There's lots of Southern honesty and grit on display in Nora DeLoach's latest book about Atlanta-based paralegal Simone Covington and her mother, a social worker in Otis, South Carolina, who can't help getting involved in murders. Mama Candi (named for her golden complexion, like candied yams) might appear to be cozy and comfortable on the surface--ready to whip up a splendid meal or quiet a crying child at a moment's notice--but underneath she's as tough and sharp-edged in her own way as her urban daughter.
"She was a tall girl whose head strutted two sets of weave," says Simone about Cricket Childs. Mama Candi elaborates: "Her complexion was mocha and her green dress fit her body like a wet suit. Cricket had a good figure except for a narrow behind that stuck out like a wad of chewing gum." Mama might have been somewhat less acerbic in her description, especially after Cricket is found dead and her baby girl missing. But both the Covington women are tough and shrewd survivors of a society that tries to force women, particularly African Americans, into molds. Other adventures of the Covington women include Mama Stalks the Past, Mama Traps a Killer, Mama Saves a Victim, and Mama Stands Accused. --Dick Adler
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From Publishers Weekly
Atlanta paralegal Simone Covington returns home to Otis, S.C., to aid her worldly-wise mother, a caseworker for the Department of Social Services, after a bunion operation. As in earlier books in the series (Mama Stalks the Past, 1997, etc.), Simone ends up helping her Mama solve a murder. Daughter and mother are puzzled when an addle-brained woman turns up in a grocery store with another woman's baby. But isn't the mother, Cricket, a bit harsh when she threatens to kill Birdie if the woman touches her child again? Although Simone remembers Cricket as a foul-mouthed, party-loving person, Mama contends that she is suitably maternal. When Cricket is killed and baby Morgan goes missing, the town gossips come out in force. As they've done since Simone's childhood, Mama and daughter set out to find the culprit, collecting and dissecting hearsay and innuendo. Meanwhile, Simone's father's dog begins presenting him with infants' skulls. Alarmed at what might be in store for Morgan, the two women must tangle with a malevolent mysogynist, climb Birdie's family tree and finally wade through the secrets of an old cemetery before they can find the killer and retrieve the infant. DeLoach continues to show considerable strength in her warm characterization of Mama and her clan. She is less adept at managing her convoluted plot, though she deserves considerable credit for again demonstrating that the conventions of the English cozy can be transplanted successfully to the African American South.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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