Sunday, September 18, 2016

Review of "Hallowed Bones" by Carolyn Haines

Doreen Mallory - a spiritual healer living in New Orleans - is accused of murdering her severely handicapped infant daughter. Doreen is visiting her dead mother's grave in Zinnia, Mississippi when she's arrested, and private detectives Sarah Booth Delaney and Tinkie Richmond are hired to prove Doreen's innocence. Turns out that Doreen's mother - who she never knew - was the unmarried "street corner preacher" Lillith, who used to harangue the local teens with rants against unwed sex. Sarah Booth and Tinkie look into Lillith's past and are surprised to discover that she had three children out of wedlock. They then travel to New Orleans, where Doreen is jailed, to look into her case.

Doreen admits that several men - a senator, a preacher, and a financial advisor - are candidates for father of the child, and the detectives proceed to question these men, thinking one of them may be the real murderer. Most of these characters are rather two-dimensional but serve their purpose as possible suspects.

Many of the recurring characters in the series are on hand, including Jiffy - the fashionista ghost that gives Sarah Booth life advice, Coleman - the married cop in Sarah Booth's life, Connie - the married cop's mentally disturbed wife, and Sarah Booth's friend CeCe - the tough transgender reporter. Sarah's handsome former lover Hamilton also puts in an appearance, and Sarah is conflicted between her attraction to Hamilton and her love for Coleman.

This is just an okay cozy mystery with detective work that seems rather superficial and uninspired. It's entertaining though, to visit with the characters in Sarah Booth's circle and observe their familiar shenanigans.  

Rating: 3 stars

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