Bones of a Feather (Sarah Booth Delaney Series #11)

( 28 )

Overview

When PI Sarah Booth Delaney and her partner and best friend, Tinkie, take on Monica and Eleanor Levert as clients, they don’t have much hope of solving the case. The wealthy heiresses of Briarcliff in Natchez, Mississippi, claim that a family necklace worth four million dollars has been stolen, and they think that they can hurry the insurance payout if a reputable PI investigates. Sarah Booth has her doubts, and not just about the payout. All of the evidence suggests ...

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Bones of a Feather (Sarah Booth Delaney Series #11)

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Overview

When PI Sarah Booth Delaney and her partner and best friend, Tinkie, take on Monica and Eleanor Levert as clients, they don’t have much hope of solving the case. The wealthy heiresses of Briarcliff in Natchez, Mississippi, claim that a family necklace worth four million dollars has been stolen, and they think that they can hurry the insurance payout if a reputable PI investigates. Sarah Booth has her doubts, and not just about the payout. All of the evidence suggests that the sisters might be committing fraud.

But when they have just started scratching the surface on the sordid past of the Levert family and the blood money that all of their wealth was founded upon, Monica goes missing. The police suspect that the heiresses are playing more games, and Eleanor isn’t doing anything to make them think any different.

But how can she? If she says or does anything besides pass on the insurance money to the kidnappers, they’ll kill Monica.

With a family history that runs deep and dark and a twisting plot where no one is exactly what they seem, Sarah Booth and Tinkie are the Levert sisters' best and only hope in Bones of a Feather, the latest in Carolyn Haines sparkling Southern mystery series.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At the start of Haines's entertaining 11th Sarah Booth Delaney mystery (after 2010's Bone Appetit), Sarah and her detecting partner, Tinkie Bellcase Richmond, agree to help sisters Monica and Eleanor Levert of Natchez, Miss., obtain the insurance payoff for their purloined million heirloom necklace. Having sworn off dangerous cases, both investigators figure proving a high stakes but simple theft should be a breeze. Alas, the evil deeds of no-good ancestor Barthelme Levert hang over Briarcliff, the family estate overlooking the Mississippi, which is haunted by a phantom horse and rider that even the longtime gardener can't seem to get a good look at. Meanwhile, the Leverts' cousin and supposed sole heir, Millicent Gentry, schemes to gain the Levert fortune, even as a drop-dead gorgeous newcomer purports to be Monica's abandoned-at-birth son. In the end, Sarah and Tinkie must strive to thwart a plan of brilliantly diabolical proportions. (June)
From the Publisher
Praise for Bone Appétit

“Distinctive characters and a clever cooking background make Haines’s tenth Sarah Booth Delaney mystery the best yet in this Southern cozy series.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A whole lot of Southern sass . . . Haines’s novel is definitely a page-turner.”

Jackson Free Press

Praise for Greedy Bones

“As usual in Haines’s Bones series, the latest entry is charming light entertainment.”

The Times-Picayune

Praise for Wishbones

“Wishbones is reminiscent in many ways of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels, only fresher with a bit more of an edge and none of the pretentiousness. Light, breezy, and just plain fun. Call Haines the queen of cozies.”

Providence Journal-Bulletin

“Sarah Booth Delaney heads for Hollywood in Haines’s entertaining eighth. . . . The chemistry sizzles between Graf and Sarah Booth.”

Publishers Weekly

“Haines’s warmth, wit, and authenticity come through in her characters. . . . Wishbones is a story about the bonds of friendship and the strength of Southern women and is also a good, old-fashioned, fast-moving whodunit.”

Mobile Register

Library Journal
Jewelry isn't the only thing missing in PI Sarah Booth Delaney's (Bone Appétit) latest case.
Kirkus Reviews

A lesson in lying, Mississippi style.

