Living on a plantation in the Mississippi Delta is a dog’s dream come true. I’ve got fields to roam, rabbits to chase (I don’t really want to catch them) and bad guys to snare (I really, really DO want to catch them). I get to ride around in a convertible and eat ice cream cones from the Sweetheart Drive-Inn, but best of all, I go to work with my mistress, Sarah Booth Delaney. Before Sarah Booth saved me, I lived either chained to a plastic barrel or in a pen with fifteen other dogs and had to fight for food. Now, my biggest concern is keeping my friends out of too much trouble.
Most days it’s a horseback ride (I don’t really ride—I run along beside the horse) in the cool of the morning where I can work on keeping my lean, svelt red tic hound figure. Then some home-cooking from Millie’s Café. Millie sends me dishes at Dahlia House that she knows I’ll enjoy. Sarah Booth isn’t much of a cook unless Graf is in town from Hollywood, so it’s up to Millie to make my chicken and dumplings and beef stew.
Around ten or so, Tinkie Bellcase Richmond, a little blonde bottle of nitroglycerin and Sarah Booth’s partner in Delaney Detective Agency, will show up with Chablis, her dustmop dog. Chablis and I are best friends. She weights about four pounds, and I top out at seventy-five, and we romp and run and play and I would never harm a blond-glitzed hair on her head. (She is such a girly dog, though. Glitzed hair, painted toenails, bows—thank goodness Sarah Booth doesn’t make me do that! )
Some days, Harold Erkwell, a local banker, will bring his dog Roscoe over for a play date. Roscoe looks a little like a goat. He’s got this tuft of hair on his chin, and these wild eyes and a bark like maybe he’s smoked a pack too many cigarettes. And man does he love practical jokes! Especially on stuck-up humans. With my own eyes I’ve seen him pee on a prissy woman’s shoe. And he gets away with it.
We call ourselves the Three Dogateers.
Lately, we’ve taken to teasing Pluto, the tubby black cat who moved in last year. Pluto’s pretty smart, but he’s a cat. Thinks he’s better than the dogs. And the people. But he’s okay, for a cat. Most of the time.
Once the day gets started, there’s no telling what Sarah Booth and Tinkie will get into. Maybe chasing bank robbers, or digging up old bones long buried and hidden. Those two can get into more trouble than anyone I know. And I get to help protect them and get them out of the jams they get into.
The latest case they worked involves a Mississippi legend about a woman buried in an unmarked grave and accidentally unearthed by a backhoe in 1969. Some workers were digging field lines on Egypt Plantation and struck the coffin of a beautiful woman in a red dress. She was perfectly preserved in a coffin filled with alcohol with a glass top.
They called her the Lady in Red. And this mysterious woman, who died around 1865 or so (based on scientific calculations, of course) brings a stranger to the Mississippi Delta.
As the old saying goes, when a stranger comes to town, a good story is bound to happen.
Sarah Booth and Tinkie have their hands full, but per usual, it’s up to me and Chablis to save the day. And Pluto helps a little. Mostly he just acts like a know-it-all cat, but he does help. He’s got this maneuver where he jumps on someone’s head and goes for their eyes. Guaranteed to make them scream and shout. Very effective when teamed up with a little doggy nudge or a toothy clamp on the old gun arm. I don’t really like to admit it, but Pluto and I work well together. Throw in Chablis, and we’re sure to win the day.
Stop by for a visit at Dahlia House in the Mississippi Delta, and join us in solving a mystery.
From Carolyn: What’s the funniest scene in a Bones book? Two lucky commenters will win an autographed copy of SMARTY BONES.
You can read more about Sweetie Pie in Smarty Bones, the thirteenth book in the “Sarah Booth Delaney” mystery series. The first book in the series is Them Bones.
Meet the author
Carolyn Haines is the author of the Sarah Booth Delaney Mississippi Delta Mystery series. SMARTY BONES, the 13th book, will be released May 21. She also writes darker Southern tales under the pseudonym R.B.Chesterton. The Darkling was released April 19. More at www.carolynhaines.com or on her Facebook page. In her free time she works to rescue animals and urges everyone to please spay and neuter companion pets.
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