Hot Best Seller

Southern Discomfort

Availability: Ready to download

While participating in the WomenAid project, a program that builds houses for battered and homeless women, Colleton County district judge Deborah Knott finds herself in the middle of a mystery when her niece is assaulted.


Compare

While participating in the WomenAid project, a program that builds houses for battered and homeless women, Colleton County district judge Deborah Knott finds herself in the middle of a mystery when her niece is assaulted.

30 review for Southern Discomfort

  1. 5 out of 5

    C. (Never msg. Just comment! Email if private.)

    I liked “The Bootlegger’s Daughter” in 2016 and but waited on the 1993 sequel, until I recently located a mint condition copy of “Southern Discomfort”. Family colour, town atmosphere, and humour were excellent and brought personal, relatable touches that Margaret Maron surely planned. Friends watching her nephews play baseball, building a house with her smart niece, reminiscing on a moonlight walk with her Dad, being sworn-in as a judge in a roomful of relatives.... makes Deborah a person we kno I liked “The Bootlegger’s Daughter” in 2016 and but waited on the 1993 sequel, until I recently located a mint condition copy of “Southern Discomfort”. Family colour, town atmosphere, and humour were excellent and brought personal, relatable touches that Margaret Maron surely planned. Friends watching her nephews play baseball, building a house with her smart niece, reminiscing on a moonlight walk with her Dad, being sworn-in as a judge in a roomful of relatives.... makes Deborah a person we know and love. I’m not among those who minded the mysteries taking a backseat because the writing was great. Seeing her judge her first week of cases was fascinating and ushered in some suspects. My grade would have topped-out at four stars because sexual assault, even an unsuccessful attack, is more disturbing than killing, by accident or out of rage. I avoid those contents, except to continue a series. The vicious man was murdered with a hammer, easily excused by self-defence but the court needed to process whomever the hero was. His corpse contained poison and Deborah’s brother was crippled by poison. This second crime added perplexity and for a change, it had an understandable motive. What dipped a good novel to three stars is a prologue with an unclear timeline. We observe an unidentified paedophile and it did not come through clearly to me, that it is one of two townspeople who are deceased later. Another sad prologue was the theft of a loved elderly cat! I smacked this novel down to two stars, upon a ludicrous revelation! Would newly-immigrated Asians eat well-known pets out of poverty; in a state abundant in fruit, produce, and charity!? Such horror having nothing to do with any mystery, was intolerable. I will try to forget it! I own nearly all of her novels.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mary Ronan Drew

    Recently, and almost entirely by accident, I've been reading books set in rural Virginia and North Carolina. The best of them are this series of mysteries by Margaret Maron, featuring Judge Deborah Knott, a district judge in fictional Colleton County, North Carolina. The first book in the series, Bootlegger's Daughter, swept the prizes the year it was published (1992), but this second book, Southern Discomfort (1993) is to my mind even better. The plot, development of characters, and layers of s Recently, and almost entirely by accident, I've been reading books set in rural Virginia and North Carolina. The best of them are this series of mysteries by Margaret Maron, featuring Judge Deborah Knott, a district judge in fictional Colleton County, North Carolina. The first book in the series, Bootlegger's Daughter, swept the prizes the year it was published (1992), but this second book, Southern Discomfort (1993) is to my mind even better. The plot, development of characters, and layers of southern charm are all very well done, especially the charm and the local color. And the rural areas around Durham and Chapel Hill are colorful indeed, with not just Deborah's father, the bootlegger, but a county courthouse and the lawyers and judges who work there, tobacco fields, Baptist churches of differing flavors, and the usual large family gatherings. Sibling rivalry continues although Deborah and her brothers (eight of them, if I recall) are grown and some of them married with families and teen-aged children of their own. . . . To read the rest of my review, go to my blog at: http://maryslibrary.typepad.com/my_we...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dennis Fischman

