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Last Lessons of Summer Hardcover – Aug 26 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press (Aug. 26 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892967803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892967803
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 14.2 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,945,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover
As a big fan of Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott series, I was really looking forward to reading this stand-alone book. Unfortunately I was disappointed by what I found. The book has the obligatory complex family tree at the beginning and a beleagured heroine in Amy Steadman, the main heiress of her grandmother's fortune. After her grandmother's untimely death, supposedly at the hands of a mysterious intruder, Amy goes to her North Carolina home to clean up her things and sign the papers to sell the house. She becomes reacquainted with family members whom she hasn't seen in years, and discovers that all of them stand to benefit financially from her grandmother's death. She also looks into her mother's suicide which occurred when she was a small child. On top of this, Amy suspects that her husband Eric is having an affair, but actually has nothing to prove it. She flirts with a law officer in North Carolina and keeps putting off her husband's calls, a jarring note to her supposedly decent character. Her half-sister Beth appears on the scene and her character zigs and zags its way thorugh the book in a way that lacks credence. After reading this book, I look forward to the next Deborah Knott story with great anticipation.
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By Beth Dusin on April 29 2004
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book, but I missed Deborah Knott and Mr. Kezzie and the others. I was glad to see Dwight and the FBI man show up but wished they had been more instrumental in the plot. Certainly worth your time, but not as funny as the other books by Ms. Maron.
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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on April 25 2004
Format: Hardcover
I was sorry that the talented Ms. Margaret Maron decided to make this book a mystery rather than a multigenerational family saga. The family part of the story is rich in many dimensions, including intrigue, emotion, improper behavior and a struggle for power. Perhaps the richest and most intriguing dimension is that a major family fortune rests on the slight imagination of one young child.
We enter into the story as a member of the third generation, Ms. Amy Steadman, decides to flee to North Carolina to clean out the home in which her grandmother was recently murdered before agreeing to sell the property. It turns out that not all is smooth in Amy's life, despite her wealth. Amy is suspicious of her husband's lack of interest in her, dislikes her father's philandering, finds her siblings to be awkward to deal with, misses her Mom who committed suicide when Amy was small, and finds her myriad relatives to be confusing in their behavior.
All of this takes a more sinister turn when Amy begins receiving threatening telephone calls . . . and finds herself in danger. What will this sheltered woman do to protect herself and her family? What dark secrets are being hidden?
I found the mystery to have two serious drawbacks. First, this book is way overpopulated with characters who are in Amy's family. Thankfully, Ms. Maron provides a family tree in the beginning. But I couldn't seem to remember who was who because there are so many of them. Do you really want to keep track of 30 plus people in one family? I found most of them to be hard to distinguish in any way that added to the story.
Second, the mystery itself is only marginally mysterious enough to require any thought. I found that the ending was telegraphed in way too many ways . . . and too much too long to develop.
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Format: Hardcover
Margaret Maron has created another great mystery that is NOT based on her wonderful Deborah Knott series.
Amy Steadman is the heir to a toy/childrens book empire left to her by her Grandmother(Francis Barbour.) Amy is an artist and wants nothing to do with the business side of the company. However, since Amy's mother Maxi committed suicide when Amy was only 3 Francis was determined that Amy's father could run the company but the ownership would remain Amy's.
The company business has been run for over 30 years by Amy's father. Now, he is talking of retirement and the step-brothers and half-sister that she's grown up with are showing some resentment for the years of knowing that she was the Heir to the vast empire they all had grown up with.
Amy's recent marriage is having problems and it's only adding to the pressure she's under. Amy doesn't like confrontation so after her Grandmother's murder she's offered a large sum of money to sell the southern home her Grandmother inhabited in the later years of her life with her Grandfather in North Carolina.
Amy decides that she wants some answers not only to the death of Francis but of the secrets behind the suicide of her mother years before. It's the perfect excuse for her to escape her problems and hopefully get some of the answers that everyone has made a point of making her forget over these years. Afraid of sending movers to go through boxes of personal items she heads off to clear the house out herself.
She arrives to a family full of secrets and a murderer still out there and now threatening Amy.
Her half-sister Beth runs away from her own problems with the family and shows up on her doorstep with tales of woe of her own.
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Format: Hardcover
Enjoyed this even more than her Knotts books. Very smooth, with lots of "He/she could have done it". Well, worth giving a try if you've read the author before and certainly a good starter book for future Maron followers.
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