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  • Mama Stalks the Past
  • Written by Nora Deloach
  • Format: Paperback | ISBN: 9780553577211
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  • Mama Stalks the Past
  • Written by Nora Deloach
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307794932
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Mama Stalks the Past

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Written by Nora DeloachAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Nora Deloach

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List Price: $6.99

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On Sale: June 15, 2011
Pages: 272 | ISBN: 978-0-307-79493-2
Published by : Bantam Bantam Dell
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

When my mama receives an angry visit from Nat Mixon, she learns some startling news. Nat's mother and Mama's neighbor, spiteful recluse Hannah Mixon, has just died--and left a large parcel of land to Mama! Nat is convinced Mama stole his inheritance, and to save her reputation, Mama's determined to find out why Hannah named her in her will. And when it turns out Hannah was murdered, Mama needs to find more answers. With the help of three notorious local gossips--and me--Mama uncovers a long, bloody history of greed and family betrayal connected to the land Mama's inherited. And unless she discovers the truth about this plot of land, it may become her burial plot....

Excerpt

When I arrived in Otis and walked into Mama's kitchen, I knew instantly that I'd made the right decision.  Mama had done her thing. . . .  The enticing scent of sweet potatoes, cinnamon, nutmeg, eggs, vanilla, and sugar blended enticingly with the hard, cold afternoon air.  I would be easing a blade through a newly-baked pie in less than thirty minutes.

No sooner than I'd hugged Mama and taken off my coat, there were short anxious rings on the doorbell.  Mama, who was filling the coffeepot with filtered water, looked at me.  I could tell from her expression she knew I wasn't in the mood for company.  The next ring was a long sharp siren.  Some moron was leaning on the bell.  I bolted into the foyer and snatched open the door.  Nat Mixon and a woman stormed past me and headed into Mama's kitchen.  When I caught up with them, Nat was squared off in front of Mama, his raisin-colored finger pointing in her astonished face.  "You're a wicked woman, Miss Candi!  A wicked woman who took advantage of my Mama!"

Nat stood six feet tall with broad shoulders.  His wide nose was pierced; a tiny ruby sat on his nostril like a semiprecious booger.  His short hair sprouted like uncut grass.  He was dressed in a pair of jeans and a tan sweater jacket that had holes in each elbow.  He had a thin scar, the result of a fight in which he took a nasty cut from a switchblade; it ran from his left cheek to the base of his neck.  His smell was a mixture of old sweat and cheap cologne.

The woman with him wore what looked like a dark brown wool dashiki over a pair of slacks.  Her hair was finger-sized shoulder-length cornrow braids.  She stood behind Nat rubbing her arm, her eyes glued to Mama's face.

Mama lost her look of surprise.  "Don't you talk to me like that, Nat Mixon," she snapped.  "And take your dirty finger out of my face!"

Nat's hands waved.  He breathed heavily and a muscle twitched beneath the scar on his cheek.  "Sugarcoated words ain't for the likes of you, Miss Candi!  You ain't no good.  And I'm gonna tell the whole town what kind of woman you really are!"

"Nat Mixon," Mama retorted, "I know you're troubled, your mother dying and all, but there's no call for you to spread lies about me!"

Nat glared.  "You ain't gonna get away with what you've done!"

Mama looked as if she couldn't believe what she was hearing, especially in the sanctuary of her own kitchen.  "Boy, what are you talking about?"

"You're nothing but a good-for-nothing thief!"

I feared Mama was going to burst.  "Get out of my house!" she hollered.

Tears welled up in Nat's marble eyes.  His fist clenched.  This time when he spoke, his voice trembled.  "You're gonna pay, Miss Candi, sure as you were born to die, you're gonna pay for taking what my Mama had!"  A curtain was being dragged from the window of Nat's eyes, giving a glimpse into the depths of his bitter disappointment.  Nat had been his mother's only child; his father had been killed.  Hannah Mixon had raised her son to be self-indulgent.  Now, thirty and unmarried, he was irresponsible and known for stumbling in and out of fights, most of which he lost, and now he was losing his fight with Mama.

Mama's voice tempered.  "I never spoke a word to your mother!" she told Nat, more gently.

Veins throbbed at Nat's temples.  His nostrils flared.  There was a crazed look on his face, one that made me decide I'd better do something fast.  I took a gulp of air and cleared my throat.  "Nat," I said, pulling out a can of roach spray from the kitchen cabinet, "you'd better get out of here!"  I positioned the can toward his eyes.  If he tried to hit Mama, I'd spray them . . . a trick I'd learned in a rape defense class in Atlanta.

Nat's finger was shaking in Mama's face again.  If he feared the roach spray, nothing in his threat revealed it.  "My Mama wasn't smart enough to make a will without somebody like you showing her how to do it!  You're gonna be sorry for what you did!"

My finger rested on the spray button.  If he came one step closer . . .

But Mama was unafraid, unshaken.  "Get out of my house this minute, Nat Mixon!" she said.

"You talked Mama into giving you everything--"

Mama's eyes blazed.  "You're accusing me of something that I don't know anything about!"

"Give me back what's mine!"

At that moment, Daddy walked into the room and I began breathing lighter.  "What's going on in here?" he asked, looking at Nat.  "You're talking so loud they can hear you clear across town!"

Veins were popping through Nat's neck like ridges.  "You ain't right, Miss Candi!" he declared hotly.

"Soon as I can make some sense of what Hannah's done, I'll give back whatever you think belongs to you!" Mama shot back.

"You've got everybody in this town fooled, thinking you're so much!"

Daddy, who had swiftly assessed the situation, now planted himself firmly between Nat and Mama.  Mama glanced at Daddy but kept talking to Nat.  "I don't want anything that Hannah left!"

"I'm gonna kill you!" Nat yelled.

That was too much for my father.  He moved closer to Nat and his hands balled into fists.  "Don't you threaten Candi!" he roared at Nat.

Mama looked puzzled now.  I think she couldn't believe what was happening.  My hand tightened on the roach spray.



    
Nora Deloach

About Nora Deloach

Nora Deloach - Mama Stalks the Past
Nora DeLoach is a native of Orlando, Florida, presently living in Decatur, Georgia. She is married, the mother of three children. Her novels include Mama Solves a Murder and Mama Traps a Killer. She is presently working on the fourth book in the Mama series, Mama Finds the Silent Cradle.
Praise

Praise

"Nora DeLoach captures the essence of small town life, turning her delightful mystery novel into an atmospheric mood piece that will leave the audience feeling warm after finishing it--just like a Jessica Fletcher story."
--Midwest Book Review

"Recommended reading!"
--Emerge

"You can almost taste the grits and sweet-potato pie when paging through this brisk and entertaining whodunit."
--Chicago Tribune

"Grace Covington--dubbed the African-American Miss Marple--puts her cooking and her sleuthing skills together with good results."
--The San Diego Union-Tribune

  • Mama Stalks the Past by Nora Deloach
  • October 06, 1998
  • Fiction - Mystery & Detective
  • Bantam
  • $7.50
  • 9780553577211

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