    This book starts out almost cutesy, as Deborah Knott begins to get the hang of being a judge in small-town North Carolina. It moves into family history, and I found a chart of her family tree helped me appreciate the emotional complexities of her clan. http://www.margaretmaron.com/dkfamily... The book ends in much darker territory, where abuse, loyalty, and tragic misunderstanding come together. It's more Southern Gothic than whodunnit. That will disappoint some fans, but it deepens my respect fo This book starts out almost cutesy, as Deborah Knott begins to get the hang of being a judge in small-town North Carolina. It moves into family history, and I found a chart of her family tree helped me appreciate the emotional complexities of her clan. http://www.margaretmaron.com/dkfamily... The book ends in much darker territory, where abuse, loyalty, and tragic misunderstanding come together. It's more Southern Gothic than whodunnit. That will disappoint some fans, but it deepens my respect for the book and the author.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jerry B

    Awesome settings, intriguing dialogue, but light on mystery... If you've read Ms. Maron's 8-book Sigrid Harald series, you might well wonder if this is indeed the same author who has now given us (a coincidence?) 8 more in the Judge Deborah Knott collection. Sigrid is a straight-laced NYC detective whose psyche just starts to unfold by the end of the set. The stories focus on the crime (usually a murder in chapter one) and the police procedures involved in catching the crook. Little is done to r Awesome settings, intriguing dialogue, but light on mystery... If you've read Ms. Maron's 8-book Sigrid Harald series, you might well wonder if this is indeed the same author who has now given us (a coincidence?) 8 more in the Judge Deborah Knott collection. Sigrid is a straight-laced NYC detective whose psyche just starts to unfold by the end of the set. The stories focus on the crime (usually a murder in chapter one) and the police procedures involved in catching the crook. Little is done to reveal the characters, provide setting changes, etc., a technique we've referred to before as "minimalist". Enter Ms. Knott -- in Southern Discomfort, the second book of the set, it's a third of the book before anything really wrong happens. Even then, the crime and the perpetrator are uncovered almost more through circumstance than direct intent. Rather, we have a rich fabric of family relationships, single woman issues, feminist issues, mild religious and race issues -- interwoven with light suspense over what happened and "whodunit". Along the way, we get a sampling of the court cases Knott is hearing as the newest District Court Judge. Here again, much is revealed of her character and philosophy through what she says and thinks while handling her judgments and sentencings. Moreover, many of Maron's readers report finding her descriptions of rural North Carolina as outright travelogues, superior to books written with that intent. We've always thought Maron to be a talented and gifted writer, and her hand is revealed to a tee so far in these two books about Knott. For our taste, a little more plot complexity (actually, maybe intensity is a better word) and a little less "down home" chit chat amongst the family would move these stories to higher class mysteries...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Josephine

    Three stars for a decent cozy mystery, atmospheric enough to take me to North Carolina for a couple of hours but serious enough central issue (spousal abuse, child abuse) to cut the sweetness a bit. ...unfortunately, I have to subtract a star for the egregious sub-plot of the Asian yard man and his children who've been stealing pet dogs and eating them, as they cannot afford supermarket prices. Stopped me cold in the middle of the book! It has nothing to do with the rest of the book, so far as I Three stars for a decent cozy mystery, atmospheric enough to take me to North Carolina for a couple of hours but serious enough central issue (spousal abuse, child abuse) to cut the sweetness a bit. ...unfortunately, I have to subtract a star for the egregious sub-plot of the Asian yard man and his children who've been stealing pet dogs and eating them, as they cannot afford supermarket prices. Stopped me cold in the middle of the book! It has nothing to do with the rest of the book, so far as I can tell. I don't remember the character being mentioned elsewhere. Asian culture is not a significant part of this story or of the first novel in the series, that I recall. Why did Maron feel the need to include it?

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    I agree with Nicole, I need half stars! 3.5 stars. I picked up this series because it came highly recommended to me by a few people whose taste tends to coincide with mine. I enjoyed the setting and the characters, but to me this book was less mystery and more family story than I was was expecting (or maybe in the mood for). Fortunately, the family characters were interesting, I think I was just expecting Deborah to do more investigating, and for the tale to be more gripping. I suspect this is o I agree with Nicole, I need half stars! 3.5 stars. I picked up this series because it came highly recommended to me by a few people whose taste tends to coincide with mine. I enjoyed the setting and the characters, but to me this book was less mystery and more family story than I was was expecting (or maybe in the mood for). Fortunately, the family characters were interesting, I think I was just expecting Deborah to do more investigating, and for the tale to be more gripping. I suspect this is one of those series that grows on you and I anticipate continuing with it in the future. I listened to this as an audiobook and there was a very interesting afterward by the author about her writing process and background that really added to my enjoyment.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Maeve Maddox

