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Bootlegger's Daughter [Mass Market Paperback]

Margaret Maron
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 1 1993
Attorney Deborah Knott is running for district judge in good-old-boy-ruled Colleton County, N.D.

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Product Description

From Amazon

This first novel in Maron's Imperfect series, which won the Edgar Award for best mystery novel in 1993, introduces heroine Deborah Knott, an attorney and the daughter of an infamous North Carolina bootlegger. Known for her knowledge of the region's past and popular with the locals, Deb is asked by 18-year-old Gayle Whitehead to investigate the unsolved murder of her mother Janie, who died when Gayle was an infant. While visiting the owner of the property where Janie's body was found, Deb learns of Janie's more-than-promiscuous past. Piecing together lost clues and buried secrets Deb is introduced to Janie's darker side, but it's not until another murder occurs that she uncovers the truth.

From Publishers Weekly

Maron's ( Past Imperfect ) series launch introduces attorney Deborah Knott, the daughter of an infamous North Carolina bootlegger, in an atmospheric adventure mixing Southern politics and a mysterious killing'unsolved murder' in next sentence . While Deb campaigns for a district court judgeship, 18-year-old Gayle Whitehead asks her to investigate the unsolved murder of her mother, Janie, which took place when Gayle was an infant. The girl wants Deb, who knows the locals of Cotton Grove, to ask around and see if she can find clues the police might have missed. Deb visits Michael Vickery, the gay son of Cotton Grove's retired doctor and owner of the property where Janie's body was found. She discovers long-kept secrets, learning that Janie had a roving eye and that a lesbian friend and her lover had made overtures to Janie a week before the murder.sentence ok?see my revisions yes, fine But not until another death occurs does Deb begin to close in on the truth. Filled with good-ole-boy patter and detailed local color, the story flows smoothly, and if it lacks suspense, Maron's appealing characterizations and her knowing eye for family relationships more than compensate. Mystery Guild alternate; author tour.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A slow starting mystery April 6 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a Deborah Knott mystery, set in the Raleigh-Durham area of NOrth Carolina. Deborah Knott is running for judgeship in Colleton County. She is also solving the mystery of a 20 year old murder of a family member at the same time. During the course of the story she must cope with the usual dirty tricks of a political campaign as well as the uncooperativeness and danger of finding the murderer.
Bootlegger's Daughter will appeal to those readers that like real life locales with a cozy Southern setting. This is despite dealing with issues such as homosexuality, race and politics. There is little gratuitous violence or sex.
The issue that I took with this novel is that it took to the middle of the book to get to the mystery proper. The plot seemed to noodle along. There was not so much as a hint dropped or earnest sleuthing until the middle. It seemed too caught up in local color.
In the novel's favor once the plot started to move it was interesting and finally the hints were dropped. The myriad suspects were not let off the hook until the last chapter or until they were eliminated(i.e. killed off). This kept me up reading the book to the finish.
The book has 3 and 1/2 stars.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Far more development that "Sigrid", classic Maron April 4 2002
Format:Hardcover
I have said on here and elsewhere that Margaret Maron is a fine enough writer to convey just about whatever mood or ideas or setting she wishes. Despite that skill, her eight Sigrid Harald mysteries are a little dry -- skillful plots and good detective work seem to hold one's attention, but the entertainment factor is a little low. All that goes away with the 1992 debut of rural North Carolina's attorney (and judge wannabe) Deborah Knott. From lengthy settings on the farm, gone fishin', even in court, we get a real flavor of the locale and the people appearing herein. And our new leading lady gives us plenty to like as she not only toils to solve an 18-year old murder (shades of Lee Harris' Christine Bennett), but also rails a bit against the local magistrates and decides to run for district judge herself.
The plot is fairly compelling, with a nice prequel to set the stage, and then the mainline occuring two decades later. Before it's all over, two more murders lead to a fairly surprising ending, and one that not everybody may like real well. Along the way we get brief exposés on blacks in the south and gays in bible belt territory (even Deborah seems to have a pretty good stable of verses memorized which she hauls out from time to time). It's clear from the rest of the series that Knott gets her judgeship, and I for one look forward to see how that transition goes. As for "Judging Deborah", a thumbs up so far!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Transplanted English cosy,with Southern setting Dec 18 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Crime novels set in the American South seem in general to have more in common with the traditional English "golden age"novel than with the grittier works of their Yankee counterparts and this is a good illustration
