Friday, February 18, 2011

Christmas Mourning, by Margaret Maron

Christmas Mourning is the 16th title in Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott series. Set in North Carolina, the series focuses on Knott, who is a district judge, and her husband Dwight Bryant, a sheriff's deputy. When Maron started the series, more attention was given to the possible conflicts that arose between Deborah's legal career and her father's long tenure as a bootlegger, but Deborah's large and complicated family has faded into the background, where they provide local color and humor.

Two cases are at the heart of Christmas Mourning--the death of a popular teenager in a one-car accident on a straight stretch of road and the murders of two brothers likely to become career criminals. While the two events do not seem to be related, this is mystery fiction after all, so of course they are. And of course there are red herrings, obvious clues that Deborah and Dwight miss, and a neatly tied-up solution. My sarcasm notwithstanding, the book is a fairly fun read--especially when you're sick in bed (as I am at the moment).

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