Mighty Old Bones by Mary Saums ISBN: 9780312360641
Jane Thistle and Phoebe Twigg are as different as two best friends can be. Phoebe has never seen any reason to leave her small Southern hometown, while Jane, the urbane widow of a career military officer, has traveled all over, only recently putting down roots in Tullulah, Alabama.
At times, Tullulah can be a sleepy little town, but no one sleeps through the thunderstorm that knocks down a tree on Jane’s property and uncovers a pile of skeletal remains buried underneath. Jane has some archaeological experience, thanks to all her travels, and knows a few experts. She invites an old friend to come down to Tullulah to have a look and catch up on old times. When tests discount their best theories and point to a far more recent death, Jane and Phoebe find themselves in the midst of some strange happenings.
Thanks for your nice comment. Yes, both Jane and Phoebe are quite 'spirited' though in different ways. I've been wanting to write about women at this stage in life for some time. I love British mysteries but didn't think I could pull off a book set in England. I also wanted to do more of a comic Southern novel than those in my previous series. So, I decided to mix the two. The forest draws Jane to the northwest corner of Alabama where she meets Phoebe, a life-long resident of Tullulah.
Much of the inspiration for the series is the 'Mayberry' quality of most small towns. This was actually also a bit of a compromise, because I wanted to write about an uncut forest also. So, I put Tullulah at the edge of a national forest, and put Jane's large tract of woods that has never been cut next to the national land. Having little of it changed since pre-White man days, it would still contain the special natural and historical places that I, and Jane, love.
I liked this one so much that I went to my local library and found it on the new books shelf. Also picked up the first in series which I've already finished reading. Thistle and Twigg remind me of Anne George's series (sadly now over), with a little bit of Phillip Depoy's supernatural touches. Keep writing, I'm hooked already.
I appreciate that. I sure do miss Anne George and her books. She was such a lovely person. Phillip Depoy is also a favorite. Hmmm...I believe you've hit on two big influences. Thanks - now I know what to say when people ask me whose books mine are like! :)
A couple of other books that have been on my mind a long time are The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter and She Walks These Hills by Sharyn McCrumb. They have a little supernatural in them, a little folklore, and are set in southern mountains. They also have ecological themes, something else I enjoy reading.
As I read the pages again here, I noticed a typo that is really strange. When the big dog jumps on Phoebe today, it says he 'mired' up when he put his paws on her shoulders. Weird. :) It has been a long time since I wrote this part, but I believe it is supposed to say he 'reared.' :) Sorry if that pulled you or the other readers here out of the story. :)
I am requesting the first book of this series from my library, and confess that I am totally hooked into this one. I am a dog person, and despite my best intentions, I am getting to be an older person too! I am identifying with & enjoying the characters and the atmosphere! Thanks for writing such an engaging and transporting tale.
I love dogs too, all kinds. The Westminster dog show is the highlight of the TV year for my husband and I. Jane's dog, Homer, plays a big role in the first book, Thistle & Twigg. In this book, I added another main dog. Don't want to spoil anything for you or those who might read the rest. All I'll say is I had a ball writing it. :)
Unfortunately neither of your books are at my library and I visited the local Barnes & Nobie (as my son dubbed the Noble Fir eons ago at a Christmas tree lot so the name has stuck in our family) and could find neither book on the shelves. I am going to order both books online. And I will be barking about your new series to my fellow mystery & dog lovers, Mary. Thank you so much.
Well, rats. Barnes and Nobie :) has been really good to me with this series. If you go to my website, there's a link to the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association which lists mystery specialty stores around the country. I think I've ordered from all of them, and have always received great service. Isn't it fun to get a book in the mail? :)
Re: Mighty Old Bones (Mystery) TALK WITH THE AUTHOR!
September 26 2008, 7:05 PM
Hi, Nancy -
There's another mystery series I like that has older characters than Jane and Phoebe. It's by Rita Lakin, set in Florida, with a lady named Goldie who recruits her friends in her private investigations. I think the first one is called Retirement is Murder, not sure about that.
Reminds me of Agatha Christie novels- I love it!!!
September 26 2008, 11:15 AM
I have highly enjoyed reading the excerpts this week and definitely plan on purchasing the book as soon as possible. The characters also remind me a bit of those in "Fried Green Tomatoes" in that they feel truely alive - you are an excellent story teller and I hope to read more titles from you soon!
Re: Reminds me of Agatha Christie novels- I love it!!!
September 26 2008, 7:10 PM
Thanks, Kelly! I loved Fried Green Tomatoes, too. Fannie Flagg would do a great job of playing Phoebe if the books were made into a movie. (all fingers and paws in the house crossed) Kathy Bates can do a good eccentric Southerner, too. She was so funny in The Waterboy, my sides hurt.
I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed talking with you all this week. Thanks for letting me participate. Anyone who would like to make any further comment may do so through my website anytime at www. marysaums.com.
One more thing - next week's book, All Fall Down, is the latest from a friend of mine, Simon Wood. He's a terrific guy and an excellent writer. I'm looking forward to reading it!