A debut novel, Texas-set, that pulls out all the stops in the down-home, good ol' boys, southern-fried chicken pantheon. The white hat here isn't the local sheriff but Mrs. Fiona Wooten Weatherford, the richest landowner in Job's Crossing, known to all as Biggie and as grandma to almost 12-year-old J.R., who narrates. Biggie's household consists of J.R.; maid-supercook Willie Mae; and Willie Mae's ex-con husband Rosebud, now gardener-handyman. A recent addition, in the garage apartment, is 50ish Wade Crabtree, who sells burial insurance. It's the explosion of Mr. Crabtree's car, in Biggie's driveway, that signals that all is not well in Job's Crossing. No one is hurt, and Police Chief Travis Trotter is too busy wooing county clerk Jimmie Sue Jarvis (whose fascination for J.R. is the sixth toe on her left foot) to give it much focus. Then Biggie's attention, which should be concentrated on the upcoming Pioneer Days parade, is diverted by a new landfill being dug--in full view of the Wooten cemetery--by the order of Mayor Osbert Gribbons. There are also rumors of digging leases on local farms being sought by outside mining interests. All of that fades temporarily, however, when the mayor dies of poison while eating his favorite angel cake with whipped cream at Mr. Popolus's Owl Cafe, and Biggie resolves to find out who did it and why. Unabashedly folksy, with a parade of mouthwatering meals, y`all accents, and a plot in tatters, but Bell's first outing is also fresh, funny, and loaded with southern charm.