Book Title and Author: Sticks and Stones by Carolyn Haines
Series: Sarah Booth Delaney #17
Publication Date and Publisher: May 16, 2017 by Minotaur Books
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 352 pages
Buy on Amazon.com
Date Read: May 4, 2017
Private investigator Sarah Booth Delaney and her friends are celebrating New Year’s Eve at the party of the year, a smashing Winter White Garden party at the newly renovated King Cotton Boutique Hotel. It’s a dazzling success…until Frangelica “Sister” McFee walks through the door. Sarah Booth knew Sister in college before Sister became a bestselling author and moved to New York, and fame and fortune don’t seem to have tempered her arrogance and cruelty.
Sister’s latest book is a memoir about the death of her mother and brother many years ago. Now, a film about the book is in the works, and a film crew has descended upon Zinnia, Mississippi, to tell the complete story. The film crew soon realizes there may be more to the story than meets the eye—or is told in Sister’s memoir—and they hire Sarah Booth to discover the absolute truth about those deaths so many years ago. But Sarah Booth quickly realizes that someone is desperate to keep the truth hidden and will go to any lengths necessary to protect a long-held secret.
Carolyn Haines’s next Sarah Booth Delaney novel, Sticks and Bones, is sure to delight series fans and newcomers alike.
I’ve loved the Sarah Booth Delaney mystery series since reading book #1, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands-on Sticks and Bones, which is book 17 in the series! Carolyn Haines did not disappoint with this clever mystery. But before I get to my review, I want to thank NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and Carolyn Haines for the chance to read an ARC of Sticks and Bones in exchange for my fair and honest review.
In this story, Sarah Booth and Tinkie have been hired by Hollywood filmmakers to solve what really happened 5 years ago in the deaths of Son McFee and his mother Cleo before the filmmakers begin shooting a movie based on the book written by Sister McFee about her brother and mother’s deaths. Were their deaths a terrible car accident caused by a storm and flooding on the roads? Was Son responsible because of alleged drug use? Or was it murder?
During the investigation, Sarah Booth and Tinkie encounter some of the craziest and strangest people that they have ever dealt with in Sunflower County. This leads to some pretty intense and dramatic moments but some humorous ones as well! There were several times that I laughed aloud while reading this book. Other times, I was on the edge of my seat from the twists and turns the mystery took! The mayhem, danger, and great characters kept me so engrossed that I had to read the book in one sitting.
I can’t wait to read book #18, and this is one series that I can count on to always keep me highly entertained and wanting more. There is never a dull moment when the Delaney Detective Agency is on the case! Oh, and I hope with the ending Ms. Haines gave us that we can expect to see more romance in Sarah Booth’s future…
Plus, every time I read one of these books, I can’t help but get hungry for some country cooking thanks to Millie always feeding everyone at her café! This time was no exception, especially since she seemed to be cooking some yummy sounding food this time around. So, thanks to Millie making me hungry, I’m going to add a couple of my favorite country home-cooking recipes to this review that were passed down to me by my Grandmother and one of my aunts: Cloud Biscuits, Coleslaw, and Fried Chicken. I hope you enjoy them as much as my family has for decades 😊
2 1/4 cups self-rising flour
1 egg beaten
1 tablespoon sugar
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
1 tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. You will need an ungreased baking sheet.
Combine flour and sugar; mix well. Cut shortening into flour/ sugar mixture with a pastry cutter until mixture resembles meal but don’t overmix! Combine egg and milk and add to the flour mixture stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn on floured surface and knead lightly. Using a biscuit cutter or other circle cutter, cut out dough and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown and done for about 12-15 minutes.
Crispy Fried Chicken
1 1/2 cup flour
1tablespoon garlic salt
1 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
2/3 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup buttermilk or milk
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3 lbs of assorted chicken parts
Wash chicken thoroughly and pat dry.
Mix seasoning mix in a large bowl. You can either dredge the chicken pieces in the bowl by lightly coating it with the seasoning, shaking it off, and gently removing it. Or you can put the seasoning mix in a paper bag, place a few chicken parts into the bag at a time, close it, and shake it a few times and then gently remove the chicken from the bag (I prefer the paper bag method). After lightly coating the chicken in the seasoning, dip in the batter, then right before frying dredge into the seasoning again.
To fry, use either a deep fryer with peanut or canola set at 375 degrees and cook until the chicken’s internal temperature has reached 165 degrees, around 20 minutes. Make sure not to crowd the chicken and only cook a layer at a time.
Or you can deep fry the chicken in a skillet with peanut or canola oil; make sure to keep the oil temperature at around 350 degrees for best results. Again, cook the chicken until the internal temperature is 165 degrees and cook only a few pieces at a time.
While cooking the remaining chicken, rest the cooked chicken on a wire rack so the oil can drain.
Grandmother’s Cole Slaw
1 medium head of cabbage
1/2 large cucumber, cut very fine
1 small onion, cut very fine
1/2 stalk celery, cut very fine
1/2 green pepper, cut very fine
1 small tomato, cut very fine
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup vinegar diluted with water to make 1/2 cup
Cut and shred the head of cabbage and combine with all the other vegetables plus the black pepper, salt, and sugar.
Mix the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the slaw mixture. Mix well. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator 4-6 hours before serving.