    I started this book predisposed to like it, but started bogging down in what I thought was the first chapter but which I noticed afterwards was a prologue. The prologue is written from four points of view: a mocking bird, a woman whose father harbors sexual feelings for her, a trashy wife-beater, and "a thief." Once I was past the prologue, I started to enjoy the story, but then I began noticing aberrations of grammar and usage. Can't help it, but that kind of thing distracts me, breaks the fict I started this book predisposed to like it, but started bogging down in what I thought was the first chapter but which I noticed afterwards was a prologue. The prologue is written from four points of view: a mocking bird, a woman whose father harbors sexual feelings for her, a trashy wife-beater, and "a thief." Once I was past the prologue, I started to enjoy the story, but then I began noticing aberrations of grammar and usage. Can't help it, but that kind of thing distracts me, breaks the fictional dream. I read to the end to see if I'd identified the killer. I'll give it two stars since I did read to the end, but I probably won't look for another book by the same author.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kilian Metcalf

    I like the leisurely way she carries you into her setting before the murder occurs. No rushing, time for everything. Love her huge, extended family. One paragraph in the hospital waiting room had 17 named characters, plus children and cousins. This would be a major flaw in a writer less gifted, but the point she is making is that in an emergency there is a flood of family. The reader is expected to be overwhelmed by the numbers, but also comforted by the support they provide for one of their own I like the leisurely way she carries you into her setting before the murder occurs. No rushing, time for everything. Love her huge, extended family. One paragraph in the hospital waiting room had 17 named characters, plus children and cousins. This would be a major flaw in a writer less gifted, but the point she is making is that in an emergency there is a flood of family. The reader is expected to be overwhelmed by the numbers, but also comforted by the support they provide for one of their own. Highly recommend this author and series.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jasper Oostveen

    I haven't read the first book in Margaret Maron's Judge Deborah Knott series, but I really liked this second book as an entry to the series. There doesn't seem to be any missing backstory, so one can just hop in here. I was intrigued at first to find out how a judge would be involved in a murder investigation (since she is not a police officer or detective), but it all worked well together. The story took some interesting turns which kept me reading through to the end quite fast. Moreover, the c I haven't read the first book in Margaret Maron's Judge Deborah Knott series, but I really liked this second book as an entry to the series. There doesn't seem to be any missing backstory, so one can just hop in here. I was intrigued at first to find out how a judge would be involved in a murder investigation (since she is not a police officer or detective), but it all worked well together. The story took some interesting turns which kept me reading through to the end quite fast. Moreover, the characters, be they family, neighbours or new to town, all have very distinct and realistic personalities. It's almost as if Margaret Maron has actually lived in North or South Carolina (hint hint). As for the negatives, there are some problematic scenes when it comes to legality of the judge's actions. (view spoiler)[I can understand a judge not wanting to drag a local immigrant into court for the entire county to see. However, Deborah Knott was also the only person present at the attempted suicide (from a balcony into a shallow pool) of Paige Byrd, the perpetrator of the crimes, who had also poisoned Deborah's brother. This means Deborah would probably become a suspect of attempted murder or attempted manslaughter, which would lead to a lengthy investigation. However, after this moment the book continues with the resolution as if everything is now clear and everyone can start learning to live with the past events. (hide spoiler)] Aside from that, there is a bit too much focus on the difference between white and black people and the difference between men and women, for my taste at least. I can see it is not the intention of the author to make this problematic, and in fact she tries to de-escalate these issues, but it's hard not to read some generation- and sociogeographically-induced prejudice into this book. Then again, I might just be oversensitive to this, and it didn't bother me that much. The only one of these that I think is not forgivable is the fact that one of the victims is shamed for possibly having led the killer to do what they did. (view spoiler)[Annie Sue is blamed, and blames herself, for leading Paige to poison Annie's father Herman. (hide spoiler)] This is victim shaming of a high level, and I cannot endorse it in any way. If it was only the main character who thought this, I could have written it off as a character flaw, but the reader is led to believe that this is a just way to look at the events from all sides. All in all, Southern Discomfort is a real page-turner. The characters are amazingly diverse and realistic, and the crimes are interesting, as are the suspects and their motives. I liked this book and certainly want to read more of the series.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ferne