Monica and Eleanor Levert, the last two surviving members of the Natchez clan founded by slave-trading blackguard Barthelme, ask the Delaney Detective Agency to help prove that the family's ruby necklace, valued at $4 million, has been stolen. Partners Sarah Booth and Tinkie, thinking the job will be safe, easy, quick and no cause for their menfolk to fret about them, agree to prepare a report for the insurance company. They've barely parked their blood-red Cadillac under the Levert portico when Eleanor reports that Monica has been kidnapped by a man who demands the insurance money as ransom. Agreeing to handle the arrangements, Sarah Booth and Tinkie, along with their faithful four-legged companions, Sweetie Pie and Chablis, are soon up to their southern accents in tall tales. Some are told by a devilishly handsome rogue claiming that he's a Levert heir because he's Monica's illegitimate son, others by Millicent, a distant cousin who thinks she's entitled to some largesse from the sisters. And there's still more. Lolly the gardener is hiding his romantic trysts, Kissie the housekeeper is letting the rogue stay in a house wing unannounced, and a historian descended from a dupe of Barthelme plans a tell-all book. A stallion gallops across the plantation. A body falls off the plantation cliff. Jitty, the ghost who tweaks Sarah Booth about her love life, keeps appearing as pairs of sisters. Lies as thick as the Natchez humidity ultimately lead to two death scenes, several disappearances and a scam within a scam that almost causes Tinkie and Sarah Booth their lives.

Haines (Bone Appetit, 2010, etc.) diverts the reader from plot inconsistencies with great dollops of charm.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594491750
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 6/21/2011
  • Series: Sarah Booth Delaney Series , #11
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.92 (w) x 8.32 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Carolyn Haines is the author of the Sarah Booth Delaney Mysteries, including Greedy Bones and Bone Appetit. She is the recipient of both the Harper Lee Distinguished Writing Award and the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence. Before writing fiction, she worked for several years as a journalist, and first visited the Delta, the setting for her mysteries, to do a newspaper story on Parchman State Prison. Born and raised in Mississippi, she now lives in Alabama on a farm with more dogs, cats, and horses than she can possibly keep track of.

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Read an Excerpt

BONES OF A FEATHER (Chapter 1)

Graf Milieu, my fiancé, stands in the sunlight filtering through the sheers of the bedroom window. His dark hair hangs over one eye as he drinks a cup of coffee and watches over me.

“I love you, Sarah Booth Delaney,” he says, and he means every word.

“Come here.” I reach for him, light winking on the diamond of my engagement ring. My hands know the contours of his body, the curve of bicep and length of thigh. Male perfection. The bed is empty without him.

“Sleep, Sarah Booth.”

“No, wait,” I tell him. “Don’t go. Come back to bed.”

“Sleep,” he orders. He smiles and fades as the dream recedes and I open my eyes to a sunny morning. Graf is gone, and I’m home in the middle of the Mississippi Delta at the height of summer. Even so early in the morning, the day is already hot.

I roll out of bed and pad barefoot down the stairs toward the kitchen and coffee. The dream has left me empty and dissatisfied.

Wandering the rooms of Dahlia House, I have an inkling of what it must be like to be Jitty. This old house, my family dwelling, the repository of my roots and history, is empty without the warm energy of my significant other, Graf Milieu. That handsome hunk of man drove away at the crack of dawn this morning, headed to the Memphis airport and a flight to Hollywood. He’s taken the lead in a new thriller set in Louisiana. The good news is, once the location work starts, he’ll be one state away. Close enough for some “us” time.

For now, though, I’m alone in Zinnia, Mississippi, land of my birth and place where my ancestors rest. Some easy, some not. A long list of repairs on my rambling home awaits my attention. For too long, Dahlia House has been neglected.

“Follow the yellow brick road!”

The voice comes from all around me. Jitty, the resident haint of Dahlia House, has arrived to badger me. I don’t have to be psychic to know she’s going to tell me I should have gone to Hollywood with Graf. I should have “stood by my man,” even though I would only distract him from his work. Jitty, who dates back to pre–War Between the States times, has been singing this particular song since I returned home two years ago—unwed and unbred, as she loves to point out.

“Follow the yellow brick road,” she says again.

“If you show up as a Munchkin, I’m going to kick you back to Oz,” I warn Jitty.

