Carolyn Haines was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi on May 12, 1953. She grew up in Lucedale and got her high school diploma in 1971. She went to the University of Southern Mississippi and graduated in 1974, getting her bachelor’s in journalism and would later get her master’s in creative writing from the University of South Alabama in 1985. Before becoming an author, she worked as a journalist for over ten years and wrote about mysteries in the Mississippi Delta. She worked for several papers such as The Huntsville Times, Hattiesburg American, and The Mississippi Press. In addition to writing, Haines also teaches both undergraduate and graduate classes in fiction writing at University of Alabama; she is also the coordinator of fiction and an assistant professor.
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Carolyn Haines Anthologies
She has written many stand alone novels, some short stories, and some novels that make up the “Sarah Booth Delaney Mysteries” series. Some of Haines’s fiction is on the light side, but she does write darker novels too. She writes under her own name, but also uses pen names such as Lizzie Hart, Caroline Burnes, and R. B. Chesterton. Caroline Burnes is a pen named Haines uses when she writes romance mysteries, and Lizzie Hart is used for her humorous novels.
CAROLYN HAINES AWARDS:
In 2010 she won the Harper Lee Award which is, Alabama’s Distinguished Writer of the Year. The previous year, she won the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence. Haines also received an Arts literary fellowship from the Alabama State Council for her writing. Sarah Booth Delaney has won an award for Best Amateur Sleuth and “Hallowed Bones” made the top five of a list that ranked the best mysteries that came out in 2004 by Library Journal. “Penumbria” made its way onto another Library Journal list for best mysteries released in 2006.
BEST CAROLYN HAINES BOOKS:
For readers looking to get into Caroline Haines’s books, “Hallowed Bones”, “Penumbra”, and “Crossed Bones” are really good novels to start with.
Penumbra: This novel is one of Haines’s stand alone novels, and as a result sees her try to distance herself from her more humorous “Sarah Booth Delaney Mysteries” series by moving into more serious territory, and it is a lot darker. The result is a more literary crime novel that has passion and suspense. “Penumbra” is set in 1952 and takes place in Drexl, Mississippi. The novel is about a half black hair dresser named Jade, whose mother is Lucille Longier (the first lady of Drexl) who works for an undertaker. She is great at what she does and is highly sought out by the people in Drexl for her talents, however, she will never be accepted by the people in the town because she is black. After things go horribly wrong for Jade’s younger half-sister (named Marlena, she is beaten and has her child kidnapped). Jade knows that Marlena was cheating on her husband and wealthiest man in the town. She winds up getting help from a white sherriff’s deputy named Frank Kimble, and the two later date.
Hallowed Bones: The fifth installment in the “Sarah Booth Delaney Mysteries” series, and the one that stands out because it has accomplished the most. Normally installments in this series are set in solely in Mississippi, but this one takes readers to New Orleans so that Sarah can catch a bad guy. This novel is set near Halloween, and involves Sarah taking on the case of a woman (Doreen Mallory) feeding her ten week old daughter (named Rebekah) sleeping pills. The daughter was born with many birth defects, it looks like a slam dunk that Doreen did it. Sarah Booth does not think so, and upon digging into things, she finds that Doreen will not talk about the men in her life. Including one guy who is a televangelist and another that is a politician with a wife and mob ties. Either one could be Rebekah’s father and they also could be her killer.
Crossed Bones: The fourth installment in the “Sarah Booth Delaney Mysteries” series. In this one, she tries to help exonerate a man (named Scott Hampton) who is accused of killing a talented and very popular blues pianist named Ivory Keys. The accused and the pianist met in prison and were cellmates; the accused is also a rich white guy who turned racist. Meeting Ivory Keys changed Scott, he stopped being racist and started playing blues guitar at a level that made women go weak in their knees. Ivory’s widow does not believe he did it and hires Sarah so that she can prove it.
When Does The Next Carolyn Haines book come out?
The next book by Carolyn Haines is A Garland of Bones and will be released on October, 13th 2020. It is the newest book in the Sarah Booth Delaney Series.