    I've had several novels by Margaret Maron on my tbr shelves and I'm not sure why I didn't try one before this time but I'm so glad that I finally decided that her books were next to read. Unfortunately, I am starting with number 2 in the series but it did not deter my appreciation or delight in meeting the lead character of Deborah Knott and it was easily read as a stand-alone. I really enjoyed Margaret Maron's descriptive writing that at times highlighted for me her wonderful sense of humor. Ove I've had several novels by Margaret Maron on my tbr shelves and I'm not sure why I didn't try one before this time but I'm so glad that I finally decided that her books were next to read. Unfortunately, I am starting with number 2 in the series but it did not deter my appreciation or delight in meeting the lead character of Deborah Knott and it was easily read as a stand-alone. I really enjoyed Margaret Maron's descriptive writing that at times highlighted for me her wonderful sense of humor. Over the years I've read many different descriptions of characters described as nerds but this description becomes my favorite as the author’s humor is evident: "The investigator from Environmental Health, an environmental epidemiologist to give him his official title, was named Gordon O'Conner. Thirtyish, going bald early. Despite laid-back sneakers and jeans, there was an edginess about his wiry build that made me think he'd probably been a nerd in grade school. An intelligent nerd with something of a terrier's nervous intensity just before he picks up the rabbit's trail." As the author continued description of the character it also became more evident that her descriptions were more meaningful as she uses items which everyone has familiarity and it heightened visual ease. "He wore rimless round glasses perched on a long thin nose. The lens were thinner than fine crystal and polished to a shining gloss that rivaled the gloss of his bald dome. Behind those glasses, his eyes gleamed like two large black coffee beans; yet, they couldn’t have needed much correction because the lens didn’t distort their appearance any more than ordinary window glass." Two (2) other features of the novel presentation that complemented the storyline very effectively are the chapter titles and at the beginning of each chapter the italicized definitions of building terms (identified by the chapter titles) which are credited on the copyright page to: 6th edition of "Rate Training Manual NAVPERS 10648-F", prepared by the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Department of the Navy. Anyone who has read novels in A Writer's Apprentice Mystery Series by Julia Buckley will especially delight and appreciate the chapter "lead-in" of these italicized sentences. Margaret Maron and Julia Buckley use them very productively. As I continue reading the Deborah Knott Mysteries I look forward to discovery if this feature continues throughout the series. Fingers crossed.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joni

    Audiobook. Narrated by C.J. Critt. There was a lot going on in the story but I enjoy Judge Knott's point of view and observations so much that I can overlook the pedophilia. I would also listen to Critt read the telephone book so she only enhances the story. Audiobook. Narrated by C.J. Critt. There was a lot going on in the story but I enjoy Judge Knott's point of view and observations so much that I can overlook the pedophilia. I would also listen to Critt read the telephone book so she only enhances the story.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    A pretty good mystery that kept me baffled until the very end, and even then I guessed wrong as to the murderer. Also a very leisurely one, with far too many characters and too much extraneous detail, as though the author was more interested in showing the South in general and southern women in particular in a flattering light than she was in furthering the plot. There was far too much description and incident that had nothing to do with the matter at hand. I was reminded of George Saunders's di A pretty good mystery that kept me baffled until the very end, and even then I guessed wrong as to the murderer. Also a very leisurely one, with far too many characters and too much extraneous detail, as though the author was more interested in showing the South in general and southern women in particular in a flattering light than she was in furthering the plot. There was far too much description and incident that had nothing to do with the matter at hand. I was reminded of George Saunders's dictum--"This is a story, not a web-cam."

