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Slow Dollar [Mass Market Paperback]

Margaret Maron
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 1 2003 Deborah Knott Mysteries
A moonlit autumn night brings out half the county to fill the Tilt-O-Whirl with squealing riders and the dirt around Polly's Pitch Plate with losers' quarters. But in an air nostalgically sweet with caramel apple and spun sugar, one crooked game ends with a brutal death ... and Judge Deborah Knott will discover more than a body. For beneath the carnival's razzle-dazzle surface swirl dark secrets that Deborah has kept hidden for almost twenty years. Now as family loyalties war with the demands of the law, she must struggle to win a carny's trust-before the killer pins a bull's-eye on yet another victim.

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Slow Dollar + Death's Half Acre
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Product Description

From Amazon

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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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5.0 out of 5 stars Better and Better Jan. 20 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the few mystery series going today that, even with this, the 9th entry, just keeps getting better. There has been only one book (Killer Market) in this series that I found to be even a bit lacking and that is quite unusual in a series that has gone on this long. In this episode, Judge Deborah Knott goes to the local carnival with her friends and discovers a dead body. As she works to solve the murder with her friend Dwight, we are exposed to more of her large family, but it really never gets confusing. Maron manages to make it clear who belongs to whom, even with the added relatives that this tale brings into the picture. The mystery is interesting and hard to solve and, just as importantly, there is progress in Deborah's personal life that is very satisfying to read. I know that Maron's next book is a stand-alone (neither a Knott nor a Harald book...will she ever write more Sigrid Harald books?) but I will definitely buy it. I just hope she returns to North Carolina soon.
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By A Customer
I thought the last several books in the Deborah Knott series were pretty poor. Mechanical plots, dull characters, uninteresting and implausible mystery solutions. In one of them, I intuited the murdered from the beginning because s/he was given too much "air time" when s/he was introduced - a common giveaway for untalented mystery writers. I feared that Maron had run out of ideas and was just churning out books for the money.
Happily, "Slow Dollar" more than restores my faith. As is typical with Maron, the point is less the mystery than the characters. As others have indicated, the new characters in "Slow Dollar" are delightfully drawn and wonderfully real. They add more depth to the incredibly complex relationships within Deborah's family.
And I absolutely, positively LOVED the new relationship with Dwight. Yes, I consider myself to be on a first-name basis with these people; they are that real to me.
Thank you, Margaret Maron, from this grateful reader. You're back on track.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Behind-the-scenes carnival life Dec 14 2002
Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott Series is a delight and this book certainly does not disappoint. In this latest installment, Judge Knott presides at a case where four young men have vandalized a game owned by Tallahassee Ames, who is part owner of a carnival which is playing in town. Very shortly thereafter,Tallahassee's son is killed while Deborah is at the carnival. As she does some investigating, Deborah discovers that she is related to Tally and to her son, Braz. She pursues the investigation while trying to develop a relationship with Tally, a sometimes tricky balancing act. Deborah's large extended family, consisting of 11 older brothers and their families, provides background and several interesting characters for this book. Braz and his step-father had bought up the contents of several storage areas which had been auctioned off, so there were several angry people trying to get their property back who had a motive for killing Braz. The book contains a lot of information about living in and running a carnival, and even contains a glossary of carnival terms. It is nicely paced and even contains a little romance, which should combine to be very pleasing to both old and new Maron fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Judge this one a winner! Nov. 1 2002
Deborah Knott, youngest of twelve children and only daughter of ex-bootlegger Kezzie Knott, is a circuit judge in rural North Carolina. On the bench, she's compassionate but firm; off the bench, she manages to avoid both marriage and speeding tickets -- barely.
A carnival comes to Deborah's own Colleton, County, North Carolina. Deborah and assorted cousins are enjoying the rides when the carnival owner's elder son is found murdered.
Deborah's personal and professional lives are intertwined as she helps her old friend, Sheriff Dwight Bryant, investigate the crime. The mystery is not a whodunit and many readers won't care when the villain is revealed. The strength of the book comes from strong writing, three-dimensional characters and the North Carolina rural setting.
As usual, Deborah's young cousins teeter on the edge of the law while her assorted brothers and sisters-in-law carry on family traditions of southern hospitality. And as Deborah faces re-election, she regrets her checkered history of relationships and considers a surprising proposition from someone close to her.
Slow Dollar evokes an unsentimental but loving picture of the Old South. Like the author, Deborah grew up in North Carolina, lived "up north" and returned home. She respects the heritage of the south while defying its traditions in her own life.

And the series is as warm and delicious as a southern baked biscuit with melted butter -- after you've consumed one, you're eager for the next. The Knott family might try Deborah's patience but they manage to be warm and supportive without degenerating into sentimental syrup. If you're new to the series, read a few of the earlier volumes first -- you'll enjoy this one even more.
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Judge Deborah Knott suspects something odd about the carnival that has come to her small North Carolina town, but she doesn't expect murder. When someone kills a young man associated with the carnival and stuffs his mouth full of quarters, the town shrugs--they weren't local. But Deborah learns of a local connection--and suspects that the death involves more than a simple fight among carnies.
Author Margaret Maron writes convincingly of the carnival life and even more convincingly about small-town North Carolina where family is key, where farming is still a way of life, and where single women and single men continue the eternal dance of attraction and fear. Deborah Knott is an engaging and compelling character. Her large family and their history together (both good and bad) gives her a depth that adds to her appeal.
Maron does a fine job delivering the clues in the midst of the plot. Careful readers will certainly guess the killer before Deborah does, but the characters and story are so interesting that I found myself so involved in the novel that I forgot to try to outguess the author. Maron's approachable style makes SLOW DOLLAR an enjoyable and fast read.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars :)
this is a great book! i'm glad that i discovered margaret maron.
Published on June 22 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars :)
i really like this book! it's great to discover a new mystery author.
Published on June 22 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Deborah Knott is back!
Judge Deborah Knott's complicated and extensive family structure gets even more complex in this, her 9th outing for Maron's compelling tales in North Carolina. Read more
Published on Oct. 29 2002 by L. Quido
5.0 out of 5 stars Pick this one up!!
This book was pure pleasure. Living in NC I like to read regional authors. Maron's best book to date.
Published on Oct. 9 2002 by Mamapuppy
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book in a great series
Judge Deborah Knott, her incredible family and their southern-fried lives are a big part of what makes this series so satisfying to me. Read more
Published on Sept. 10 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best of the series
I have loved Margaret Maron's books for years, and have loved Deborah Knott and her huge family since "Bootlegger's Daughter. Read more
Published on Aug. 25 2002 by Lawrence W. Prichard
5.0 out of 5 stars Judge Knott discovers a long lost relative and murder
When the carnival comes to Dobbs, Deborah has already met the owner. Two drunken fools damaged one of her rides and Deborah was the judge to hear the case. Read more
Published on Aug. 19 2002 by Moe811
5.0 out of 5 stars clever regional mystery
Judge Deborah Knott of Colleton County, North Carolina first meets Tally Ames in the courtroom when the carnival owner presses charges against three local men who damaged one of... Read more
Published on Aug. 17 2002 by Harriet Klausner
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