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Designated Daughters | [Margaret Maron]

Designated Daughters

Surrounded by her children, her extended family, and what seems like half of Colleton County, a semi-conscious Rachel breaks weeks of pained silence with snippets of stories as randomly pieced together as a well-worn patchwork quilt. But the Knott family's joy quickly gives way to shock: less than an hour later, Aunt Rachel is found dead in her bed, smothered with a pillow. Who would kill a woman on her deathbed? Was it an act of mercy, or murder?
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Publisher's Summary

When Judge Deborah Knott is summoned to her ailing Aunt Rachel's bedside, she assumes the worst. Thankfully when she arrives at the hospice center she learns that Rachel hasn't passed; in fact, the dying woman is awake. Surrounded by her children, her extended family, and what seems like half of Colleton County, a semi-conscious Rachel breaks weeks of pained silence with snippets of stories as randomly pieced together as a well-worn patchwork quilt. But the Knott family's joy quickly gives way to shock: Less than an hour later, Aunt Rachel is found dead in her bed, smothered with a pillow.

Who would kill a woman on her deathbed? Was it an act of mercy, or murder? As Deborah and her husband, Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant, investigate they cross paths with an unlikely set of suspects: Rachel's longtime minister; her neighbor, the respected local doctor; the friendly single father who often sought her advice; and perhaps the most puzzling party of all, the Designated Daughters, a support group for caregivers that Rachel's own daughter belongs to.

Soon Deborah and Dwight realize that the key to solving this case is hidden in Rachel's mysterious final words. Her mixed-up memories harbored a dark secret - a secret that someone close to them is determined to bury forever.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.


©2014 Margaret Maron (P)2014 Hachette Audio

What the Critics Say

In MWA Grand Master Maron's outstanding 19th mystery featuring judge Deborah Knott of North Carolina's Colleton County (after 2012's The Buzzard Table), Deborah's elderly aunt, Rachel Morton, lies near death in a hospice. Rachel attracts a crowd of friends and relatives as she talks of "babies, fires, and unpaid debts, of someone who beat his wife and of cowbirds and vegetables and broken jars." A distraction allows a killer enough time to slip into Rachel's room and smother her with a pillow, thus ending her ramblings, which apparently concealed deadly secrets. Unraveling those secrets - some 60 years old - is a slow, difficult process with lots of suspects among friends and family. Maron achieves a delicate balance as she explores differences between mistakes, sins, and crimes, and shows that justice is not always arrived at by conventional means. Humor (e.g., Deborah outfoxes an unscrupulous auctioneer) and social issues (e.g., the difficult role of caregivers to the elderly) add to the warmth of a large family with all its foibles, squabbles, and quirks. (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (39 )
5 star
 (12)
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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4.2 (37 )
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1 star
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Story
3.2 (38 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Janet Doniphan, MO, United States 08-23-14
    Janet Doniphan, MO, United States 08-23-14 Member Since 2011

    metoopaso

    HELPFUL VOTES
    121
    ratings
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    347
    14
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    6
    3
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    Story
    "Bewildered by change of narrators ..............."
    What would have made Designated Daughters better?

    Go back to original narrator.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Too put off by narrator to have a favorite.


    What didn’t you like about Margaret Maron’s performance?

    I identified with the characters in the other narrators voice. I felt sort of lost listening to this narrator ,I never felt like I was drawn into the story I was too busy trying to figure out who was who in the story.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The story was good and the narrator's voice wasn't a bad voice , but I have come to identify the other narrator with Debra Knot .


    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denise 09-05-14
    Denise 09-05-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    "Bring back CJ Critt!"
    Would you try another book from Margaret Maron and/or Margaret Maron?

    If the author insists on narrating again, NO. i've listened to every previous book. they were all very enjoyable. why change from a very good narrator to the author? i couldn't get past the first couple of chapters.


    If you’ve listened to books by Margaret Maron before, how does this one compare?

    i'm sure the book is fine, but i can't get past the sub-par narration.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    She doesn't set the scene or know how to delineate characters. good narrators give a performance -- she gave a one-note reading.


    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A 08-13-14
    A 08-13-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
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    47
    2
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    "Bring back narrator CJ Critt to re-narrate!!!"
    Would you try another book from Margaret Maron and/or Margaret Maron?

    I have listened to all of the Deborah Knott series. Love the stories with narrator CJ Critt. CJ makes the characters come to life. We know all the characters by CJ's voice interpretation .


    Would you be willing to try another book from Margaret Maron? Why or why not?