I’ve miscalculated her most recent incarnation. Instead of striped socks and holding a lollipop, she appears in a puff of vile orange smoke. A black taffeta dress swirls around her slender body. When she stops spinning, I realize her lovely mocha skin is now a shade of pea green and a wart mars her nose.

“Click your heels together three times, pick up that fancy cell phone, and charge yourself a plane ticket to your man,” Jitty orders.

“I’m already home.” While I love Graf, I don’t want to abandon Dahlia House or Mississippi. The last few weeks—spending time in my childhood home with Graf, riding horses, making love, making breakfast, laughing with my business partner, Tinkie Bellcase Richmond, and our friends and helpers in crime solving, Cece and Millie—have shown me that the pull of acting isn’t stronger than these things. I want to act. I want to be with Graf in Hollywood. But I also want to be here, in Zinnia, with my horses, my hound, my friends, and my private investigating.

“Dorothy didn’t necessarily want to go to The Emerald City,” Jitty says darkly. “It was her destiny.”

“It was a dream,” I remind her.

“Perhaps. Perhaps not.” Jitty can aggravate the hairs off a mole.

I surveyed her with a moue of distaste. “Why the Wicked Witch of the West? I figured you’re more of a bubble kind of witch. Pink frothy gown, crystal wand—a better outfit to show off that twenty-four-inch waist.”

“Elphaba suits my message.”

“Message? You have a communication for me?” Jitty’s job was to devil me and highlight the error of my ways, but for one brief second I thought perhaps my departed mother had something to tell me. “From whom?”

“Benjamin Disraeli, actually.” Jitty was smug.

“You have got to be kidding. A nineteenth-century prime minister of England has a message for me?” Things were obviously getting out of hand in the Great Beyond.

“‘Sweet is the voice of a sister in the season of sorrow,’” Jitty’s tone resonated, but her image began to fade before she finished.

“Hey, you can’t leave like that.” I hated it when she tossed out a pearl and made me feel like a trampling swine because I didn’t understand it. “Jitty! Jitty!” But she was gone.

Before I could try to track her down, the phone rang.

“Delaney Detective Agency,” I answered, despite the fact it was up in the air if we were still in business after Tinkie’s latest brush with death. Both her husband, Oscar, and Graf wanted us to shut down the agency. The men felt we put ourselves in the line of danger too often, a point that statistically couldn’t be argued.

“Ms. Sarah Booth Delaney?” a cultured woman asked. “This is Monica Levert, of Briarcliff in Natchez. I’d like to hire you.”

Instinctively I glanced around to make sure Graf wasn’t listening in. He’d have a hissy fit if he thought I was taking a case not three hours after he had driven away. Such is life.

“What type of case?” I asked.

“My sister, Eleanor, and I inherited a necklace. A very valuable necklace. For the past several weeks someone has tried to break into our home. Three nights ago, they succeeded. The necklace was stolen. Now the insurance company is stalling about paying the value of our policy.”

An insurance claim! No dead bodies. No murders. No guns. A simple insurance claim. “What’s the value of the necklace?”

“It’s been passed down in the Levert family for five generations. The jewels themselves are valuable, but it’s the reputation of the jeweler that makes it even more so. We’re afraid a thief won’t realize that and will destroy the necklace to sell the rubies individually.”

“The value is…?”

“Four million dollars.”

I’d grown up in a society where valuable jewels were commonplace. The belles of the Delta, women of exceptional beauty and charm, felt good jewelry was a birthright. But a necklace with this appraisal was extraordinary. No wonder the insurance company was balking.

“The police have verified the theft?”

“They have, but Langley Insurance is still stonewalling. My sister and I thought bringing in reputable private investigators to reevaluate the evidence might speed things up.”

“I doubt that.” I had to be honest.

“Would you at least speak with Mr. Nesbitt at the insurance company? He’s aware of your reputation for honesty.”

Nice to hear, but in the instance of a $4 million claim, I doubted the reputation of Delaney Detective Agency would matter a whit. But what did I have to lose? “Sure, if my partner agrees.”

“Eleanor and I will await your phone call,” Monica said.

