Category Archives: Maron, Margaret

Margaret Maron. Designated Daughters. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2014.

daughtersReaders of Margaret Maron’s Deborah Knott series are used to Deborah’s large family, and Maron kindly helps readers to keep them straight by providing a family tree in recent books.  In Designated Daughters, Deborah’s Aunt Rachel briefly takes center stage.

Aunt Rachel has always been an easy going, neighborly person who made friends with many of the people who came to her vegetable stand.  Although never a gossip, Aunt Rachel has been privy to a lot of secrets.  Nearing death, she begins to unburden herself of some of those stories–not in a way her family understands but clearly enough to unnerve at least one listener.  When the family steps away from her room, someone smothers this sweet woman.

The family is both horrified and puzzled.  Even though Deborah has promised Dwight that she will not interfere in the homicide investigation, this is her family.  Deborah begins to match up some of her aunt’s ramblings with the stories of neighbors and kin.  A church man who hit his wife, a house fire that killed a mother and her young daughters, a cowbird egg, a revealing bathing suit–which one of these references would incite someone to murder a woman already in hospice care?  Through Deborah’s investigations, readers learn more about the Knotts family history while Deborah identifies the killer.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Coastal Plain, Maron, Margaret, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Margaret Maron. The Buzzard Table. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2012.

It’s hard to believe that the war on terror has come to Colleton County, but that’s what PAT–Patriots Against Torture–thinks.  Its members believe that the county airport is being used  to fly terrorism suspects out of this country to secret prisons in Europe where they will be tortured.  As this novel opens, Jeremy Harper, a local high school boy in the group who trespassed at the airport, appears in Deborah Knott’s court to answer the charges against him.  Because Jeremy does not have a record, he is given community service time.  He will use his talents as a photographer to document the stories of local veterans.  His activities will be directed by a local minister and Anne Harald, a noted photojournalist who is in town to attend to the needs of her dying mother, local grande dame Mrs. Lattimore.

Anne Harald is the mother of NYPD detective Sigrid Harald, who has also come to Colleton County to be with Mrs. Lattimore.  Even though Mrs. Lattimore is fading fast, she insists that the family entertain a long-lost nephew who is in the area doing research on buzzards.  Against her will, Deborah is roped in to dining with the Lattimore clan.  Deborah has already met the nephew and has been put off by his bad manners and excessive desire for privacy.  Later, when an attractive realtor is murdered and her body dumped near the birder’s research site, Deborah is suspicious, as is Sigrid.

But this is a case for the county sheriff, and Deborah’s husband, sheriff’s deputy Dwight Bryant, suspects that a jealous husband or spurned lover committed the crime.  The murder of a stranger at a local motel sets both Dwight and the reader to ponder whether the two murders are connected.  While Dwight works on the cases, Deborah keeps the home fires burning, cementing her relationship with her stepson Cal.  As the novel ends they are more a family, even as Deborah realizes that there are things about Dwight’s past that she does not–and may never–know.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Coastal Plain, Maron, Margaret, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Margaret Maron. Shooting at Loons. New York: Mysterious Press, 1994.

Judge Deborah Knott leaves her seat in Colleton County and heads to the Outer Banks in this, the third installment in Maron’s popular Deborah Knott series. Filling in for a temporarily incapacitated judge in Carteret County, Deborah is happy to be away from her nosy, trouble-making family and back in Beaufort, NC– home to her cousins, and the site of many happy girlhood summers. However, her nostalgic memories are rudely banished when she finds Andy Bynum, and old family friend, floating murdered in the surf. Deborah isn’t sure who would want to kill the amicable fisherman, but his death hangs like a pall over what was supposed to be her peaceful ocean getaway.

