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Lights, Camera, Bones

Lights, Camera, Bones, June 2024
by Carolyn Haines

Minotaur Books
Featuring: Marlon Brandon; Sarah Booth; Tinkie
352 pages
ISBN: 1250885949
EAN: 9781250885944
Kindle: B0CGS16L65
Hardcover / e-Book
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"Filming on the Mississippi is the background for this mystery"

Fresh Fiction Review

Lights, Camera, Bones
Carolyn Haines

Reviewed by Clare O'Beara
Posted June 4, 2024

Women's Fiction Southern

This lively and highly enjoyable adventure is a great installment in the Sarah Booth Delaney mystery series. A film being made on location in the scenic town of Greenville, MS, is the setting for LIGHTS, CAMERA, BONES. The banks of the mighty Mississippi River are used – not alone the river itself, but a new oxbow lake created to alleviate flooding. A major flood event in 1927 devastated the area, and the film sets out to recreate events.


Sarah Booth, the animal-loving, busy PI, is called upon, with her partner, new mom Tinkie Bellcase Richmond, when problems arise. Actor and director Marlon Brandon, and Ana McCants, producer, are concerned about the disappearance of a crew member. The missing gaffer, Jules Valiant, had been rigging lights on a dock the last time he was seen. During the events that follow, a good-sized bull shark, strayed perhaps from the ocean up the river, features largely. The Delaney Detective Agency has never been called upon to wrangle a shark before.


We learn that despite the Brandon family’s wealth, acquired through land and politics, not everyone wants this film about their heroic actions made.  Lamar Bilbo, an influential local man, and Mary Dayle McCormick, the owner of the bookshop in Greenville, seem set against the production. Sarah doesn’t know if they could be trying to stop filming by drastic means, including maybe killing someone. There’s an unusual aspect to the crime tale in that a ghost, Jitty, follows Sarah around, and seems to do more taunting than helping. Ghosts are unpredictable. Otherwise, Sarah, Tinkie and a brave dog and cat are tramping around the woods equally as much as exploring the town.


Talking to people, online searches, various other aspects of PI work (including lots of breaking and entering) and piecing together archives seem to come naturally to Tinkie and Sarah at this point. LIGHTS, CAMERA, BONES is number twenty-seven in the series by Carolyn Haines, so readers who enjoy this case have plenty of previous cases to try their wits. I did see a big clue. But maybe when you’re deep in the investigation on the spot, you can’t see the woods for the trees. The bull shark is a major distraction, and people are getting wet on a regular basis. Like many PI stories, the case is a step between cosy crime and police procedural, but anyone from mature teens to adults should be fine. I will definitely be returning to Greenville. 

Learn more about Lights, Camera, Bones


The latest novel in the series that Kirkus Reviews characterizes as “Stephanie Plum meets the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” featuring sassy Southern private investigator Sarah Booth Delaney.

Delaney Detective Agency gets a taste of the spotlight when they are called to a case on a movie set in Greenville, MS, right on the Mississippi River. Marlon Brandon, heir to a wealthy and influential political family, has brought a film crew to town to film a drama about the 1927 flood that submerged a great deal of Greenville. Marlon wants the world to know the story of the flood—and the heroic role the Brandon ancestors played in rescuing dozens of local residents from drowning.

Or at least that was the plan until he disappeared. If this weren't concerning enough, the situation appears even more dire when a severed foot is discovered in the Mississippi River, and clues indicate that Marlon may have fallen victim to a freak bull shark attack.

But as rumors swirl around the Delta about Marlon's motives for making the film, Sarah Booth and Tinkie have to wonder whether a shark is to blame, or an equally ferocious human offender. The show must go on, and Sarah Booth and her crew will have to investigate all manner of creatures, over land and sea, in order to solve the mystery and save the day.

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