It took less than a minute to clear the case with Tinkie, who not only agreed to take the Leverts’ job offer but jumped in her Cadillac to head for Dahlia House. She loved Oscar, but their constant togetherness in the last weeks was driving her a little nuts.

We’d both gotten used to calling our own shots, a simpler situation for me. Tinkie had been reared in the fine tradition of a Daddy’s Girl, a woman who accomplishes much through charm and the guise of acquiescence. Tinkie was about as pliable as a titanium rod, but she knew how to appear malleable. It just required a lot of effort to do so.

She roared down my drive like a bat out of hell and bounded out of her car on the heels of Chablis, her dustmop Yorkie terrier with the heart of a lion. Sweetie Pie, my noble red tic hound, greeted them with a tenor serenade. Ah, Placido, should you ever need a hound onstage, Sweetie’s voice could make an audience weep!

“Have you called the Levert sisters back?” Tinkie asked, rushing up the steps.

I held out a hand to steady her. She wore three-inch stilettos and I feared she’d topple backward and break her neck. Her sundress put me in mind of the 1960s, complete with the cutest straw sun hat. Tinkie had excellent taste and the budget to indulge it.

“I thought I’d let you do the honors.” I led her toward our office on the first floor of Dahlia House in what was formerly a parlor. Our décor was taupe filing cabinets and cheap furniture. Tinkie had insisted on, and paid for, the frosted-glass door that said Delaney Detective Agency. Classic noir. The only classy thing about our digs.

I gave her Monica’s number and she put the phone on speaker and dialed.

Monica answered on the second ring.

“We’re interested in the case,” Tinkie said. “Our fee is two grand up front and a grand a day, plus any unexpected expenses.”

“Can you start today?” Monica asked.

“You realize we’ll investigate and write the report of whatever we find.” Tinkie wanted to be clear no one was buying results.

“We wouldn’t dream of anything else,” Monica said. “Eleanor and I are distraught over the theft. Yes, the necklace has a monetary value, but it’s part of our history. I’m sure you ladies can understand what that means.”

She was stroking my weak spot. “Heritage,” “tradition”—two words I understood down to the bone.

“Where would you like to meet?” Tinkie asked.

“The Excelsior Tea Room. At noon?”

“We’ll be there,” Tinkie agreed before she punched the disconnect button.

She sat on the edge of the desk. “A new case, Sarah Booth! Isn’t it exciting?”

Oh, exciting wouldn’t cover it when she told Oscar and I told Graf. Unless, of course, we could make the two-hour drive to Natchez, examine the evidence, come home, and write the report without anyone being the wiser. As my aunt Loulane would say, were she alive to say it, “Discretion is the better part of valor.”

If we kept our mouths shut about the case, we’d spare Oscar and Graf needless worry. It could even be interpreted as an act of love.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a blur of black and heard the soft rustle of taffeta. A breeze kicked up outside and I could have sworn I heard, “Beware, my pretty.”

“Did you hear that?” I asked Tinkie.

She shook her head. “Let’s hit the road. Maybe we can get back before dark.”

Great minds think alike. I called in the dogs, grabbed my purse, and settled into the passenger seat of her new Caddy.

*   *   *

On the drive to Natchez, I’d used Tinkie’s cute new laptop computer, complete with wireless Internet, to do some research on the Levert family. Monica and Eleanor were heiresses of an estate valued at close to $10 million, not counting the necklace and other jewels. While the assets were impressive, Briarcliff, their home, was expensive to maintain. And the Levert sisters were used to globe-trotting and the luxuries of life.

They lived in Natchez part of the year and also spent time in Monaco, Vienna, Tuscany, and Rio during the carnival season. It was just the two of them, with nothing to tie them down.

Tinkie crested a steep hill and pulled into a parking space on a brick-lined street. The Excelsior Tea Room was on the second floor of a downtown Natchez building that gave a view of the Mississippi River. Tinkie and I entered and scanned the room.

“Is that them?” Tinkie whispered, pinching the fat on my upper arm.