A gentle rather meandering read it is a pleasant rather than engrossing mystery in which Deborah Knott a local Carolina attorney is seeking a judgeship but finds her campaign rather sidelined by the necessity to investigate an ages old mystey,at the request of a young family member.The case uncovers family secrets best kept hidden,in the eyes of many
Deborah is a likeable protagonist and there is a strong sense of the importance and value of close familial ties.The changing face of the South in which attitudes to homosexuality and race are being re-evaluated provide an undercurrent to the development of the plot
I am more in favour of the hardboiled and street wise crime novel but Ms Maron has created an engaging and personable character and a series that is likely to prove to be a quiet pleasure Warmth is not a characteristic one finds regularly in the crime novel but it is present here in abundance,and for that reason alone I will stick with the series and urge lovers of the
"soft boiled"crime novel to give the Deborah Knott a try
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Writerly Southern Mystery April 30 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Although the rest of the series is more typically genre fiction, this book reads at least as much as a Southern novel of place and relationship as it is a murder mystery. I enjoyed Maron's skill in developing three-dimensional characters and evoking a setting so real I could smell the dogwood and barbecue sauce. I didn't mind the slow early pace because I enjoyed the likeable, complicated characters, the window into North Carolina culture and politics, and the plot that simmered enticingly until the heat poured on at the end.
I think the Judge Deborah Knott series in general is readable but uneven. And, if you are looking for a fast-paced mystery thriller, this might not be the right choice. However, this book stands well on its own as an excellent novel, engaging, complex, and beautifully written. It's one of the few mystery novels I've read more than once.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable -- but not exceptional -- mystery Nov. 1 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Margaret Maron's 1992 mystery Bootlegger's Daughter introduces an intelligent and clever sleuth: country lawyer Debrorah Knott. This novel, while starting slowly, becomes a fine "who-done-it" involving the investigation of an eighteen-year-old murder, which someone apparently will go to any lengths (even more murder) to keep secret. Maron does what a writer of her genre should do -- keeps the plot moving, both surprising and satisfying the reader at the end with the inexorability of her final solution. Maron's prose is not great, but it is not awful and cliche-ridden either. The phrase from the Uniform Commercial Code -- "of fair average quality that would pass without exception in the trade" -- comes to mind. Fortunately, her plot and characters are well above average, making this an enjoyable read
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Mrs. Mystery
I really enjoyed this 1st of the Deborah Knott series. I was guessing right up until the end. Margaret Maron had me right there (actually, I am anyway)in rural North... Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Great continuance of the author's southern writing style!
Published on Aug. 13 2002 by Sharon Shires
3.0 out of 5 stars A good start to a promising series.
Margaret Maron is a witty and humorous writer and has done a great job with this first book in the Deborah Knott series. Read more
Published on Dec 11 2001 by "bibliofiend"
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid book, but lacking zest
The character introduced here, Judge Deborah Knott, has been justifiably lauded for being one of the best-developed characters in this kind of mystery fiction. Read more
Published on March 31 2001 by frumiousb
4.0 out of 5 stars SO GREAT BUT ENDED SO SAD!
I truly enjoyed the book until the last two pages. I did not want to put it down when I started reading it. Deborah Knott is ans attorney running for district judge. Read more
Published on Feb. 3 2001 by Mac Blair
5.0 out of 5 stars No wonder this one swept the awards.
Maron transports you to small-town North Carolina and introduces you around to some of the best developed characters in mystery fiction. Read more
Published on Nov. 25 2000 by Christina P. Branson
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great South personified
Being an avid reader, particularly of mysteries/detective stories, I was amazed when I accidentally discovered Margaret Maron, who has been right under my nose here in North... Read more
Published on Aug. 4 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this one!
This is a great book. The author won numerous prizes for this book and I can see why. For Deborah Knott there is a decades old mystery to solve, an election campaign to fight,... Read more
Published on May 26 2000 by Helen
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming, Absolutly wonderful
From a woman that has spent many years in North Carolina, she has the life style set just perfect. I in noway thought this novel was slow. Read more
Published on March 10 1999
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