Andy’s death isn’t the only problem. North Carolina’s so-called Crystal Coast is on the brink of war–with increasing levels of tourism, there is continual tension between the High Tiders, who have been fishing the waters for centuries, conservationists, who want to curtail potentially harmful traditional fishing techniques, and developers, who are looking to get the most out of any land they can buy. Andy Bynum, a local and former poacher who unaccountably founded a conservationist organization, was in the center of the conflict. Deborah isn’t sure who killed him, but it’s a fact that many people wanted the stubborn community leader dead. But who pulled the trigger? Knott must carefully navigate a sea of lawyers, judges, greedy developers, tight-lipped locals, and unexpected old friends to find the killer.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

 

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1994, Carteret, Coast, Maron, Margaret, Mystery, Novels in Series

Margaret Maron. Three-Day Town. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2011.

In this latest Deborah Knott mystery, author Margaret Maron leaves the old tobacco fields and new subdivisions of Colleton County for the bright lights and deli food of New York City.  Deborah and Dwight are finally taking a honeymoon, and thanks to Dwight’s sister-in-law they have the use of an apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.  Sightseeing and romance are the big items on the agenda, but Deborah has one small errand to run–delivering a package to the daughter of one of Colleton County’s grand dames.  The intended recipient is out of town when Deborah arrives, but her daughter, NYPD Lieutenant Sigrid Harald, is available to pick it up.

Longtime fans of Margaret Maron will recognize the name Sigrid Harald–she is the main character in Maron’s first mystery series, set in New York and written while Maron herself lived there.  One of the pleasures of this book is watching  Harald and Deborah dance around each other after the statue that Deborah was to deliver is stolen and a man is murdered in her apartment.  While Deborah is a touch defensive about being a Southerner, Sigrid is cool and all-business.  It’s Dwight who has the in with the lieutenant since he is a lawman and knows the procedures to follow when the bodies are found.

Yes, bodies.  A change in the setting is not the only difference between this novel and earlier titles.  The body count is significantly higher than in most of the Deborah Knott novels, and the domestic dramas that were such a large part of the past few novels are barely present.  In place of Deborah’s extended family, this story is populated with moderately successful actors and artists, edgy detectives, a building superintendent who is not what he seems, and an evasive co-op board president.  The delightful “To Hell With Winter” party scene early on captures the romance of city life, along with its sinister undercurrents.  Even with this new setting, Three-Day Town advances the reader’s understanding of Deborah and her world, and will certainly satisfy fans of the series.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Maron, Margaret, Mystery, Novels in Series

Margaret Maron. Christmas Mourning. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2010.

It’s the week before Christmas and Judge Deborah Knott is in good spirits. Her judicial docket appears to be routine and she is looking forward to participating in the holiday activities of the extended Knott clan.  The first anniversary of Deborah’s marriage to sheriff’s deputy Dwight Bryant is just days away.  They are happier than ever, and Dwight’s son, Cal, has started to warm up to Deborah.  Cal is also becoming friends with some of Deborah’s nieces and nephews.

All the youngsters, and most of community, are thrown for a loss when Mallory Johnson, one of the golden girls at West Colleton High, dies in a single car accident.  Mallory was the homecoming queen, a cheerleader, and a fine student.  She also had a reputation as a good girl—someone who resisted the temptations of drinking, drugs, and casual sex.  Mallory’s parents are shocked when they learn that she had alcohol and a drug in her system when she died.  They press the sheriff’s office to investigate the party that Mallory attended before the crash.

As Dwight investigates Mallory and her circle of friends, he finds that Mallory was not quite the girl her parents thought.  Still, Dwight is ambivalent about continuing the investigation.  The department has been trying to a catch meth cooker in the county, and this seems a bigger issue than what Mallory was doing in the hours before her accident.  Soon even the meth investigation becomes a lesser priority when two young men are gunned down outside a trailer out in the county.  The two brothers were from a very different social sphere than the Johnsons, yet Dwight must look for connections between their deaths and Mallory’s when he learns that the younger brother claimed to be Mallory’s boyfriend.

As in so many of the Judge Deborah Knott novels, the present is strongly connected to the past, and the deaths this sad December lead Dwight to reexamine an accident that occurred almost twenty years ago. While Dwight and Deborah piece the puzzle together, they (and the reader) enjoy some of the holiday get-togethers (and a few surprises) that make up the Christmas season in Colleton County.