    Yes, as long as CJ narrates.


    What didn’t you like about Margaret Maron’s performance?

    Nothing at all. Flat and unbelievable could not listen to whole story. Margaret Maron writes a heck of a suspense novel. However, she is not a narrator - she just reads story; where as CJ Critt "performs" the story with different intonations for each character. I'm very disappointed with this lack luster performance.


    Could you see Designated Daughters being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Can't get beyond the awful narration, it's clouding my judgement. I'm extremely disappointed.


    Any additional comments?

    Please, bring CJ Critt back. CJ is the true voice of Judge Deborah Knott. Margaret Maron please continue the series. Just stay in your " lane" as a great writer and allow the well trained performers (CJ) to continue on the path of flawless narration. "If it ain't broke don't fix it"!!!

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nan Montgomery, AL, United States 08-28-14
    Nan Montgomery, AL, United States 08-28-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    5
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    "Designated Daughters"
    What did you love best about Designated Daughters?

    The same as I have loved in all the Deborah Knott books-the story and the character development. Margaret Maron tells a wonderfully interesting story.


    What other book might you compare Designated Daughters to and why?

    All of the other Deborah Knott books. Why? Same as above-story and character development.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Margaret Maron?

    I have mixed emotions. I was disappointed when I learned C.J. Critt wasn't the reader, but I did enjoy the story as told by Ms. Maron. That being said, I have listened to the entire series - more than once - and C.J. Critt has become the voice of the characters, almost like an old friend. Although I enjoyed the book, and I think Ms. Maron is a good reader, I really missed the familiar voices.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Find books so much better than movies, just don't see how any movie could do this series justice.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    elzie 08-19-14
    elzie 08-19-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "True North Carolina accent"
    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    This story hits home with me as I am currently one of "the daughters" - caring for my parents (87 & 92), I can truly say Ms Maron captures the experience and all the emotions- this is a wonderful addition to the series.


    What about Margaret Maron’s performance did you like?

    Margaret Maron narrates for the 1st time. The stye here is more straight reading rather than performance, but I appreciate hearing a true North Carolina voice. Her soft tones and cadence brings a different dimension. This is old time story telling - I feel like I'm sitting outside of the tobacco barn listening to my mom & her brothers and sisters talking.


    Any additional comments?

    Wonderful story

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Byerly 08-12-14
    M. Byerly 08-12-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Why the change in narration?"

    I'm reviewing only the narration. I truly enjoy Ms. Maron's books and have listened to this entire series. For me personally, I was unable to appreciate the change in narrators this late in the game. CJ Critt has done an excellent job on the series and "is" Deborah Knott in my mind. Ms. Maron, although a wonderful author, does not have the experience in narrating and I am disappointed in this change. She does not sound like a woman of Deborah's age or from that region.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 10-08-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    9
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    "Margaret Maron should not read her own books"
    Would you listen to Designated Daughters again? Why?

    I listen because I love the characters and story. I cringe because the narration is awful. Margaret Maron does herself no favors by reading the story herself. all the characters C.J. Critt created are lost in the monotone of Ms Marons narration.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Get C.J. Critt back


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michele Brooks 08-20-14 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enjoyable story with poor narration"
    What did you like best about Designated Daughters? What did you like least?

    I enjoy the Deborah Knott series, especially the stories about her rural life and family.

    I did not enjoy the narration at all.


    How could the performance have been better?

    A different narrator


    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mat 09-25-14
    Mat 09-25-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Pretty good book."
    Would you try another book from Margaret Maron and/or Margaret Maron?

    Margaret Maron writes great books! They are very entertaining! However, Ms. Maron should stick to what she does best, and that is Write!! Let the narration go to the professionals, who are so much better at it than she is!! Her narration darned near put me to sleep a number of time, not a good thing when driving 80,000 pounds down the highway!!


    Would you be willing to try another one of Margaret Maron’s performances?

    I love all of her books, so long as they are narrated by C.J. Critt, who is the ultimate professional narrator!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrea Charleston, Seychelles 09-24-14
    Andrea Charleston, Seychelles 09-24-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    1
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    "Please bring back CJ Critt."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The narrator... I have listened to the Deborah Knott series by Margaret Maron for several years. I found the narrator, while a wonderful author, to be very distracting to the story for me. Her voice does not fit the character of Deborah at all.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Margaret Maron’s performances?

    Not likely unless it is narrated by CK Critt, who I identify with as Deborah Knott.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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