Although this is the second book in this series, it is the first by this author that I have read, and I enjoyed this book immensely. I'm not sure what it was that made it different than other books of this genre, but it was. In this novel, Deborah Knott (who is the only girl in a large family of boys) is sworn in as a judge, her brother is poisoned, her neice is assaulted, and neighborhood dogs are disappearing. We follow her through her days in court as well as her personal life, family life, etc. She is realistic, down-to-earth, and very easy to like. The author does a great job of making Deborah a part of the story without singling her out as the protagonist. It's almost as if all the characters in the book get equal billing, making it all the more believable. The parts I liked best is whenever Deborah has a thought that may or may not be correct or might be a moral dilemma of some kind, there is an argument in her head between two voices--the preacher and the pragmatist--but are not overdone and are usually only a sentence or two. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a series that is light, yet believable, with likable characters.