Penumbra (Hardcover)

By Carolyn Haines

Minotaur Books, 9780312351601, 288pp.

Publication Date: April 4, 2006

Other Editions of This Title:
Compact Disc (10/1/2019)
Paperback (9/28/2012)
MP3 CD (8/30/2016)

List Price: 23.95*
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Jade Dupree is a beautician and an undertaker's assistant with a gift for smoothing the ravages of death from the faces of her clientele. But her strange talent isn't the only thing that sets her apart from the townspeople of tiny Drexel, Mississippi. 

Jade is half-black and the unacknowledged bastard daughter of Drexel's "first lady," the imperious Lucille Longier. Jade's half sister, the pale, fragile, and legitimate Marlena, is married to Lucas Bramlett, the wealthiest man in the region. While the entire town knows of the blood bond between the two women, no one dares speak the truth out loud.

Though her talents as a hairdresser are highly sought after by Drexel's elite, Jade accepts that she'll never truly be part of the town and lives her life the best she can. But on one hot summer day in 1952, Jade's world is turned inside out when Marlena, on a tryst with her lover, is savagely beaten and her young daughter kidnapped. Determined to find her niece before it's too late, Jade accepts help from a white sheriff's deputy, Frank Kimble. The forbidden attraction that ignites between them threatens to add to the violence already brewing in town.

Carolyn Haines has written several acclaimed mysteries, but here she mines much darker, more serious territory, resulting in a suspenseful, lyrical, passionate, and literary crime novel.

About the Author

Carolyn Haines was born and raised in Mississippi. The author of the Sarah Booth Delaney mysteries and several other novels, she lives in Alabama, where she writes, teaches, and tends to her horses. Visit her Web site at

Praise For Penumbra

Praise for Carolyn Haines Library Journal named Penumbra one of its Best Mysteries of 2006.
"Haines's sentences neatly and exactly delineate passionate emotions and richly drawn characters."
--Rocky Mountain News on Judas Burning
"Like the heat of a Deep South summer, Ms. Haines's novel has an undeniable intensity; it's impossible to shake its brooding atmosphere."
--The New York Times Book Review on Judas Burning
"Clever and impressive."
--Publishers Weekly on Hallowed Bones
"A writer of exceptional talent."
--Milwaukee Journal on Them Bones
"Wickedly funny. Devilishly clever. Scintillatingly Southern. Carolyn Haines is an author to die for."
--Carolyn Hart, author of April Fool Dead
"The past rises up and grabs the present by the throat in this riveting look into a small town's dark heart. Fans of Haines's Bones series will welcome this latest novel's haunted characters and driving narrative."
--Julia Spencer-Fleming, Edgar finalist and author of To Darkness and to Death