Enchanted Bones by Carolyn Haines (A Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery Book 20)
English | 2020 | Mystery & Thriller | ePUB | 2.5 MB
A native of Mississippi, Carolyn Haines lives in Southern Alabama on a farm with horses, dogs, and cats. She has been honored with an Alabama State Council on the Arts literary fellowship for her writing, a family with enough idiosyncrasies to give her material for the rest of her life, and a bevy of terrific friends. She is a former photojournalist.
PI Sarah Booth Delaney comes to the rescue in a short mystery set in Zinnia, Mississippi, that will delight fans and new readers alike.A lost little girl is just about the last thing Private Investigator Sarah Booth Delaney expects to see while horseback riding one evening in the woods, and her concern deepens when she reads the note pinned to the girl’s outfit: it says she is cursed, and has consequently been abandoned.Filled with concern for the child, Sarah Booth gets to work tracing her origins. The quest takes her and her partner, Tinkie, to a small nomadic community on the Mississippi River, where the answers to their questions lie. Sarah Booth must tread carefully, however, for danger awaits her there as well.
The child in front of me looked as if she might have stepped right out of that fairy tale. “Hello, baby.” I didn’t have a lot of experience in talking with children, but Sweetie Pie suffered no such lack of confidence. She went right up to the child and licked the tear tracks from her face. The little girl giggled and hugged the dog.
“Where’s your mama?” I asked.
“Ma-ma,” she repeated. But she made no effort to go anywhere.
She didn’t seem afraid of me, so I went to her and picked her up, carrying her in my arms as I searched for her parents. Surely they had to be close. Sweetie Pie took off like lightning, and I thought she’d hit the trail of the parents, but she was back in a flash with my sausage biscuit, which I’d brought for the ride.
The little girl reached for it, and I set her down and gave it to her. She was very hungry, indicating she’d been on her own for a while. I talked to her, asking all the questions I needed answers to, even knowing she couldn’t reply. Somehow, though, I had to find her parents.
While she was busy eating, I called Coleman and explained the situation. “Someone needs to search for the parents,” I said. “They have to be close. The child is well cared for. I’m going to ride back to Dahlia House with her. I want to take her to Doc Sawyer so he can check her out.”
“Is she sick?” Coleman asked.
“I don’t think so, but—hold on a sec.” For the first time I noticed something on her back. When I put her down and turned her around, there was a note. I read it quickly. “Beware this child. She carries a curse and brings misery to all who help her. She belongs in the wild.”
“Coleman, there’s a note pinned to her back.” I read it to him.
“A cursed toddler?” Coleman was as skeptical as I was.
“I’m taking her to Doc. She does have a strange birthmark.” I hadn’t touched it yet because I didn’t know if it was sore or a recent brand of some kind. Best for Doc to check it out. “I’ll let you know what I find.”
“Thanks. I’ll head your way and search for her people.”
The child had finished the biscuit, and I picked her up again and carried her back to the clearing where Reveler waited. She let out an excited cry and struggled to get down. When I released her, she raced toward the horse before I could stop her.
Reveler was a great horse, but he wasn’t used to children rushing up under his legs. But instead of reacting, he stood completely still and lowered his head to nuzzle her. She shrieked with joy and kissed his nose. So much for worrying if she’d be afraid of the horse.
I bridled him, put her up in the English saddle, and climbed on behind her, shifting her so that her legs went around my waist and her arms around my body. Her face was nestled against my torso. I had a roomy jacket and I zipped her inside. She clung to me as if she’d done this her whole life.