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Publisher's Summary

The governor of North Carolina has appointed Deborah to a judicial seat in the District Court Division. On her weekends, the fledgling judge has been helping an all-woman building crew complete a home for a needy single mother. Her attempts to gain positive P.R. go awry when her niece is found battered and half-naked in the partially completed home, with Deborah's own bloody hammer lying nearby.
Don't miss the other books in the Deborah Knott mystery series.
©1993 Margaret Maron; (P) Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Excellent...a thriller that simply oozes southern charm and atmosphere". (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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S L O W

I look for books about the south and hung in on this story though the end only because I very much like the performer. Character development was just not there and the plot was somewhat ordinary. Skip this one.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 10-09-15

A look inside a southern family

The book is a perceptive, gently satirical look at human behavior during a period of social change besides being a suspenseful mystery. Deborah Knott has survived her first week on the bench as a judge. On the weekend she is helping the local women’s shelter build a new house. As the story progresses she finds her niece Annie Sue bruised and unconscious at the building site, the building inspector dead, the hammer Deborah had been using nearby and her brother, Annie Sue’s father, collapsed nearby in his truck. Turns out he has arsenic poisoning, who did it and why and is there anyone else.

The story is well written, the plot is twisting with lots of suspense and family interaction. Maron provides a surprise ending to the story. The author also packs a social history as well as travelogue information into the story. C. J. Critt does a good job narrating the story.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Debora
  • Concord, CA, United States
  • 07-08-04

Enjoyable

In this second book in the Deborah Knott series, Margaret Maron again paints a charming portrait of southern life as well as giving us a mystery to solve. If you enjoy good story-telling with complex characters, you will enjoy these books. I feel as though I know the people and places after reading the story, and the mystery has enough twists to keep me guessing. I'm looking forward to continuing the series and getting to know Judge Knott and her family and friends even better.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Happy I Discovered This Series!

I purchased my first book of this series because it was on sale. Since then I've purchased two more Debra Knott books. I plan to read the entire series!

The main character, Debra Knott, is a District Judge in North Carolina. She is intelligent, sensible, has a large, interesting family and a wide circle of friends. There are plenty of supporting characters that add interest to the stories.

The mysteries are complex enough to keep me guessing the solution. Debra's work as a judge is fascinating to me. Adult subjects are part of some stories. However, the emphasis is NOT on graphic descriptions of violence or sexual situations.

So far I have found these books to be moderately paced, well plotted, very captivating and entertaining. They are as much about family, friends and North Carolina as they are about the mystery. That makes them very appealing to me.

At the end of this audio book there is an informative, interesting interview with Margaret Maron.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Moire
  • Linden, VA, United States
  • 05-22-05

Creates time and place

As with her other books, the plot is on the thin side, but the text and narration combine perfectly to create "almost" rural North Carolina.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great Southern female lead!

Deborah Knott is a fantastic, independent, smart female character who knows how to balance the realistic with the ideal. She is a master of navigating Southern social mores while remaining doggedly independent. The actual murder plot is not fantastic, but I am hooked on the characters and the world they occupy.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful