by Carolyn Haines
I discovered Carolyn Haines' mystery series when I decided to do my Themed Reading Challenge using books that had the word bone in the title. (That's how I stumbled across Kathy Reich's novels, too)
This series features Sarah Booth Delaney as a private investigator in the Mississippi Delta. There's a good mix of humor, friendship, forbidden love and a satisfying mystery. The characters are human and Southern. I can't say the characters are real, because one reappearing character is a figment of Sarah Booth's imagination.
I have enjoyed reading two from this series - neither one in the correct order. Someday I'm going to start at the beginning, but I don't think it's hindered my enjoyment that I've been hit-and-miss so far. I love the covers on the earlier books with the square in the middle.