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Shooting at Loons [Mass Market Paperback]

Margaret Maron
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1 1995 Deborah Knott Mysteries (Book 3)
Judge Knott agrees to fill in for a colleague in Beaufort, North Carolina, a picturesque fishing village replete with a corpse. Before she can find out if the fisherman's death is an accident or murder, Deborah is confronted with some business from her own past--when another murder occurs and a former lover is accused. National ads/media.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

North Carolina Judge Deborah Knott, introduced in the multiple award-winning Bootlegger's Daughter , returns in her third adventure in as many years. Maron constructs a tight mystery, peoples it with an original cast and powerfully evokes her Outer Banks setting, but dry issues of civil law drag at the narrative. Deborah, filling in for an ailing judge at the Carteret County courthouse, stays in her cousin's waterside cottage and, while clamming, finds the body of the president of the Independent Fishers Alliance, shot in the chest. The murder quickly involves her in local conflicts among commercial fishermen, upstate sportsmen, land developers and conservationists. Real estate mogul Linville Pope, with an eye on the half-billion-dollar tourist industry, wants to buy the Neville Fishery property owned by the wife of a local judge. When Pope turns up dead, dressed in the colors of the endangered loon, suspects range from the judge, whose hands might be dirty, to a crusty islander who is--illegally--building a boat on Pope's property. Deborah discovers corpses, reads dull files for clues and falls for a local cop, but she doesn't determine the killer until she's looking down the barrel of a .22 rifle. In this drama, she's more a passive participant than a catalyst.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

District Court Judge Deborah Knott, a native North Carolinian, looks forward to filling in for a sick colleague at the Harker's Island courthouse. But on her first fishing trip after arriving on the island, she discovers the body of an old fisherman known to her since childhood. Without taking much action, Knott learns of a motive for the murder: the victim's opposition to an environmentally damaging development scheme. The down-home prose flows well, spiced by Judge Knott's wit, charm, and extended family as well as by references to the local food and drink. A highly recommended work from the author of Southern Discomfort (LJ 5/1/93).
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Mass Market Paperback
We've noted before, both for this Judge Deborah Knott series (Loons = #3 of 8) and the earlier 8-book Sigrid Harald series, that Maron is a fine writer that can do wonders with anything to which she sets her mind and pen. We would probably rate this and the rest of the set higher were it not billed as a mystery. A murder or two occurs, but it seems nobody is chasing clues or suspecting anybody except in the few moments of idle thought Deborah turns to the subject. Then, all of a sudden, the murderer is revealed all too conveniently at the end of the book.
What we really have with this series is human drama, mostly about the rural life and lifestyles of the wonderful characters Maron gives us from all over North Carolina, this one set on the lovely, albeit anachronistic, Outer Banks. Her dialogue and imagery are quite enjoyable, and she does well in describing the societal conflicts between the old and the young. But it might be better to just take out the mystery rather than do it such poor justice (so to speak). Those used to the Harald series will be particularly upset, for in that set the crime and the procedural detection of the culprit were everything. In fact, we find it hard to believe Maron is winning mystery awards (per se) for the Knott stories. Even the courtroom scenes where we get to watch Knott judge mostly menial cases are pretty dry going. Frankly, Knott could be holding down almost any profession and these stories would still work.
These books will probably satisfy those not wanting or looking for much of a crime and solution motif; but those that are looking for plot complexity will be quite disappointed. We will probably forego the rest of the set as just a little too bland, even though the nice easy reading style will please many who don't care about intrigue, suspense, or procedure in their crime stories. Just be aware...
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4.0 out of 5 stars North Carolina resident enjoys Maron's books July 21 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As a somewhat recent resident of Raleigh (4 1/2 years, though that almost makes me a native), and lifelong mystery lover, I truly enjoy reading Maron's books set throughout North Carolina. I stumbled upon her Deborah Knott series at the library and have devoured the entire series in less than a year. (I rarely dedicate myself to one author or one series.)
But to correct Jerry Bull, this book is set on North Carolina's Crystal Coast, not the Outer Banks. It just so happens that I spent the weekend at the Crystal Coast while reading "Loons" and have spent some time at the Outer Banks -- they are two different areas of the coast.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Author writing in wrong genre. July 29 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you are reading this book for the mystery, Shooting At Loons starts out a little slow and I probably would have returned it to the libary unfinished if Margaret Maron's wonderful characters and descriptions hadn't kept me from putting it aside. She draws great visuals of people, personalities, and places. I never really got into the mystery, but I loved her character relationships. Every character in this book struggled with something that was important to them. If I was reviewing this book as a mainstream instead of a mystery, it would have been at least 4 stars and probably 5.
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By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I really enjoyed finding this author and this book in particular. It was set in an interesting, an unusual setting (at least for us Californians)and was full of general information that displayed an understanding of the subject. The characters were agreeable and disagreeable as appropriate to the plot. The plot itself could have been a bit more well drawn, but overall this was a fun, easy to read diversion. I would recommend it to anyone who is not interested in having nightmares, but is interested in a mystery to solve.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This was my first Deborah, but not my last Jan. 24 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I love to read books that have locations of which I am familar. That is how I came to pick up this read. I am not sorry that I did so. Ms Maron developes her characters so well that the reader cares what happens to them. Granted, her writing is light and easy to finish, however sometimes this escape is what is needed. After reading "Loons", I went on to other books in this series. I have yet to be disappointed in the author's writing.
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