James Covington’s Labrador retriever, Midnight, likes to wander. Lately he’s been wandering away from that part of Otis, South Carolina, where the Covingtons and their friends own substantial landholdings, drink Heineken, and express shock and outrage over the prospect of abortion as a way of ending an unwelcome pregnancy. Where the dog’s been going is over to the other side of town, where the skulls of long-dead infants are buried in shallow graves, just waiting for Midnight to dig them up. Atlanta paralegal Simone Covington, called to her parents’ home to care for her Mama while Candi Covington is recuperating from surgery to remove her bunions, would find Midnight’s discoveries merely disquieting if the violence against babies didn’t have a much more threatening echo in the present. The day after Birdie Smiley walks into the Winn-Dixie toting Cricket Childs’s newborn daughter Morgan, somebody kills Cricket—presumably the same somebody who’s been sending her notes denouncing her as an unfit mother and claiming that “Morgan suppose [sic] to be mine”—and runs off with Morgan, leaving behind a roomful of blood and the rumor that Cricket was blackmailing upright citizens of Otis about their dirty linen. Though she’s supposed to stay off her feet, Mama manages to uncover all the long-buried scandals readers of her hardcover debut (Mama Stalks the Past, 1997) will have come to expect. Apart from ancient family secrets and low-octane detection, fans will be treated to a third constant: mouthwatering soul food on both sides of the tracks.