“Stop it!” I snatched my arm away, but my gaze never left the two women seated in a corner of the tearoom. Both had shoulder-length black hair layered in a casually elegant style called a gypsy shag in the 1970s. The cut didn’t look dated in the least. Nor did the women, who had to be close to fifty but looked younger. One wore red, the other black. Mirror images. Identical twins.

They rose, waving us to their table. Introductions were made as we settled into our chairs. Monica was the dominant. She did most of the talking.

“It just makes me crazy that we tried to get the police to help us, but they wouldn’t do a thing,” Monica said. Her chocolate eyes were hot with indignation. “We reported the intruder the first two nights. Officers drove out, looked around, then said we should get a dog or one of those expensive alarm systems. I couldn’t make them understand that a historic house has certain restrictions. I mean, we’ve ordered new windows, but it will take weeks. They have to be handmade to fit. It isn’t just like calling out Sears for an installation.”

“Start at the beginning,” Tinkie requested.

“Do you know anything about our family history?” Monica asked.

“No.” We’d agreed to let them tell it. It’s always interesting to learn what a client reveals or hides.

“The family dynasty started with Barthelme Levert,” Monica said.

Eleanor leaned forward and spoke quietly. “He was a blackguard and a scoundrel. Natchez society has never forgiven us for Barthelme’s brutal ways.”

“Posh.” Monica waved her sister to silence. “They’ve never forgiven us for hanging on to our fortune during the Civil War, the Depression, and this latest economic downturn. Jealousy is a cruel prod, Sister. And it’s only jealousy that makes the peahens so catty.”

“Tell us about the necklace,” Tinkie said.

“I can do better than that.” Monica reached into her designer handbag and brought out a photograph. The rubies sparkled blood red against a gold satin background. Even I gasped, and Tinkie’s finger traced the delicate craftsmanship of the exquisite necklace. The design made the rubies appear to capture the light and shoot it back in a million blades of red. I couldn’t help but notice the ruby ring on Monica’s hand as she extended the photo—another piece of exceptional craftsmanship.

“Wow,” Tinkie said. “That’s some necklace.”

“Barthelme was a scoundrel, but he knew jewels and good work. The necklace was created by Rodney Implace, one of—”

“The finest jewelers in the mid to late eighteen hundreds,” Tinkie finished. “His creations were sought after by the monarchs of Europe as well as the Rockefellers, Carnegies, Vanderbilts, and others. That ring is his, too.”

“Exactly.” Monica’s smile revealed perfect teeth. I checked Eleanor’s dental work. Also perfection. In fact, I couldn’t see a flaw in complexion, figure, or hair, which was one of the top requirements for a Daddy’s Girl—bad hair might be a dominant gene and wealthy men didn’t favor offspring with frizz or limpness.

“So what happened the night the necklace was stolen?” I asked.

Monica picked up the story. “As I told you, for the previous two nights, Sister and I had seen someone on the grounds of Briarcliff.”

“Can you describe the person?” I asked.

“Only generically. He was tall, broad-shouldered, wore dark clothing, and moved with extreme grace.” The sisters shared a look. “We have a live-in gardener, Jerome Lolly. Though he was watching out for the intruder, he never saw a thing. The thief was like a phantom. I could only catch a glimpse here, a flit of movement there.”

“Footprints?” I asked.

“The lawn is thick around the house. There was no trace to support our complaint. That’s one reason the police never took us seriously.”

“And Jerome Lolly saw nothing,” Tinkie said.

“Not a thing.” Eleanor’s tone softened. “But he believed us. He’s worked at Briarcliff for more than three decades and has run off a lot of curiosity seekers and treasure hunters. Briarcliff is a … part of the local lore.”

“We don’t live there year round,” Monica said. “When we’re absent, the mice come out to play.”

They were very feline women—elegant, graceful, and nobody’s fools. “Has anything ever been stolen before?” I asked.

“Statuary from the gardens, furnishings in the gazebo or porches, tack from the old stables. Nothing of real value. I think the young people have scavenger hunts that require a tiny bit of Briarcliff.”

Tinkie put us back on track. “So you saw an intruder two nights before the necklace was stolen.”

