When Simone Covington's job as a paralegal in Atlanta gets too hectic, she can always retreat to Mama's house in quiet Otis, South Carolina, where the pace is slower, everybody knows everything about everybody else, and the only thing that keeps on coming at you soul food by the platter. Better watch it with the current crop of same, though, since the coroner marks Simone's arrival by announcing that crabby next-door neighbor Hannah Mixon was helped to the grave by a hearty dose of arsenic. When he finds out that Hannah's left the lion's share of her piddling estate--250 acres' worth--to Candi Covington (though she's never exchanged a word with Mama), Hannah's son Nat storms over to accuse Mama of stealing his inheritance. You'd think the police would get suspicious of Mama, especially after Nat also gets himself a bellyful of arsenic. But they don't; instead, Mama gets poisoned, too. There'll be still more carnage in this low- pressure whodunit--every new suspect who acts suspicious, it seems, gets vindicated by death--before Mama, whose detective work consists of debriefing her gossipy old friends in greater and greater detail about the Mixon family tree, finally unmasks the killer. (Don't blink or you'll miss this nefarious culprit.) Guileless Mama, a veteran of two paperback mysteries, doesn't seem quite ready for hardcover--or prime time.