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Bootlegger's Daughter Mass Market Paperback – Jun 1 1993
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This first novel in Maron's Imperfect series, which won the Edgar Award for best mystery novel in 1993, introduces heroine Deborah Knott, an attorney and the daughter of an infamous North Carolina bootlegger. Known for her knowledge of the region's past and popular with the locals, Deb is asked by 18-year-old Gayle Whitehead to investigate the unsolved murder of her mother Janie, who died when Gayle was an infant. While visiting the owner of the property where Janie's body was found, Deb learns of Janie's more-than-promiscuous past. Piecing together lost clues and buried secrets Deb is introduced to Janie's darker side, but it's not until another murder occurs that she uncovers the truth.
From Publishers Weekly
Maron's ( Past Imperfect ) series launch introduces attorney Deborah Knott, the daughter of an infamous North Carolina bootlegger, in an atmospheric adventure mixing Southern politics and a mysterious killing'unsolved murder' in next sentence . While Deb campaigns for a district court judgeship, 18-year-old Gayle Whitehead asks her to investigate the unsolved murder of her mother, Janie, which took place when Gayle was an infant. The girl wants Deb, who knows the locals of Cotton Grove, to ask around and see if she can find clues the police might have missed. Deb visits Michael Vickery, the gay son of Cotton Grove's retired doctor and owner of the property where Janie's body was found. She discovers long-kept secrets, learning that Janie had a roving eye and that a lesbian friend and her lover had made overtures to Janie a week before the murder.sentence ok?see my revisions yes, fine But not until another death occurs does Deb begin to close in on the truth. Filled with good-ole-boy patter and detailed local color, the story flows smoothly, and if it lacks suspense, Maron's appealing characterizations and her knowing eye for family relationships more than compensate. Mystery Guild alternate; author tour.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
It’s compelling to wonder how to solve this case, if clues were scarce when Janie Whitehead was killed. Deborah is no sleuth but a lawyer with connections, who adores young Gayle Whitehead. I loved <b>Margaret’s</b> skill, humour, and personal touch. I will eagerly read her succeeding work, which will assuredly rank higher. Two parts struck discord, pertaining to preposterous, unrealistic behaviour of the pottery owner’s partner. If a child asks to see where her loved-one perished, no one would hesitate to grant such a request! No partner would react so awfully when the owner agreed, nor do we shoot anybody because we had a quarrel! This sank the novel to four stars by itself.
I admired <b>Margaret’s</b> gift for large segues, with intimate descriptions of people who seem tertiary. We don't mind because her delivery is one-on-one. These people do become applicable and her thoroughness has us understand everything. Her chatty, colourful detours are as enjoyable as her mystery. I noticed that each time old queries were posed, we acquainted present people differently.
Bootlegger's Daughter will appeal to those readers that like real life locales with a cozy Southern setting. This is despite dealing with issues such as homosexuality, race and politics. There is little gratuitous violence or sex.
The issue that I took with this novel is that it took to the middle of the book to get to the mystery proper. The plot seemed to noodle along. There was not so much as a hint dropped or earnest sleuthing until the middle. It seemed too caught up in local color.
In the novel's favor once the plot started to move it was interesting and finally the hints were dropped. The myriad suspects were not let off the hook until the last chapter or until they were eliminated(i.e. killed off). This kept me up reading the book to the finish.
The book has 3 and 1/2 stars.
The plot is fairly compelling, with a nice prequel to set the stage, and then the mainline occuring two decades later. Before it's all over, two more murders lead to a fairly surprising ending, and one that not everybody may like real well. Along the way we get brief exposés on blacks in the south and gays in bible belt territory (even Deborah seems to have a pretty good stable of verses memorized which she hauls out from time to time). It's clear from the rest of the series that Knott gets her judgeship, and I for one look forward to see how that transition goes. As for "Judging Deborah", a thumbs up so far!
A gentle rather meandering read it is a pleasant rather than engrossing mystery in which Deborah Knott a local Carolina attorney is seeking a judgeship but finds her campaign rather sidelined by the necessity to investigate an ages old mystey,at the request of a young family member.The case uncovers family secrets best kept hidden,in the eyes of many
Deborah is a likeable protagonist and there is a strong sense of the importance and value of close familial ties.The changing face of the South in which attitudes to homosexuality and race are being re-evaluated provide an undercurrent to the development of the plot
I am more in favour of the hardboiled and street wise crime novel but Ms Maron has created an engaging and personable character and a series that is likely to prove to be a quiet pleasure Warmth is not a characteristic one finds regularly in the crime novel but it is present here in abundance,and for that reason alone I will stick with the series and urge lovers of the
"soft boiled"crime novel to give the Deborah Knott a try
Most recent customer reviews
Although the rest of the series is more typically genre fiction, this book reads at least as much as a Southern novel of place and relationship as it is a murder mystery. Read morePublished on April 30 2004 by Amazon Customer
I really enjoyed this 1st of the Deborah Knott series. I was guessing right up until the end. Margaret Maron had me right there (actually, I am anyway)in rural North... Read morePublished on Jan. 15 2004
Great continuance of the author's southern writing style!Published on Aug. 13 2002 by Sharon Shires
Margaret Maron is a witty and humorous writer and has done a great job with this first book in the Deborah Knott series. Read morePublished on Dec 11 2001
The character introduced here, Judge Deborah Knott, has been justifiably lauded for being one of the best-developed characters in this kind of mystery fiction. Read morePublished on March 31 2001 by frumiousb
I truly enjoyed the book until the last two pages. I did not want to put it down when I started reading it. Deborah Knott is ans attorney running for district judge. Read morePublished on Feb. 3 2001 by Mac Blair
Maron transports you to small-town North Carolina and introduces you around to some of the best developed characters in mystery fiction. Read morePublished on Nov. 25 2000 by Christina P. Branson
Being an avid reader, particularly of mysteries/detective stories, I was amazed when I accidentally discovered Margaret Maron, who has been right under my nose here in North... Read morePublished on Aug. 4 2000