Sometime last spring I went back to reading Margaret Maron’s Judge Deborah Knott series all over. I’d read the first six or seven when she started publishing them and loved them from the beginning. When I started going to Malice nine years ago, I received a bag of books they give to all participants, and also bought books by new authors I discovered while attending. So my piles and piles of books kept multiplying as well as my interest in new authors I was reading; Louise Penny, Rhys Bowen, and many others. Added to that, I joined two book clubs after I retired so there were two additional books I felt compelled to read each month. Fortunately, I enjoyed most of them and was glad to not only read those, but to be introduced to other new authors.
As much as I love to read, I don’t have time to read for hours each day, and not because I’m a big TV watcher or Facebook fan. Like most people, I lead a very busy life, and my reading also includes the daily newspaper and Time Magazine. However, Margaret Maron’s books were still on my shelf and becoming more plentiful since I’d pick up new ones whenever I came across them or they appeared in the Mystery Guild Book Club I belong to. Since I wasn’t exactly sure where I’d left off, it seemed only reasonable to start at the beginning as I only remembered a few things, which didn’t include the plot, the murder or who done it with the earlier ones. Also, since I like to start a series at the beginning, I started with the Bootlegger’s Daughter, and fell in love with her writing all over again. I continued reading her books always with a few other books in between; book club choices, new authors to start, or other mystery authors like Elizabeth George, whose books have grown longer and longer with each new one she writes. Then there were the gift books I got for my birthday or books by authors interviewed on WWK. I just finished my 15th Judge Deborah Knott book this week. While I was waiting to fill in the gaps of books I didn’t have, I read the first three Sigrid Harold books that were Margaret Maron’s first series. I liked those, too.
|Front: Linda, Ann, Carol. Back: Sue, Jean, Me|
When my Third Thursday book club met at my house before Christmas to go over the books we were going to choose for the following year. One of the three I suggested was Bootlegger’s Daughter. We chose it for January’s meeting which was last Thursday. Before we got started discussing the book, I asked them to write their opinion of the book and what they liked or didn’t like. As a group the only thing they didn’t like was the cover because they thought it didn’t relate to the book. Following are their comments:
I’m all about characters. Maron introduces us to small town, believable folks complete with warts and beauty marks. I love that all the ends are tied up into a smooth strand, not a last minute knot. Best part – I guessed “who done it!” Linda Bailey
The setting and characters of this small town are refreshing and true to life. I could envision all of it. The interactions were truly representative of how people’s conduct is in a small town. Ann Cicero
Deborah is such a strong practical woman. Many or most of the characters seem to like and trust her allowing her to solve the secret of Janie’s death, as well as that of Michael’s and Denn’s. I was so glad that Deborah and her father seemed to be finding a kind of peace. Sue Johnson
The “cover” issue was a concern to me, because I often return to it as I’m reading the book to picture the scenes presented throughout. It only seemed to fit somewhat in the beginning. Otherwise it wasn’t related. It bothered me less than a third of the way through, but then Maron had me wanting to know what happens next, and what happened way before. I especially appreciated how well she acquaints the reader to the people and to the places. It reminded me of our little town, especially the specialness of so many of the people I met there and in our town. Even the description of the Dobb’s Ledger and the importance of the death and life of each person. The obits in the paper were not written as a list, but more as a person’s life story just like a home paper. I can hardly wait to get back and find out where she’s taking me. Jean Morningstar
While I realized that this is an older cover, I’m glad I didn’t have to judge the book by its cover. This older version seems to fit only the beginning of the book, not the spirit of it. I enjoyed the characters and their relationships. Another wonderful part was the vividness of the description of the photograph of Deborah’s parents. As a reader, I could see it as clearly as if it was in front of me. Carol Baker
Our group is not a large one, and we were missing a few at this past meeting because of weather or sickness, and another member goes to Florida for the winter. However, over the past nine plus years, with some members leaving and a few added, we have become a very tight group. We meet right before lunch at a restaurant to discuss the book, and then talk and laugh about a large variety of other topics. Some stay for lunch and others have to leave for appointments. We’re all retired and at least four of us were teachers and one is a retired librarian. Almost all the members, except for me and one other, live in the small town we meet in. They in particular thought the small town characters were very believable. It’s rather rare that the comments about any book we choose are all positive. We have some members who almost always find something to criticize about a book, but for this book it was only the cover which few authors have a choice in the matter anyway.
|Her latest book|
What’s my opinion of the book? Well I wouldn’t have read it for the third time before we got together to discuss it if I didn’t love it. There isn’t much I could add to their comments, except that while continuing the series, more and more I feel I know the people and the area where Deborah Knott lives. A common comment writers hear is to write what you know. Because Maron has lived in the area she writes about much of her life is one of the reasons it seems so real. I only hope Margaret Maron keeps on writing her Deborah Knott series because I’m not ready to quit reading them.
Have you read Margaret Maron’s Deborah Knott series?
What other series have you been hooked on?