  13. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    A little light on the mystery (or rather, three mysteries) and a little long on the Southern family ties, but a serviceable story.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    I really enjoyed this book, and I am THOROUGHLY enjoying the series. I stumbled upon it by accident and am very glad I did. I have to say that while the first one only rated 4 stars, I gave the second one a solid 5 stars and am happily looking forward to the rest of the series. First of all, it's set in North Carolina, which is an interesting part of the US. Second, the characters are really well-developed, and continue to evolve. There are enough of them that the world feels very populated, but I really enjoyed this book, and I am THOROUGHLY enjoying the series. I stumbled upon it by accident and am very glad I did. I have to say that while the first one only rated 4 stars, I gave the second one a solid 5 stars and am happily looking forward to the rest of the series. First of all, it's set in North Carolina, which is an interesting part of the US. Second, the characters are really well-developed, and continue to evolve. There are enough of them that the world feels very populated, but not so many that you lose track of who's who. The author has set up a clever longterm arc that I can already see the bones of, and I appreciate it. The mysteries are good so far, and in the 2nd one, I wasn't sure whodunnit until the very end. Maron's descriptions of the land and the people are excellent, and the small-town workings of her setting are fascinating without being cloying. It's probably classified as a "cozy" by virtue of the fact that they're not exceptionally gory or graphic, but they're not soft, either. The first part of the series is clearly somewhat dated (clothing descriptions, etc), but that does not detract from a modern audience's ability to appreciate the stories and the series as a whole.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cooper

    I really really want to like this series. Judge Knott is a great character and enjoy her crazy family. But this mystery left me a little wishful that Ms. Maron had spent as much time on the ending as she did on the beginning. Deborah Knott has just become a district judge and we get a birds eye view of her new life. Now an elected official, Judge Knott is helping a local organization build a house for a single mother and her two kids. And from there, things go terribly wrong. Family emergencies f I really really want to like this series. Judge Knott is a great character and enjoy her crazy family. But this mystery left me a little wishful that Ms. Maron had spent as much time on the ending as she did on the beginning. Deborah Knott has just become a district judge and we get a birds eye view of her new life. Now an elected official, Judge Knott is helping a local organization build a house for a single mother and her two kids. And from there, things go terribly wrong. Family emergencies find themselves intertwined with a murder and Judge Knott has to find the killer to clear her name. This story has a great deal of set up so when, halfway through, the murder happens, there are a slew of suspects. Unfortunately, it felt like Ms. Maron rushed to finish the book. All the sudden the murderer (who was rather obvious) quickly admits to the murder with the rest of the storylines all coming to a nice closure and then end. For all the set up, I felt the ending was a huge let down. Would have loved to see Dwight and Deborah take more time in discovering the killer instead of just having the killer reveal themselves. I'll give Judge Knott another try as I really do like her. Just hope the story is more evenly thought out.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Maurean

    “Southern Discomfort” is also the second installment of a series, following behind “Bootlegger’s Daughter” which won the Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards in 1992. This series centers on Deborah Knott, a former DA and now district judge in Colleton County, North Carolina. In this story, she is making good on a campaign promise to help build houses for battered women, and in doing so Knott discovers who assaulted her teenage niece and killed a randy building inspector inside the unfinis “Southern Discomfort” is also the second installment of a series, following behind “Bootlegger’s Daughter” which won the Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards in 1992. This series centers on Deborah Knott, a former DA and now district judge in Colleton County, North Carolina. In this story, she is making good on a campaign promise to help build houses for battered women, and in doing so Knott discovers who assaulted her teenage niece and killed a randy building inspector inside the unfinished WomenAid house. This book was very character-centered, and you really don’t have much “mystery” until about 1/3 of the way through the story, but Maron is an expert at plot building and she creates the southern atmosphere perfectly so that this reader was captivated from start to finish. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a series that is light, yet believable, with wonderful characters and great atmosphere. I’ll definitely look to read others for myself.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Davidg

    Here are a couple of mysteries. How did four American books by a relatively obscure US writer (at least in the U.K.) end up in the secondhand bookshop of a National Trust stately house? How is a book classified as a mystery when no crime is discovered until halfway through what is a very short book? This is the first of this series of books that I have read (book 1 wasn't in the shop). There are an awful lot of names in the opening chapters, as Judge Knott takes up her new role and you wonder how Here are a couple of mysteries. How did four American books by a relatively obscure US writer (at least in the U.K.) end up in the secondhand bookshop of a National Trust stately house? How is a book classified as a mystery when no crime is discovered until halfway through what is a very short book? This is the first of this series of books that I have read (book 1 wasn't in the shop). There are an awful lot of names in the opening chapters, as Judge Knott takes up her new role and you wonder how many you need to remember and which will be significant when the story eventually gets going. You also wonder who will be the murder victim. (view spoiler)[ As soon as the victim appears, it is obvious as they are the first unpleasant character in the book. So, there is little surprise there. (hide spoiler)] There is no little deduction, no great reveal and little humour. I will move on to the next book some time, but, if that is no improvement, the others may be passed on.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Blaire

