copy of Charmed Bones. You don’t want to miss a single minute of their latest escapade. And I will give you this one hint: there are so many twists and turns that I can promise you that when you think the mystery is solved—it is not.