Deloach, Nora 1940-2001 (Nora Frazier)
Deloach, Nora 1940-2001 (Nora Frazier)
Born 1940, in Orlando, FL; died of leukemia, June 19, 2001, in Decatur, GA; married William DeLoach; children: two sons, one daughter. Ethnicity: African American.
Social worker in Hampton, SC; writer.
The Georgia Writer Association created the Nora DeLoach Young Writers Memorial Competition in her honor.
Silas (novel), Holloway House (Los Angeles, CA), 1993.
"MAMA" SERIES; MYSTERIES
Mama Solves a Murder, Holloway House (Los Angeles, CA), 1994.
Mama Traps a Killer, Holloway House (Los Angeles, CA), 1995.
Mama Saves A Victim, Holloway House (Los Angeles, CA), 1997.
Mama Stands Accused, Holloway House (Los Angeles, CA), 1997.
Mama Stalks the Past, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1997.
Mama Rocks the Empty Cradle, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1998.
Mama Pursues Murderous Shadows, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2000.
Mama Cracks a Mask of Innocence, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Author of How to Write and Sell Genre Fiction (nonfiction), 1994.
Born Nora Frazier, Nora DeLoach is the creator of a series of cozies in which the narrator, Simone, tells stories about her "Mama." Simone, a paralegal in Atlanta, Georgia, is the daughter of social worker Grace Covington, called Candi because her complexion resembles the color of candied sweet potatoes. Candi is an amateur sleuth, and like DeLoach herself, a black woman. DeLoach's first books were published by Holloway House, a Los Angeles house that specializes in black fiction, but with her move to Bantam Books, she developed a wider audience.
DeLoach told an interviewer for the Georgia Writers Association: "The ‘Mama’ series emerged out of the chaos of a collision between my menopause and my daughter's adolescence. When the dust cleared, my daughter had become a woman and I, a more tolerant woman. And we were friends. Mysteries, particularly Agatha Christie's, had always been my favorite read. I loved Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. I loved Sherlock Homes and Watson." DeLoach said that the actual inspiration for her character is taken from Pearl S. Buck's novel The Imperial Woman, about a wife and mother who spends her later years satisfying her own needs and wants. Mama is a strong maternal figure who lives in Otis, South Carolina, and who enjoys a dynamic relationship with her daughter. A theme that runs through the stories is the importance of food, which Mama prepares and serves to her family and friends.
Mama Stalks the Past was DeLoach's first hardcover for Bantam. In this story, Mama is willed a large parcel of land by a neighbor she hardly knew, and when it is discovered that Hanna Mixon was poisoned, Mama seeks out the killer before she becomes the accused.
Simone returns home to help her mother after she undergoes surgery for a bunion in Mama Rocks the Empty Cradle. Neighbor Birdie is accused of the kidnapping of her baby by Cricket Childs, who is then found dead. Simone takes on the task of investigating and discovers secrets in the lives of both women. GraceAnne A. DeCandido wrote in Booklist: "The touch is light, the food is rich, and the African American cast is recognizable."
Toby Bromberg reviewed several DeLoach books for Romantic Times Books Reviews Online, including Mama Pursues Murderous Shadows, which Bromberg wrote "is as refreshing as iced tea on a hot, summer day." Bromberg also reviewed DeLoach's last novel, Mama Cracks a Mask of Innocence, describing it as "an exceptionally strong mystery."
DeLoach's writing career and life were cut short by leukemia. She died three weeks after receiving the diagnosis. The Georgia Writers Association, to which she belonged, named a competition for high school students in her honor.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Black Biography, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 2001.
Booklist, October 15, 1997, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Mama Stalks the Past, p. 391; October 15, 1998, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Mama Rocks the Empty Cradle, p. 406.
Publishers Weekly, October 13, 1997, review of Mama Stalks the Past, p. 59; October 12, 1998, review of Mama Rocks the Empty Cradle, p. 61; May 15, 2000, review of Mama Pursues Murderous Shadows, p. 94.
Georgia Writers Association Web site,http://www.georgiawriters.org/ (June 10, 2007), interview.
Romantic Times Book Reviews Online,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (June 10, 2007), Toby Bromberg, reviews of Mama Rocks the Empty Cradle, Mama Pursues Murderous Shadows, and Mama Cracks a Mask of Innocence.
Georgia Writers Association Web site,http://www.georgiawriters.org/ (June 10, 2007).