For those of you who aren’t familiar with me, I’m Sarah Booth Delaney’s partner in the Delaney Detective Agency in Zinnia, Mississippi. The partnership is a long and unexpected story, but let’s just say that while I am a true, blue Daddy’s Girl, I carry my own water in solving mysteries.
First, I think a definition of Daddy’s Girl is in order. We’re a certain class of women who are born to get what we want. And we do. We’re trained in the art of making others feel important, which opens the door to our primary goal—getting what we want.
Sarah Booth used to view this as abject manipulation. She actually disdained my skills (she doesn’t know I know this) but through the years, she’s come to view my talents as a true asset. Men willingly do my bidding, and this is often helpful.
Case in point—in the upcoming BONEFIRE OF THE VANITIES, I charm some important information from some guards at a gated compound. They tell me what I need to know without even realizing their eyes have glazed over and their lips are moving.
Sarah Booth’s tactic would have been to demand information, which would have resulted in, you guessed it, NO information. The art of the DG is to position men in a place where they want to help, not have to. A distinction that any true born daughter of the South should know. I do believe Sarah Booth was birthed in a cabbage patch.
Don’t get me wrong, she’s a great detective, but some days a little sweet talk and building of manly egos would work a lot better than threats.
One of the top priorities of a DG is to marry well. I have accomplished that, which pleases my Daddy to no end. Daddy loves Oscar. Oscar is the son Daddy never had. And I love Oscar, too. Sarah Booth has had an interesting effect on my darling husband. She actually put a little flexibility in his spine so that now he isn’t such a ramrod stiff man.
Daddy owns the bank, and Oscar runs it. They rake in the money, and I spend it. Life doesn’t get much sweeter than that.
And while I’ve had a bit of influence on Sarah Booth, she has had a bigger one on me. For the first time in my life, I view myself as independent of my Daddy and my husband. I am a private investigator, and I am damn smart at it. I think about this every day and it astounds me. For such a long time I was a bauble, at least in my own mind. I was meant to look good on Oscar’s arm at all the functions he attends. I made my Daddy proud with my social accomplishments. I could prepare a huge party in 24-hours, and I could make every guest feel special and necessary to life.
For a long time, that was enough. But then I hired Sarah Booth to check out Hamilton Garrett V—because I thought I might want to have an affair with him. Sarah Booth thought I was an idiot and a woman without any moral compass, I could tell that right off. But she needed the money to save Dahlia House.
And she ended up saving my marriage and my self-respect. Funny how life twists and curls and ends up just right, isn’t it?
So Sarah Booth and I are partners. With each case, I become more and more my own woman, and Sarah Booth yields a tad of her independence to accept that she needs me and Graf and Coleman and Millie—well, the whole Zinnia gang including our four-legged comrades.
I do want to point out one real advantage we fictional characters have over those of you reading the books. (I wouldn’t be a DG if I didn’t note this!) Our creator, Ms. Haines, has survived another birthday. She’s looking a little frazzled around the edges, and it’s going to take more than a day at the spa to fix that. (Can we say Lifestyle Lift?—yes, it’s vanity but dear goodness, why not look your best?) Sarah Booth and I have aged only 1.7 years since we were first created.
Now you tell me who’s smarter? Us or you?
So if any of you happen to read about our latest adventure, which will drop June 19, please take the time to post a review at your local bookstore (they may tape it below the book!) or on Amazon or B&N.
This will be the 12th Sarah Booth Delaney adventure, and we have a backlog of cases to solve, so thank you all for reading about us. And I promise I’ll keep trying to knock the rough edges off Sarah Booth AND keep her from getting herself killed.
Meet the author
Carolyn Haines is the author of the Sarah Booth Delaney Mississippi Delta mysteries, among others. The 12th book in the series, BONEFIRE OF THE VANITIES (Minotaur), will go on sale June 19. Haines has been awarded the Harper Lee Award for Distinguished Writing and the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence. She is a native of Lucedale, Mississippi, and teaches fiction writing at the University of South Alabama in Mobile. She is also an animal activist and cares for a number of animals: equine, feline, and canine and urges everyone to please spay and neuter and adopt from shelters. Visit Carolyn at www.carolynhaines.com
Books are available at retail and online booksellers.