Mama Rocks the Empty Cradle

Nora DeLoach, Author
Nora DeLoach, Author Bantam Books $21.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-553-10703-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 208 pages - 978-0-553-57720-4
Open Ebook - 99 pages - 978-0-307-79492-5
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-17358-3
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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. (Dec.)
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