You can almost smell the cotton candy and hear the barkers inviting you to try your skill at a game of chance in this lively new mystery starring Colleton County, North Carolina, Judge Deborah Knott. Knott's stunned to discover that Brazos Hartley, murdered on the midway at the Harvest Festival carnival, was a member of her family; his mother, Tally Ames, is Deborah's first cousin, born of a shotgun marriage and abandoned as a child by her father, Deborah's brother. Naturally, when there's a second carnival murder, Deborah can't help getting involved in the investigation, even if it means uncovering secrets some of her relatives would just as soon keep confidential. The huge Knott clan, with Deborah at its center, gives Maron a wealth of material (the judge herself is one of 12 siblings!), which she makes the most of with wonderfully drawn characters and a beautifully evoked setting. The next best thing to a summer night at a country carnival, Slow Dollar
is a standout in a series that just keeps getting better. --Jane Adams
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From Publishers Weekly
Step right up! Play a game and win your girl a prize! The carnival's in town and Maron brings to this ninth Judge Deborah Knott mystery (after 2001s Uncommon Clay) the vigor and verve that have served her so well to date. Larceny, both grand and small, as well as death hover over the Ames Amusement Corporations show on its arrival in Colleton County, N.C. Deborah, her irrepressible siblings (she's one of 12, the youngest and the only female) and some newfound kinfolk gather to mourn her great-nephew and carnival worker Brazos Hartley, after the young man is stomped to death, his mouth stuffed with quarters. The rural North Carolina dialogue and "carny" talk are perfect, especially descriptions of food, fashion and enchanting scenery of Indian summer in the South. The author draws family relationships so clearly you feel you could melt right into the crowd for barbecue, biscuits, slaw and cobbler. Before Maron is done, there's a bizarre theft of some tacky paintings, a second murder and a steamy romance. Is Judge Knott finally going to settle down and marry? Maron is one of the most seamless Southern authors since Margaret Mitchell, yet she beautifully writes a series about a New York police detective, Lieut. Sigrid Harald, with equal authority. A Knott family tree and a glossary of carny terms round out a novel that Nero Wolfe would describe as most satisfactory!
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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