"Yes, ma'am," "No, ma'am," elbows off the table, and thank you notes, all examples of the good manners that Southern mothers drill into their young. But the characters in these mostly Southern stories by Sarah Shankman know the deeper meaning of the term. Good manners are words and actions that put others at ease; bad manners don't. And bad manners, like bad children, must be punished. A bride left at the altar, as in "All You Need Is Love," is entitled to be in a killer mood for years. And the wife in "Wish You Were Here," both two-timed and targeted for murder by her fat doctor hubbie, can't be blamed for taking matters into her own hands on a steamy July day. Two women, friends since childhood-who could fault the one for harboring a long-festering hate for the other's damning betrayal in the collection's title story? And three deadly tales set in New Orleans, where the silver is always kept both polished and sharpened, are perfect examples of novelist Rita Mae Brown's quip: You can't be truly rude until you understand good manners. These dozen stories, collected here for the first time, will delight the legions of fans of Shankman's Samantha Adams series who've long admired her wit, her colorful characters, her finely honed relish for revenge, and her winning ways with words. This daring daughter of the South reimagines Watergate's Deep Throat, writes a recipe for poisoning a journalist who went one step too far, and devastatingly describes the misery of living beneath a noisy neighbor...and the deadly consequences that that ever-so-rude clomp, clomp, clomping so richly deserves.