Book Series Binge: Q&A with Carolyn Haines on Sarah Booth Delaney Mysteries
By Crime HQMarch 26, 2020
Learn more about Zinnia Mississippi's hottest detective, and get a steal on Booty Bones for the rest of March!
Describe the first time you pictured Sarah Booth Delaney in your head?
Carolyn Haines: I had just finished a two-book contract and I was thinking about what I would write next. It was an incredibly spring day. Right outside the window the Chinese fringe tree and the cross vines were in full bloom. Sitting at my computer, I was looking out the window watching my horses graze in the pasture when I heard voices. Two women were giving each other the devil, just bickering away. They were very funny and I could tell they were close friends. I realized they were sitting on the porch of a big house surrounded by cotton fields. I had a clear picture of the house, but I couldn’t see them. I realized, listening to them talk, that this was Sarah Booth Delaney and Jitty—two women of about the same age. It took me a bit to realize that Jitty was dead! Sarah Booth was a firecracker, and Jitty had returned to Dahlia House to look out for her—and to keep her in line. I had no idea the story would turn out to be a mystery.
How has Sarah Booth Delaney changed since you began the series?
CH: I’ve been writing the Sarah Booth books for two decades now (21 books in the series). I have aged appropriately—Sarah Booth and her friends have aged only a little over a year! While she hasn’t gone gray, she has grown a bit wiser. She’s a much better detective, and she’s more certain of her skills. Time and experience have made her a better judge of character. She’s a great lover of the land—and that hasn’t changed. Sarah Booth has learned to be a better friend and to value her friends. She’s acquired more animals—cat, dog, and horses! And she’s learned that love always comes at a cost, but it is always worth the risk.
Describe Sarah Booth Delaney in one sentence.
CH: Sarah Booth is an anti-Southern belle with the best friends anyone could want, an itch for justice, and a haunted past.