Sticks and Bones by Carolyn Haines is a fiction mystery novel that takes place in Mississippi in modern times; the main character is Sarah Booth – a private investigator. The novel starts with rumors of big Hollywood producers heading to a small town in Mississippi to film a documentary about a cold murder case. The producers are a husband and wife duo; when they arrive in town, they head to the diner where Sarah and her friends spend their time.


Not long after sitting down with the group, the St. John’s (the producers) hire Sarah Booth Delaney Detective Agency (or something like that) to investigate what really happened in the case. The story follows Sarah and her partner, Tinkie through their investigation into the murder of Son & Cleo McFee. The McFees are a well-known, wealthy southern family; Colin McFee is the son of the McFee who started the wealth empire, but he was a deeply conservative and religious man. That made him very particular in choosing who would be the heir to his estate.


As soon as Sarah and Tinkie get some good leads and begin investigating the deaths of Cleo and Son, they start to run into obstacles such as being shot at, cars being tampered with, etc. There is a love story or some tension between Sarah and Coleman, the sheriff in the story. They work fairly closely together and eventually it becomes clear that they will end up in a romantic relationship of some kind. Some of the other important characters in the story are Cece, the local reporter, Oscar – Tinkie’s husband, Johnny Dan works for Colin McFee. Colin McFee owns a business and in this story, is running for a Mississippi senate seat.

He has a daughter called “Sister” who wrote about the death of her mother (Cleo) and bother (Son) suggesting or accusing her brother of being on drugs while he was driving himself and their mother back from another city/town. The book is the reason the documentary is being made, the reason the investigation is happening and the reason everyone is back in town. It took me a while to read this book because I found out that homeschooling two kids is a lot of work, time consuming and is no joke. That being said, I did enjoy the book; I thought it had plenty of humorous parts and I do love a good puzzle, so it was fun trying to figure out the case using the clues given. If you enjoy a good mystery novel with some humor and a little love mixed in, then you’d enjoy this novel by Haines.