    Like the first book in the series, I found the setting to be the strongest part of this book. The weak writing bothered me, though. I think one of the measures of good writing is transparency (the author disappears; think Shakespeare). The protagonist has 2 inner voices: "the preacher" and "the pragmatist" who appear from time to time to give voice to the protagonist's inner dialog. The device is clumsy, unnecessary, and amateurish. The interactions between the characters, including the dialog, Like the first book in the series, I found the setting to be the strongest part of this book. The weak writing bothered me, though. I think one of the measures of good writing is transparency (the author disappears; think Shakespeare). The protagonist has 2 inner voices: "the preacher" and "the pragmatist" who appear from time to time to give voice to the protagonist's inner dialog. The device is clumsy, unnecessary, and amateurish. The interactions between the characters, including the dialog, seem contrived. I can sense Ms. Maron at her desk, laboring over this manuscript. For me, it didn't work.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kari

    I picked up the second book in this series because I was getting ready to go to a conference where the author was a keynote speaker. And I have found a new mystery series to enjoy! Set in the rural piedmont of NC, Judge Deborah Knott is the central character, and I just fell in love with her easy-going style. I like the way the mystery gently unfolds, and the book is really more of a character sketch than a whodunit. Each chapter is marked with an epigraph related to building a home, because the I picked up the second book in this series because I was getting ready to go to a conference where the author was a keynote speaker. And I have found a new mystery series to enjoy! Set in the rural piedmont of NC, Judge Deborah Knott is the central character, and I just fell in love with her easy-going style. I like the way the mystery gently unfolds, and the book is really more of a character sketch than a whodunit. Each chapter is marked with an epigraph related to building a home, because the theme of the book is a group of Women Only who are helping to build a home for a single mother in need. The building inspector is found murdered in the house.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Pickstone

    4.5 stars The characterisation and secondary characters in this series are what I hoped to meet from reading the hype around Lindsay Davis' Marco Didius Falco series, which I found very disappointing and one-dimensional. Maron, on the other hand, is a treasure of a writer, creating delightful people to fill a small town in Carolina with murder and mayhem and with a dry sense of humour permeating throughout! It's the 'down home' chit chat that makes this series special 4.5 stars The characterisation and secondary characters in this series are what I hoped to meet from reading the hype around Lindsay Davis' Marco Didius Falco series, which I found very disappointing and one-dimensional. Maron, on the other hand, is a treasure of a writer, creating delightful people to fill a small town in Carolina with murder and mayhem and with a dry sense of humour permeating throughout! It's the 'down home' chit chat that makes this series special

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mandy Anderson

    this book is light and fluffy, similar to the cat/cooking mysterys but slightly better. clean too. I would read another ( unlike cat/ cook mystery's lol) this book is light and fluffy, similar to the cat/cooking mysterys but slightly better. clean too. I would read another ( unlike cat/ cook mystery's lol)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jimmy Lee

    About fifteen years ago, I picked up "Shooting at Loons" at a used bookstore and found it hysterical. You just don't find many mystery stories that have a high level of humor. Ever since, I've been looking for more Margaret Maron. In this, Deborah Knott (and since I've been living under a rock, I had no idea she's a reoccurring character) has managed to be appointed judge to replace one who has recently died. It's exciting, this new position, as she learns the ropes, and continues to campaign to About fifteen years ago, I picked up "Shooting at Loons" at a used bookstore and found it hysterical. You just don't find many mystery stories that have a high level of humor. Ever since, I've been looking for more Margaret Maron. In this, Deborah Knott (and since I've been living under a rock, I had no idea she's a reoccurring character) has managed to be appointed judge to replace one who has recently died. It's exciting, this new position, as she learns the ropes, and continues to campaign to keep her name on the radar - including help build houses for battered women. Then a friend of her niece is nearly raped at the construction site and the attacker is killed with Deborah's hammer... the same night one of her brothers ends up in the hospital in a coma. Meanwhile local pets keep disappearing. It's exciting stuff, but I have to admit it was a bit tiresome fielding all the players - like an all-star hockey league. I live in the south, so I expected a stereotypical large southern family. But when you add to that your layers of friends, your small town dynamics, your potential criminals, the new criminals you're introduced to in court, your many stresses, and let's not forget the various references to prior book murders - it's hard to know if every single character is there for the long haul, the amusement factor, or a quick drive through. You just want to sit on the porch and fan yourself through a few paragraphs. Fortunately, Deborah offers her humorous personal ruminations about southern habits - and there are quite a few - to keep you going. Amusing.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stef Rozitis

