LSU alumnae Mary H. Manhein and Leah Wood Jewett have teamed together to create their own publishing company, Os Liber Press. The first book of their debut series “Claire Carter, Bone Detective” was just released.
Manhein wrote the first book of the series titled “Claire Carter, Bone Detective: The Mystery of the Bones in the Drainpipe.” The book is available for purchase through osliberpress.com, Amazon, Cottonwood Books in Baton Rouge and Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs.
The story follows a young forensic anthropologist Claire Carter and her young niece/protégé Penelope Charbonnet. Through the series, young readers will learn about the skeleton and how it can be used to learn many things about the person or animal such as age, sex, ancestry, disease and species. Readers will also get an inside look at the variety of people in Louisiana and the beautiful environments in which they live.
Manhein is a forensic anthropologist and former deputy coroner as well as the creator and retired director of the LSU Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services Laboratory. She is no stranger to bones herself — her association with almost all of the human remains cases across Louisiana and the rest of the south gave her the nickname “The Bone Lady.” She used her real-life experience in the industry to create this educational novel.
With a desire to write a children’s novel and the thought of starting her own business, Manhein’s visions became reality after running into former student Jewett at a farmers’ market. After discussing Jewett’s desires to illustrate for a children’s book, the two teamed up to create Os Liber Press and release the Claire Carter series.
Manhein wanted to tell a story not only about a forensic anthropologist, but also a young person with whom kids could identify. She chose Claire’s 11-year-old niece, Penelope, because it’s a great age of learning and discovery for children. She wanted young girls especially to see themselves in Penelope and know that they can be anything they want to be in this world.
Manhein wanted to tell these stories in a way that wasn’t gory or frightening. She carefully chose and used scientific language and created an educational novel for kids ages 8 to 12 — or even older. Parents will also love the book because it blends fun and education on an interesting topic not often taught in schools.
The next novel in the “Claire Carter, Bone Detective” series, entitled “Skull Lake,” will take place in a completely different part of Louisiana. Manhein said she chose the location for multiple reasons. Readers will be able to learn about a new case in a completely new and different environment from the first novel.