Mississippi Books and Writers

April 2003

Note: Prices listed below reflect the publisher's suggested list price. They are subject to change without notice.

Crossed BonesCrossed Bones

By Carolyn Haines

Delacorte Press (Hardcover, $23.95, ISBN: 0385336594)

Publication date: April 2003

Description from Booklist:

Reluctant southern belle and PI Sarah Booth Delaney is hired by Ida Mae Keys to exonerate Scott Hampton, the man who is accused of killing Ida’s husband, blues pianist Ivory Keys. Hampton, a former racist and Ivory’s protege, maintains his innocence, but the murder weapon and some bloodstained cash are found in his possession. Hampton’s offensive attitude and lack of cooperation hinder Sarah Booth, but she perseveres despite the rising racial tension in her rural Mississippi community. Sarah Booth’s life is further complicated by her attraction to Sheriff Coleman Peters, who has just returned to his wife to try to save his marriage. Despite the serious issues addressed in the story, the mood is lightened by the commentary of Sarah’s partner, Tinkie, and the ghost of her great-great-grandmother’s nanny, both of whom believe that Sarah Booth should be wedded and bedded. Sarah Booth is a charming, likable hero, and this fourth installment of her series continues to provide a vivid snapshot of southern life. —Sue O'Brien. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

Some Notes on River CountrySome Notes on River Country

By Eudora Welty

University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $25.00, ISBN: 1578065259; Slipcase limited edition, $100, ISBN: 1578065631)

Publication date: April 2003

Description from the publisher:

“A place that ever was lived in is like a fire that never goes out,” Eudora Welty writes in the opening to her 1944 essay “Some Notes on River Country.”

The University Press of Mississippi has matched that essay, long out of print, with thirty-two duotone pictures by Welty and others to create the new book Some Notes on River Country.

For Welty, the spark of inspiration from Mississippi’s river country Natchez, Grand Gulf, Port Gibson, Vicksburg, the ruins of Windsor, and the ghost town of Rodney fueled much of her fiction and shaped her artistic passion to convey a “sense of place.”

In his afterword, editor Hunter Cole writes, “‘Some Notes on River Country’ documents her discovery of this terrain and of ‘place,’ which Welty came to recognize as the orienting spring of her fiction.”

Originally published in Harper’s Bazaar, this piece evokes both the elemental terrain and notables who traversed it via the river and the Natchez Trace—Aaron Burr, the flatboatman Mike Fink, the villainous Harpe brothers, and John James Audubon, as well as assorted fire-and- brimstone preachers, bandits, planters, and Native Americans.

Taking the reader on an imagined journey through river country, Welty combines the genres of travel narrative, character study, and geographical history to give a grand tour of the region. This brilliant portrait of a place is both elegiac and animated as she shows how much has changed, how much can never be recovered, and how much of the old river country remains in its contemporary incarnation.

In this setting Welty discovered a presence and a sense of place that stimulated her artistic vision.

“Whatever she deemed it to be,” writes Cole, “its pulsating call to Welty never ceased.”

Eudora Welty, one of America’s most acclaimed and honored writers, is the author of many novels and story collections, including The Optimist’s Daughter (Pulitzer Prize), Losing Battles, The Ponder Heart, The Robber Bridegroom, A Curtain of Green, and The Wide Net. Three collections of her photographic work—Photographs, Country Churchyards, and One Time, One Place: Mississippi in the Depression—were published by the University Press of Mississippi.

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