    This one is a bit dated, a bit all over the place (especially the first few chapters) but still very enjoyable. I could have done without the thing about dogs which plays into stereotypes. The prologue sort of gives away some stuff and Maron can't seem to decide whether this is a mystery or a soapie...but it's not too bad in terms of characterisation and especially Deborah Knott being quite powerful and very capable. There's a scene where a DV perpetrator gets sent to gaol which is very satisfyin This one is a bit dated, a bit all over the place (especially the first few chapters) but still very enjoyable. I could have done without the thing about dogs which plays into stereotypes. The prologue sort of gives away some stuff and Maron can't seem to decide whether this is a mystery or a soapie...but it's not too bad in terms of characterisation and especially Deborah Knott being quite powerful and very capable. There's a scene where a DV perpetrator gets sent to gaol which is very satisfying despite the fact that in reality they tend not to show their true colours in court quite so much and are more likely to sweet-talk their way out of trouble. But there's an element of escapism about cosy mysteries so that's forgivable. The stuff about girls' friendships is verging on benign homophobia but I think it's unintentional and maybe the author has some unresolved baggage. The women's collective building houses is cool and I think I will read more of these just hoping for more of that.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Shirley Schwartz

    This is the second book in the Deborah Knott mystery series. In this book we find the bootlegger's daughter being sworn in as a state judge. I really enjoy Margaret Maron's southern mysteries. Not only are the mysteries tricky, but all the Southern mannerisms, names and their culture are included in each book. There is lots happening in Deborah's little town in South Carolina. There is a local lothario who is terrorizing the young girls in the community. There is a charity home being built by th This is the second book in the Deborah Knott mystery series. In this book we find the bootlegger's daughter being sworn in as a state judge. I really enjoy Margaret Maron's southern mysteries. Not only are the mysteries tricky, but all the Southern mannerisms, names and their culture are included in each book. There is lots happening in Deborah's little town in South Carolina. There is a local lothario who is terrorizing the young girls in the community. There is a charity home being built by the women in the town. And some men around town seem to be having heart attacks and strokes more than usual. Deborah manages to straighten all this out with the help of her plentiful family and friends, I listened to this book on audio, and I have to admit it was a good way to enjoy this mystery. The narrator brought all the colourful characters to life. It's like being an in-person observer to life with Deborah.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    Next year it will have been 25 years since this book was published; while in some ways it feels dated (technology, a certain attitude about the roles and responsibilities of the Southern woman), in other ways it feels very current (teenage girls still face all the same issues that the young ladies in this story face, and we're still wrestling with the question of whether we'd be better off if drugs were decriminalized). I had not been impressed with Sand Sharks, a later book in this series, so t Next year it will have been 25 years since this book was published; while in some ways it feels dated (technology, a certain attitude about the roles and responsibilities of the Southern woman), in other ways it feels very current (teenage girls still face all the same issues that the young ladies in this story face, and we're still wrestling with the question of whether we'd be better off if drugs were decriminalized). I had not been impressed with Sand Sharks, a later book in this series, so the quality of the writing of this book was a pleasant surprise. I live in Raleigh, NC, where Margaret Maron is truly beloved, so it's good to see that reputation is at least somewhat deserved. I'm looking forward to reading Bootlegger's Daughter (Deborah Knott #1) and it'll be interesting to see at what point in the series Maron starts phoning it in.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Toller

