Anyone will tell you the restaurant business is one of the hardest in the world. Long hours and lots of physical endurance are required to keep customers happy. And always, always a smile. Folks in Zinnia, Mississippi tell me the town wouldn’t be the same without Millie’s Café, and they prove that every day by walking in the door and eating my home-cooked food.
It’s funny how a person finds her place in a community. I’ve always enjoyed the farmers and planters who come in at seven for coffee and breakfast, and the bankers and businessmen who gather later in the morning. I love the ladies who lunch and then the afternoon teenagers who want a burger and fries or a country fried steak and a milkshake. Lord, those young boys can pack away the calories and never show it. Each part of the day brings new customers and for me, great joy in seeing the people of my town going about their daily routine.
When I became friends with Sarah Booth, back when she first came home to Zinnia, I didn’t predict that she’d be in partnership with Tinkie Bellcase Richmond in a detective agency. I never saw how much I’d love those two women, or how they’d bring so many of my special friends together to find out the truth.
And I never saw how much I’d worry about them. I have to confess, when I look at Tinkie with that little orphan baby she named Libby, going down the street with her credit card about to melt with all those baby clothes she’s buying, I see a heavy price hanging over her head.
What happened is that someone left that baby on Sarah Booth’s doorstep, and Tinkie offered to take care of it until they could find the mother. I’m not saying this was a good or bad decision. No one could have predicted how a carrot-topped baby could insinuate herself into Tinkie’s heart. All I know is that one look at Tinkie’s face whenever she glances down at the baby is enough to tell me trouble is coming down the road at a fast, fast clip.
Something you may not know about Tinkie is that while she is the chief Daddy’s Girl and society queen bee, she’s a lot more than that. She projects a façade of the fashionista—and that woman does love clothes and jewelry—but she has a hole in her life. I don’t even think she knows how much she wants a child, but I can see.
This little abandoned baby has fit perfectly into that hole, and when the mother is found. . .my heart just breaks at the thought.
From what I’ve learned from Sarah Booth, the infant was left on the front porch of Dahlia House in the dead of night. The person who left her rang the bell and didn’t leave until Sarah Booth opened the door and saw the baby.
And a pool of blood.
Since the baby wasn’t bleeding, it makes sense that the person who left her was. If that was the mother, she could be in dire circumstances.
But the one thing I know is that Sarah Booth will turn heaven and earth to find the missing mother. And until she does, little Libby will be loved and provided for. I only hope, for Tinkie’s sake, that Sarah Booth finds the missing mother quickly. And I hope the mother is not injured or hurt. In a perfect world, every baby would have happy, healthy parents to love it. I hope this turns out just like that.
Now the meringue on my coconut cream pies is a perfect shade of brown. Time to pull them out and get on with the lemon pound cakes for today’s lunch menu. Busy is good, and I’m blessed with hungry customers and loyal friends.
If you’re in Zinnia, stop by the café and maybe Tinkie will drop in with that little redheaded love bug and you can judge for yourself. And if you know anything about who her mama might be, please let Sarah Booth know. Before Tinkie gets her big, generous heart broken.
Rock-a-Bye-Bones is the 16th book in the Sarah Booth Delaney mystery series, published by Minotaur Books, May 2016.
Sarah Booth Delaney knows the perfect way to begin recovering from both the recent attack on Scott Hampton’s blues club and her broken heart. She’s going to host a Thanksgiving feast for all of her friends at her ancestral home in Zinnia, Mississippi. But one bitterly cold night with the holiday just around the corner, Sarah Booth awakens to the insistent ring of her doorbell. She opens the door to find a newborn baby in a basket sitting on her front porch. . .and a pool of blood slowly seeping out from the basket. Before she can respond, an engine guns and a dark vehicle takes off.
After the police and a doctor ensure the baby is otherwise safe and healthy, Sarah Booth calls Tinkie Richmond, her partner at the Delaney Detective Agency. They know they need to do everything they can to find the baby’s mother. . .even if they are starting to fall in love with the baby themselves. But as they track the baby’s mother, Sarah Booth soon begins to suspect the woman might have been in danger; in fact, she might have been running for her life. And following in the woman’s footsteps, Sarah Booth might find her own life on the line next.
USA Today bestselling author Carolyn Haines will once again delight readers with the next sparkling Sarah Booth Delaney mystery.
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About the author
Rock-a-Bye Bones is the 16th Sarah Booth Delaney mystery. USA Today bestselling author Carolyn Haines is a native of Mississippi. She’s published over 70 books in a number of genres. She lives on a small farm and runs an animal rescue where she takes care of cats, dogs, and horses. You can learn more about her at www.carolynhaines.com. We invite you to join her newsletter and to follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Rock-a-Bye-Bones. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end May 23, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!
All comments are welcomed.