“Exactly.” Monica squared her shoulders. “The third evening, Sister and I took something to help us relax. We were exhausted from the past two sleepless nights. I guess we finally accepted the police’s opinion, that the intruder was either a prankster or a figment of our overactive imaginations.”

“You both saw him?” I wasn’t clear on this point.

“Only me,” Monica said. “By the time I roused Sister, he was gone.”

“And the night the necklace was stolen,” Tinkie said, “did you see or hear anything?”

“No. I’d taken the sleeping pill. I didn’t wake up. And neither did Eleanor.”

“How did the thief enter your home?” I asked.

“The front-parlor window. The latch was old.” Monica bit her lip. “Briarcliff needs a complete overhaul. New windows are being built, as I mentioned. The police don’t understand that these things take time.”

I understood. Dahlia House needed work, too, but I wasn’t loaded like the Levert gals. Old homes are a money pit, and some updates, unless carefully orchestrated, can destroy the historic integrity.

“The latch was already broken?” Tinkie pressed.

“Not exactly broken, but antique,” Monica said. “It didn’t take much to pressure it off.”

“How would a thief know to go to that particular window?” I asked.

“These are the same questions Mr. Nesbitt at Langley Insurance asked,” Monica said. “I suppose it might be one of the first windows an intruder would try. It’s on the front of the house, and our bedrooms are in the back wing. And it’s a walk-through window. The house was designed to capture the breezes off the river.”

Most antebellum homes were built with a thought for cooling. Prior to air-conditioning houses made the most of wind and shade, to combat Mississippi’s oppressive summer heat.

“Were any of the other windows even tried?” Tinkie asked.

Monica’s brow furrowed, but it was Eleanor who answered. “How would we be able to tell? Chief Randall dusted, but there were no prints other than ours or Kissie’s, our housekeeper. The police deduced the thief wore gloves.”

“And the necklace was kept in a safe?” I asked.

“Normally, that would be the case. Old Barthelme installed an indestructible vault in the basement. It survived the Yankees and god knows how many attempts by robbers. Barthelme knew the tactics of highwaymen and pirates, and he built a safe no one could crack.” Monica rolled her eyes. “He was thorough in keeping out his brethren.”

I’d found a few references to Barthelme’s illegal activities on the Internet. He was something of a bluebeard. His first five wives died after a few years of marriage, and none bore offspring. I was curious to hear what the Levert sisters would admit.

“Was Barthelme really a highwayman?”

“And worse,” Monica said. Eleanor’s disapproving look was ignored. “If he weren’t our family, you know it would be delicious,” she told Eleanor. “And it’s such past history. What’s the harm? A lot of people back then did what they had to do to survive and build a fortune. Do you think the railroad magnates were any less ruthless? Just ask the American Indians if you do.”

“So he robbed people on the Natchez Trace?” Tinkie asked.

“Robbed, tortured, and murdered. I suppose old Barthelme might be termed a serial killer today. He had a very clever scheme. He’d ferry folks up and down the Mississippi River on his boat, the Lillith. His crewmen searched their bags for anything of value, then Barthelme would stage a robbery either along the Natchez Trace or in New Orleans, depending on whether passengers were heading north or south.”

“He acquired a great deal of wealth,” Eleanor said.

“And he stole slaves upriver and took them down to work the cane plantations in Louisiana,” Monica threw in. “Made a very handsome profit, too. If he’d been caught, he’d surely have been lynched. He tricked the slaves into believing he was taking them to freedom. They’d run away and board the Lillith. Barthelme sold them in New Orleans. Pure profit.”

Tinkie’s face registered distaste, and I figured mine was about the same.

“He was awful.” Eleanor put a hand over her eyes. “It shames me to know Briarcliff was built on blood money. Monica finds it much more entertaining than I do.”

Monica didn’t try to hide her amusement. “Eleanor is so straitlaced and proper. She’d like to pretend the Levert money came from something benevolent, but the truth is, great fortunes are always built on the bones of someone. Great-great-great-grandpapa Levert killed other well-off people and sold runaway slaves. It could be worse. No child pornography or prostitutes or toxic chemical production or even weapons, for that matter. He simply executed the wealthy and took what they had.”