    Even though Deborah has lost the election, because of her father, she gets appointed as a district court judge. It is at her reception that some people get poisoned with arsenic which leads to a disastrous outcome for some. Deborah gets roped into volunteering her time helping build a woman in aid house for a needy family and while working there with her niece, Annie Sue, she discovers her niece who was almost raped and a dead man. How the mystery gets solved and how it affects one of her brothe Even though Deborah has lost the election, because of her father, she gets appointed as a district court judge. It is at her reception that some people get poisoned with arsenic which leads to a disastrous outcome for some. Deborah gets roped into volunteering her time helping build a woman in aid house for a needy family and while working there with her niece, Annie Sue, she discovers her niece who was almost raped and a dead man. How the mystery gets solved and how it affects one of her brothers makes for a heart-wrenching read. Really enjoyed this book and highly recommend the series. Am going back and reading the ones I have not read and this one explains a lot about Herman that I didn't know before.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Hilary

    Not entirely a surprise ending, but not immediately obvious where the plot’s heading either. Set and written in the early 90’s, reading it now is like a quaint look at life without cellphones, computers and cameras everywhere. I find the depictions of Southern families, church, and societal structures and pressures to be in keeping with what I know to be true. I enjoy that there are words I am not familiar with in this book and the first - not something that occurs very often for me anymore in r Not entirely a surprise ending, but not immediately obvious where the plot’s heading either. Set and written in the early 90’s, reading it now is like a quaint look at life without cellphones, computers and cameras everywhere. I find the depictions of Southern families, church, and societal structures and pressures to be in keeping with what I know to be true. I enjoy that there are words I am not familiar with in this book and the first - not something that occurs very often for me anymore in reading. I also appreciate that Deborah Knott’s character is a good balance between being the only daughter, and unmarried of a strong willed Southern father and being an independent, feminist woman. She reads like a real person, not like a character.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    Reading Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott novels is like stepping back into where I lived and worked for so long. I have known these people, or at least their twins, for all of my life. And I remember when women had to prove themselves better than men doing the same job to have the same level of approbation. The mysteries were challenging, although one plays into stereotypes true when it was written back in 1993. It is easy to see why it was nominated for both the Agatha and Edgar awards. The bonus Reading Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott novels is like stepping back into where I lived and worked for so long. I have known these people, or at least their twins, for all of my life. And I remember when women had to prove themselves better than men doing the same job to have the same level of approbation. The mysteries were challenging, although one plays into stereotypes true when it was written back in 1993. It is easy to see why it was nominated for both the Agatha and Edgar awards. The bonus is the social interactions in this very North Carolina family. So take a trip back to the early 1990s in rural North Carolina. If you like mysteries or good Southern writing, this book might well suit you.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ariadne Christoph

    This book wasn't my favorite. The plot was suspenseful, and the ending a surprise, but unnecessary obscenity cheapened the book and assaulted my brain (I couldn't get it out of my head for awhile, and it left a bad taste in my mouth for this book). Sexual deviancy was necessary to the plot, but it could have been presented more delicately. I don't like my murder mysteries to be that realistic and ugly. I would have stopped reading Maron after this book, but I already had the next book on Audible This book wasn't my favorite. The plot was suspenseful, and the ending a surprise, but unnecessary obscenity cheapened the book and assaulted my brain (I couldn't get it out of my head for awhile, and it left a bad taste in my mouth for this book). Sexual deviancy was necessary to the plot, but it could have been presented more delicately. I don't like my murder mysteries to be that realistic and ugly. I would have stopped reading Maron after this book, but I already had the next book on Audible and ended up listening to it on a long trip. Shooting at Loons is a considerably better story and contains no graphic obscenities.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    I have thoroughly enjoyed this audio version. I did also enjoy the interview at the very end of the book when Margaret Maron discusses her writing and how it began. Despite my having grown up in Pennsylvania, I have resided in the South for over 30 years. I am so close to this particular area of the country, I feel more attuned to some of the things mentioned by the author. The food, the landscape, the people. So far, I have thoroughly enjoyed this series but also intend to check out Margaret's I have thoroughly enjoyed this audio version. I did also enjoy the interview at the very end of the book when Margaret Maron discusses her writing and how it began. Despite my having grown up in Pennsylvania, I have resided in the South for over 30 years. I am so close to this particular area of the country, I feel more attuned to some of the things mentioned by the author. The food, the landscape, the people. So far, I have thoroughly enjoyed this series but also intend to check out Margaret's other series and main character, Sigrid.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...