This is the sixteenth novel in the Judge Deborah Knott series

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Coastal Plain, Maron, Margaret, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Margaret Maron. Sand Sharks. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2009.

A professional conference at Wrightsville Beach sounds like just the thing that Judge Deborah Knotts needs.  While her new husband is in Virginia tying up some loose ends of his previous life, Deborah can relax on the beach and catch up with old friends over long, leisurely dinners. There are the usual professional ambitions and jealousies on display, but none of it bothers Deborah until one of her colleagues is murdered.  The deceased was shark who had sullied his robes with unethical behavior.  Now that he’s dead all the other judges are talking about him, but Deborah’s interest in the crime is greater than most after she learns that one of those unethical acts involved a man who was Deborah’s big mistake from her college years.  But it turns out that there are many people in Wilmington connected to the murdered judge, and the suspect list grows accordingly.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Coast, Maron, Margaret, Mystery, New Hanover, Novels in Series

Margaret Maron. Southern Discomfort. New York : Mysterious Press, 1993.

When she was running for the open district judge position in Colleton County, Deborah Knott commented to a meeting of the local WomanAid group that she wished she could take time out of campaigning to help with their work.  Now that she has been appointed to the seat, the group has come to claim her weekends and she starts working with a group of women building a house for a needy single mom and her kids.  On top of her new duties and the construction project, the new judge also faces violence in her community and in her family.  Before the house is finished, the group’s electrician (who also happens to be Deborah’s niece) is attacked, the accused attacker is found dead, and the girl’s father is poisoned.  This is the second in the series of Judge Deborah Knott mysteries.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1993, Coastal Plain, Maron, Margaret, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Margaret Maron. Bootlegger’s Daughter. New York: Mysterious Press, 1992.

Lawyer Deborah Knott is a modern southern woman, but as the only daughter of a notorious, retired bootlegger, she still has one foot in the traditions of the old south. After one of the local judges is particularly and unnecessarily harsh on one of her partner’s clients, she decides to run for a seat as district judge in Colleton County. The campaign is a hard one, but Deborah is also distracted by her large family and gets tangled up in trying to resolve the 18-year old unsolved murder of a neighbor. The first in the Deborah Knott series of mysteries, Bootlegger’s Daughter also won four of the major mystery awards: the Edgar, Anthony, Agatha, & Macavity Awards.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1992, Coastal Plain, Maron, Margaret, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Margaret Maron. Death’s Half Acre. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2008.

Now that fictional Colleton County is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation, life in the formerly rural community is changing dramatically. New housing developments are springing up adjacent to farms, a strip-mall is proposed, and people are talking about how to slow or limit the growth. With all the change comes conflicts, meaning Judge Deborah Knott’s small claims cases center on chickens in subdivisions and con artist real-estate agents. When a corrupt county commissioner’s apparent-suicide is ruled a murder, people wonder if she was the only dishonest commissioner and Deborah and her sheriff’s deputy husband get involved in the investigation. This is the 14th mystery about Judge Knott and familiar characters from previous books, including Deborah’s “reformed” father, figure large in the plot.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Coastal Plain, Maron, Margaret, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Margaret Maron. Killer Market. New York: Mysterious Press, 1997.

In Killer Market, the fifth installment in the Judge Deborah Knott series, Deborah takes a break from her home in fictional Colleton County and travels to High Point to serve as a substitute judge for a vacationing colleague. Unfortunately, the Judge’s arrival coincides with the start of a giant, week-long furniture event and she is without a hotel reservation. Inconvenience quickly turns into something much worse, however, when she is told that her missing purse has turned up at the scene of a murder and that the victim was killed with her medication. As she begins investigating the crime, Deborah is faced with a variety of quirky characters and two main questions: Who killed the furniture executive? And why did they try to frame the Deborah?

Check this title’s availability in the UNC Library Catalog.

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1997, Guilford, Maron, Margaret, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont