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Christmas Mourning

A book by Margaret Maron

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Surprising ending, but cut the family connections shorter

  • Dec 27, 2010
I really have liked the Margaret Maron series of mysteries about Judge Deborah Knott with its North Carolina setting. This new one, which has very little to do with Christmas, really,  deals with a series of traffic accidents and murders of young high school people. The ending is one I didn't expect, and which is totally logical. That's one of my criteria for a good mystery.

I like the characters of Deborah and her husband and stepson, but I nearly despair because of the other list of characters. Deb is the youngest of 11 children, and lives near most of her relatives. Her husband Dwight is also local, so his family is involved as well. The nieces and nephews and sister-in-laws and cousin's family names go on and on. The pack of them come to visit Deborah periodically and I absolutely can not keep them straight. A friend had read the book before me and gave me the hint that I didn't NEED to keep them clear to solve the mystery.

Maybe, with all these characters, Maron should have a family tree attached to the front of the book -- or avoid using so many family names in the books.
Surprising ending, but cut the family connections shorter

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January 22, 2011
I enjoyed this review. Kayturr is clearly an experienced reader and knows the proper elements of a good book. We are lucky to have her input.
December 27, 2010
I recently read this book, and certainly agree with you. The story-line was good, but there were too many unneccessary names (of the family memebers, who weren't very important to the plot). Great review!
More Christmas Mourning reviews
review by . November 17, 2010
   I hadn’t read any of Margaret Maron’s books before winning this one on a book review blog. Now I shall be eagerly searching for more, preferably more of the same series, though I’m sure I’d enjoy her other books too. Christmas Mourning is set in rural North Carolina where teenagers text and drive, hunters use illegal lamps to blind deer, and Judge Deborah Knott combines marriage to the local deputy, aunt-hood to a gazillion youngsters, and the baseless accusations …
About the reviewer
Joyce Turrell ()
Ranked #268
I'm a literacy specialist at a large high school. I vegetable and flower garden, have grown kids and two grandchildren. I love to read mysteries. I like seeing what's new on Lunch.
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The death of Mallory Johnson, a popular high school cheerleader, in a suspicious car crash propels Edgar-winner Maron's satisfying 16th Deborah Knott mystery (after 2009's Sand Sharks). While Deborah, a Colleton County, N.C., judge, and her huge clan are preparing for a big North Carolina Christmas, her husband, chief deputy Dwight Bryant, looks into the shooting of two trailer-park brothers. Deborah's countless nieces and nephews pop up frequently, and Deborah, with her realistic and appealing combination of common sense and a sharp ear, pulls clues from the kids' random comments. Mallory's less popular half-brother, her slighted best friend, and all the boys she toyed with are all possible bad guys, though how the one-car accident was orchestrated is a mystery in itself. As usual, interludes with relatives overshadow the investigating, but of course the warm and authentic family relationships are the heart of this evergreen series. (Nov.) (c)
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ISBN-10: 0446555800
ISBN-13: 978-0446555807
Author: Margaret Maron
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

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