Southern Discomfort by Margaret Maron
A Mystery Guild Alternate Selection
"Excellent . . . a thriller that simply oozes southern charm and atmosphere." - Booklist
With sass and wit, Deborah Knott, formerly a defense attorney in North Carolina's Colleton County, is putting herself firmly on the seat of power - a district judgeship. She's also making good on a campaign promise: helping to build houses for battered women. Here Deborah expects muscle aches, not the near-rape of a young woman and the murder of her attacker. And she... Hardcover edition.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
awesome settings and dialogue, a little light on mystery, May 27, 2002
from Fairview, TN United States
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 right up to the 5-star class! Meanwhile, we're on to #3...