“Please, Monica.” Eleanor held up her hand. “Enough. It’s a fact, but I don’t enjoy having my nose rubbed in it.”

Monica’s laughter was musical and feminine, yet I heard a note of cruelty dancing beneath it. She enjoyed tormenting her sister.

“I haven’t even told them about the other ruby necklaces and the five dead wives.” Monica raised her eyebrows. “Some say Barthelme quickly tired of his young brides and poisoned them. Each dead wife is buried with an exact replica of the stolen necklace.”

“Get out!” Tinkie leaned back in her chair. “A necklace like that in a grave? How awful.”

“That’s twenty million dollars.” Even I could do the math. “Locked away in coffins.”

“What would you have me do, dig them up?” Monica was enjoying this way too much.

“When we were in Italy last winter, someone tried.” Eleanor paled at the memory. “It was awful. We came home unexpectedly late on a February evening. It was storming—”

Monica cut in, “And we arrived to find mounds of dirt in the family cemetery where someone had been digging. Jerome ran them off before they could remove the cement slabs, but it—”

“Was completely disgusting,” Eleanor finished.

“The jewels were safe?” I asked.

Eleanor shrugged. “As far as we know. Monica wanted to look, but I wouldn’t budge. The Leverts have been called everything else, but I refuse to give Natchez ammunition to call us grave robbers.” Eleanor’s spine was straight, and her lips a compressed line.

“Sis stood firm on that issue,” Monica said, acting bored. “We could have done a two-year world tour with the money.”

“We have the necklace we inherited from our mother. That’s all we’re entitled to, and all I want.” Eleanor was visibly upset.

Monica stifled a yawn. “So now you know the family dirty laundry. Are you ready to start your investigation? The sooner you finish, the quicker we’ll get our insurance check.”

BONES OF A FEATHER Copyright © 2011 by Carolyn Haines

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 22, 2013

    This was my first book of this series and I was shocked to reali

    This was my first book of this series and I was shocked to realize that this was the 11th of these terrible tales! The heroine is so absolutely stupid, ridiculous and insipid that I wanted to shout obscenities at her the farther the book progressed. Totally unbelievable. Some authors make insipid and girly into funny (take Sookey Stackhouse for example) but this had absolutely no humorous saving grace anywhere in the entire book. And the random throwing in of the ghost that had nothing to do with the plot was gratuitous as a pandering to the paranormal craze. Sad that I wasted my time on this book!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 3, 2012

    MUST READ SERIES/AUTHOR

    This series is written by an amazing author! Ms. Haines not only has written the Sarah Booth Delaney series, she has written many "dark" stand alones. BONES OF A FEATHER is fun to read and made me laugh many times. The characters are well written as is the story line. If you like mystery, comesy and romance then this is a book and a series for you to read. Be sure to pick up THEM BONES if you ave not yet started the series, start from the beginning and you will be hooked.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2014

    Awesome

    I do believe that it is a awesome book for thosebwho wnt to read it please do it is very good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2012

    Hazelpool

    A hazel colored she th red streaks and green eyes padds to him. Ill b your mate dakclaw he smiles at hin

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2012

    Love this series!!!

    I absolutely love what Carolyn Haines has done with this series. You get attached to the charavters and the lives they lead. I will continue to follow Sarah Booth and friends as long as Ms. Haines continues to bring her to life!!! Thank you!

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  • Posted December 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great Sarah Booth and Tinkie fix!

    I'm hooked. I've read all the "Bones" books, and feel like the main characters are family. This is a good exciting mystery, and a fun read.

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  • Posted September 27, 2011

    Lots of twists and turns

    Bones of a Feather is full of twists and turns. I couldn't figure them all out until almost the end. Great book. Can't wait for the next one in the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2011

    Couldn't Guess Whodunit

    This is the first Delta Murder -Sarah Booth Delaney book I have read and I cannot wait to read the ones I missed. Loved the characters, the spooky ones not to much, but all the others were great. I had chills trying to figure out what was going to happen next. The end was a real mystery thriller. Lots of twists and turns.

