Up Jumps the Devil Hardcover – Jun 28 2002
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|Hardcover, Jun 28 2002||
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.