Jane Thistle and Phoebe Twigg, the two mismatched friends from Thistle and Twigg, return in Mary Saums' new mystery, Mighty Old Bones. It's a cozy story, with action hero and ghostly overtones.
Although she's only lived in Tullulah, Alabama, for a short time, Jane Thistle inherited land and a forest from her neighbor, Cal Prewitt. Along with the land, she inherited boxes that tell stories of the forest she has come to love. After a terrible storm rips up trees, Jane and Phoebe find a skeleton in the roots of a tree. Since she spent years working on archeological digs, Jane informs the police, and contacts a friend who is an anthropologist. While Jane approaches the situation academically, Phoebe takes a different approach.
With her love of storytelling, Phoebe tells the story to a local journalist, and doesn't realize that she's attracting trouble. Jane had already been mugged leaving the grocery store, losing her purse. Now, Jane's property and the story of her discovery makes the front page.
Saums' latest book is an odd mix of humor, suspense, and ghost story. Odd, because the story seems to work beautifully when it comes to Jane Thistle and her passion for the land. However, at times, Phoebe and her adventures seem to be stuck in just for the sake of comic relief. In fact, one chapter about Phoebe's babysitting seems totally unnecessary. Phoebe is needed to lighten the story, and connect Jane to the town and its past. However, at times, she seems to just be needed as a sidekick.
Despite its flaws, Mighty Old Bones is a beautiful, thoughtful book at times. And, I'll be waiting for the next adventures of Thistle and Twigg.
Mary Saums' website is www.marysaums.com
Mighty Old Bones by Mary Saums. St. Martin's Minotaur, ©2008. ISBN 9780312360641 (hardcover), 288p.