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Up Jumps the Devil [Hardcover]

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

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Book Description

June 28 2002 A Judge Deborah Knott mystery
Judge Deborah Knott should have known better than to take a casserole to a neighbour's house of sorrow. Yes, she owed something to his memory when she heard he'd been killed, but she should have realized that his big-haired, chain-smoking widow wasn't as innocent as she pretended. Yet paying a condolence call on a murderer is only the least of the young judge's problems in this the fourth of Margaret Maron's award winning series. Another neighbour is killed almost immediately and this time, no one knows why. Is it because his farm has quadrupled in value? Is it his collection of old classic cars? Or has he fatally jerked a killer's chain one time too many? In the meantime, skeletons keep dropping out of Deborah's own closet every time she opens the door. A past lover shows up to the bemusement of her present lover, her brother seems to have an urgent need for ready cash and she can never be too sure if her own father, and ex-moonshiner, is quite as retired as he says he is. Now the judge must decide whether family loyalties or judicial standards will prevail.

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From Amazon

Margaret Maron, author of Shooting at Loons and Southern Discomfort, continues her saga of change and transformation in fictional Colleton County, North Carolina, guided once again by District Court Judge Deborah Knott. Trouble comes to the county in Up Jumps the Devil with the arrival of the new interstate, which raises property values and pits neighbor against neighbor--even kin against kin. When two residents are killed after refusing to sell their land to real estate speculators, Judge Knott embarks on a quest to find the killer--or killers. The quest also forces her to take a hard look at her assumptions about her fellow townspeople and herself. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

With vivid detail and engaging, credible characters, Maron's series featuring North Carolina district court judge Deborah Knott (Edgar winner Bootlegger's Daughter, etc.) brings to life fictional Colleton County and chronicles a charming but rapidly changing South. Here, the background is the suburbanization of the rural countryside less than an hour by superhighway from Raleigh. A few days after Dallas Stancil refuses to sell his land to a speculator, his stepson and wife murder him. Then, Dallas's peripatetic cousin Allen, the devil from Deborah's past, comes to town. Several days later, Dallas's father, Jap, is killed just before he can divide the property between Merrilee Grimes, his late wife's niece, and Allen. So who killed Jap, and who gets the Stancil land?Dallas's widow? Allen? Merrilee and her husband, Pete? Billy Wall, Jap's partner in the produce business? Dick Sutterly, a real estate developer who has a signed deed to Jap's property? Suspicions extend to Deborah's own family when one of her 11 brothers, visiting from California, reveals that he's lost his job and plans to sell his acreage, which abuts Jap's. In the end, the answer derives from a combination of greed, fear and ignorance of the intricate laws of inheritance. Maron eloquently describes different behaviors toward the land, from stewardship to despoliation. The old-fashioned warmth of the extended Knott family and Maron's well-constructed plot make this series a standout. Mystery Guild selection.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The key to enjoying this, the fourth book in the Deborah Knott series, is come in with the right expectations. It won an Agatha so you're exepecting lots of sluething. Think again. The mystery component is, at best, about one-fourth of the book. And then, just to be really annoying, Maron never really tells you why or how the killer killed. Normally this would totally sour me on the book but I enjoyed the other three-fourths of the book enough to forgive her.
What this book (and series) is really about is life in contemporary rural North Carolina as seen through the eyes of Deborah Knott. Deborah (don't even think of calling her Deb or Debbie) is the youngest of twelve children (you need a scorecard to keep the brothers straight) and is a district court judge. Between family and litigants, the book is filled with tales of small town life - paternity suit shananigans, stock car racing history, feuds over old family burial plots, and church goers who will gamble on any day but Sunday. Hunters wives (like me) will laugh out loud over the "buck fever" story towards the end of the book.
This particular book dwells on the effect of growth on the community. Land prices are skyrocketing and tract homes are replacing fields. When an elderly landowner (and former stock car builder) is killed without direct descendents, the possible heirs are all looking to grab his land and make a killing. But did they kill to make a killing? One of the possible heirs is Deborah's ex-husband from a annulled marriage - just to make things interesting.
Bottom-line: A good book for people who want to read a book in a southern setting that finds the middle ground between the angst of literary fiction and the buffoons of Jeff Foxworthy. Folks who need non-stop mystery action may want to look elsewhere.
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3.0 out of 5 stars "WHICH ONE IS THE DEVIL???????" May 8 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I think there was at least two or three devils that jumped up in this book. Allen Stancil was one as indicated on the fly page of the book. Then there was one named _______. Have to read to find out who did the murders. Not one but two. The book had its ups and downs. I agree with another reviewer, I get tired of all the brothers and sister in laws and their kids. I get them all mixed up. To many for me to keep straight. But then I guess I don't have to buy the book if I don't think I will like it. If you like down South folks and small town living where everybody knows everything about everybody else, then you will like this book. But for me to many people, I skipped several pages to read about the mystery part, rest was just filler.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fine addition to a good series April 26 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a good book. Woth reading if you like mysteries and/or a writer who knows how to put together believable characters and wonderful sense of location.
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5.0 out of 5 stars good continuation of series March 13 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I enjoyed this book. It was great continuation of the Deborah Knott series. Most of Maron's characters reminds me of someone I know. I highly recommend this book and the whole Deborah Knott series.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Treacle. Jan. 16 1998
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I dislike writers who cannot get their facts straight. For instance: "My DAD USED TO HAVE AN OLD 'FIFTY-TWO THUNDERBIRD," on page 37 indicates the writer is less than knowledgeable about cars. The first Thunderbird on the market was 1955. Further, she has so many realtives running around this story that her protagonist must write up a chart so that even she can keep them straight.

I rarely discard a novel mid way, but I almost did that with this one. I only hung in there to see if the writer was using the T-Bird blunder to try to catch the culprit in the last chapters.

When a writer is incorrect in one of her/his facts and I catch it I think that there must be many others that I am not aware of or am not smart enough to catch.

I feel cheated.
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