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Uncommon Clay [Mass Market Paperback]

Margaret Maron
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 1 2002
In the red clay country of Seagrove, North Carolina, Judge Deborah Knott oversees the distribution of property in the bitter divorce between two members of the Nordan clan, a dynasty of skilled potters long cursed by suicide and scandal. After a gruesome act of violence suddenly strikes the homestead, Judge Knott must stop a killer who will stop at nothing to continue a dark history of family secrets, old sins, and new blood. (July)

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In this eighth book in the Judge Deborah Knott series (after 2000's Storm Track), Maron employs spare, straightforward prose and the languid language of the Carolina Piedmont to spin an exceptionally gripping tale of hate, jealousy and murder. Still smarting from the betrayal of her lover, Kidd Chapin, the redoubtable jurist travels to Randolph County, N.C., in order to settle the equitable distribution of the marital property of a pair of freshly divorced potters, Sandra Kay Nordan and James Lucas Nordan. Before she can finish her legal duties, however, somebody bakes James Lucas in a kiln. Deborah's own sense of loss in the wake of Kidd's rejection helps her empathize with patriarch Amos Nordan's multiple tragedies (another son died two years earlier) as well as a hired woman's grief over her retarded son. Amidst a beautifully evoked flowering spring countryside, Deborah pursues the murderer with her usual keen eye and common sense. If the book fairly swells with passion, a healthy dose of Southern humor keeps things from getting too maudlin. By the time the story reaches its dramatic conclusion, readers will be in mourning, wishing the end hadn't come so soon. Maron's mastery of jurisprudence, her well-researched depiction of the potting world but especially her sensitive portrayal of human relationships raise this novel far above the ordinary run of mysteries. (May 22)all four top mystery awards the Edgar, the Anthony, the Agatha and the Macavity. Maron, who's also the author of the Sigrid Harald series, will be the guest of honor at this year's Malice Domestic Convention.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

The famous Nordan family, who live in an area of North Carolina known for its pottery, is being torn apart by a traumatic and bitter divorce. Judge Deborah Knotts (Storm Track) oversees distribution of the marital property, but her work is interrupted by a tragic death in the family reminiscent of a terrible suicide two years earlier. Heady stuff from a talented author.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars It's ok, but I felt cheated May 9 2004
This book was ok. That's all that can really be said about it. If you have been reading the series and you are really into it, you may have a different feeling. This is the first book of the series that I have read. I do not think it was bad, but I felt cheated. The print is pretty big -- this book should be half its size. I get the feeling that the author ran out of ideas for the series and based a book on research without taking the plot twists as seriously. I really felt cheated by the ending. (I leave you with that to not ruin it.)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Yet April 27 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Except for Storm Track, I've read all of the Deborah Knott series. To me, Uncommon Clay is the best yet! The research and information that Margaret supplied about the NC pottery industry was a bonus to the solid mystery she always provides. I'll be going to Seagrove soon. Too bad I won't be able to find her fictious potteries - I'd love to meet these characters!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good book March 14 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I delayed reading this book, because Killer Market was so bad.
The other Deborah Knott books were good. As I live only 9 miles
from Seagrove I wanted to see if the book was accurate and it
was to my knowledge, except for one little detail and that is
Dorothy and Walter Auman had a son and grandchildren, but they
are not in the pottery business, so this detail is not at all
important. I'm forgetting Killer Market and am going to return
to reading all the Margaret Maron books, right after I go to
Seagrove and buy some more pottery.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Uncommon Margaret Maron Feb. 11 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have been a fan of Margaret Maron's for years. I read all of her first series of books, the Sigrid Harald mysteries. I was at first disappointed when she had made the switch to Deboral Knott and had a hard time liking Deborah as much as Sigrid - maybe with Sigrid, "like" is not the right word, but rather "fascinated by" is better put. I have now, however, come to enjoy this series as much. In this episode, Judge Knott has recently broken with her semi-boyfriend and she is assigned to a divorce settlement case in a neighboring city. One of the divorcing spouses is killed and Deborah steps in to help solve the murder. This is a bit different from the regular Judge Knott mysteries as she does not actively work on finding the culprit, rather she lets people around her gossip, watches peoples'interactions, and puts two and two together. Maron's writing, as usual, is topnotch; the mystery is easy to figure out but the book is still a winner because she always makes the surrondings and people inhabiting the book interesting. Can't wait for the next episode, "Slow Dollar." Keep 'em coming, Ms. Maron!
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5.0 out of 5 stars I found this book to be "uncommonly" good! July 30 2001
Continuing my love affair with the works of Margaret Maron, I returned to her Deborah Knott series and really enjoyed "Uncommon Clay", which is a quick read with an ending that surprised me.
Deb is again on the road, visiting Asheboro this time, and the reader gets the treat of learning more about NC folk crafts...(prior novels have featured furniture), this time with the work of Carolina's folk pottery industry. Some interesting and colorful new characters and friends are added to the story line. The book also continues the saga of Deb's romances, and how badly they go sometimes. In this tale, Deb has two embarrassing scrapes with the down side of relationships. Maron also takes the time to insert a small tidbit about Oscar Nauman, a character from her Sigrid Harald series, in a way that makes the reference seem real and natural.
With its interesting plots, spunky heroine, delightful descriptions of large southern families and friends, and its ability to educate the reader on the life and times of beautiful NC, the Knott series is a fast, entertaining, and well written group of books. Uncommon Clay still leaves me hungry for more!
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