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  • Posted July 5, 2011

    Wonderful

    I could not put this down it left you almost breathless with the pace and the twist and turns!

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  • Posted June 23, 2011

    Captivating til the end

    Once I started reading this book I couldn't put it down! I read the entire thing in one day. I found the Delta Murder series a couple years ago and very impatiently await each new release. Carolyn never disappoints! She is a wonderful author and person. She suports many great casues and takes time for her readers. I continue to be an adoring fan. <3

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  • Posted April 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    a strong whodunit

    In Zinnia, Mississippi Dahlia House is home to private investigator Sarah Booth Delaney and the resident haint Jitty. She misses her fiancé, movie star Graf Milieu who is on location. Sarah is good enough to have a film career but prefers to remain mostly in the Mississippi Delta that flows through her veins.

    Heiress Monica Levert of Briarcliff in Natchez asks Sarah to help her on a case in which she and her sister Eleanor were robbed of a family necklace valued at four million dollars that the insurance firm balks at paying. Monica believes an independent private investigator could expedite the payment. Sarah and her partner Tinkie drive to Natchez to talk with the police, examine the evidence, and conclude the siblings were robbed. Monica is kidnapped and the perpetrator demands four million dollars for her release. Eleanor cannot cash the insurance check because she needs her sister's co-signature. Tinkie prevails on her banker husband to help, but before the sleuths finish with the siblings, they realize their deaths are the end game.

    The excellent eleventh Sarah Booth Delaney paranormal private investigative tale (see Bone Apetit) is a strong whodunit filled with key support characters who are not quite what they seem as first reader impressions will not hold up; just ask the two sleuths. Sarah and Tinkie see many faces of evil; some of whom shouldn't have existed as they make psychopaths seem stable. The superb Mississippi Delta mystery is a terrific thriller as almost everyone believes the sisters are con artists, but the conscientious sleuths cannot take the chance they are not.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Posted March 18, 2011

    Best Bones story yet. "Are you a Daddy's Girl?"

    Carolyn Haines may have "grown up more tomboy than Daddy's Girl," but she has once again captured the heart of that southern icon in her character Sarah Booth Delaney. Sarah Booth is a private investigator from Zinna, a small town in the Mississippi delta. Haines avoids Jessica Fletcher syndrome by having Sarah Booth travel to Natchez to investigate the theft of a multi-million dollar heirloom necklace belonging to to twin sisters Monica and Eleanor Levert. Sarah Booth and her best friend and business partner Tinkie have agreed to not accept dangerous cases anymore at the request of the men in their lives. The disappearance of Monica Levert changes the case from an innocuous insurance investigation to one of kidnapping and possible homicide. Throw in a couple of ghosts, a son born on the wrong side of the blanket, and a society belle who creates life-size barbie style replicas of herself in halloween costumes and you have Haine's uncanny knack for combining a murder mystery with a laugh out loud tale of southern characters and the world they belong to. The particular world that Carolyn Haines has captured, boxed, and delivered to us wrapped in vintage peignor lace is of Natchez, MS and its tightly knit group of society matrons. Known locally as the "Hoop Skirt Mafia", these women make up an exclusive network that has controlled everything from the annual Natchez pilgrimage to activities in boardrooms and bedrooms for years. The old South survives in these women who will always present the "proper" image to society. Behind closed doors, a few of the antebellum mansions guard activities better suited to the reputation of Natchez Under the Hill. Monica and Eleanor Levert are prime examples of women willing to run their lives to ruin as long as the image that society sees is one of grace, wealth, and beauty. If you have not read the first ten books in Haines' Mississippi delta mysteries, you will still enjoy Bones of a Feather and be able to pick right up with the storylines recurring characters. You could easily enjoy this book as a stand alone title, but don't cheat yourself. Go back and get the rest of the Sarah Booth Delaney mysteries. .

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted August 10, 2011

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    Posted August 3, 2011

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    Posted July 23, 2011

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    Posted November 6, 2011

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    Posted October 6, 2012

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    Posted July 6, 2011

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    Posted July 7, 2011

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    Posted March 13, 2012

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