cover image A Plague of Kinfolks: A Kate Mulcay Mystery

A Plague of Kinfolks: A Kate Mulcay Mystery

Celestine Sibley. HarperCollins Publishers, $20 (202pp) ISBN 978-0-06-017704-1

Spirited Kate Mulcay, the Atlanta reporter and columnist seen last in Dire Happenings at Scratch Ankle, returns for her fourth crime adventure in the series by Atlanta Constitution columnist Sibley. In this sunny caper, the serenity of widowed Kate, who lives among wildflowers in a 150-year-old log cabin, is shattered by the arrival, out of the blue, of Edge Green and his wife, Bambi, in a rusty Chevy towed by a wrecker. Edge, a dead-broke Texan, claims to be a distant cousin of Kate's late husband; Bambi is a whining Tammie Bakker look-alike with a thirst for booze. While Kate, bouncing between resentment and pity, deals with her trashy, inconsiderate kin (Edge wastes a thicket of sweet-smelling vines that Kate has nursed over the years), other, less colorful problems arise. Mr. Renty, a harmless old eccentric, is viciously beaten with a ``battle stick'' (an oak stick used by country women to whack the dirt out of wet clothes), and a neighbor in a subdivision who has just told Kate she's getting divorced is murdered--and Kate finds herself a suspect. As Kate tracks down the killer and figures out what to do with Edge and Bambi, Sibley continues her long-running love affair with Atlanta, its people, traditions and dialect. (Apr.)