Queue My Review

September 19, 2008

Review: Death’s Half Acre by Margaret Maron

Filed under: Review — Tags: , , , , , , — jjmachshev @ 9:15 am
Death’s Half Acre by Margaret Maron

Yes! I took a quick break from all things romance to read “Death’s Half Acre” by Margaret Maron. This is a story about greed and murder in small town America. It’s not bloody, it’s not scary, it’s just a good way to pit your ‘li’l gray cells’ against those of the author for a couple of hours.

North Carolina is a beautiful state. And I’d like to think there are still places like the Colleton County described in Maron’s book. There are the old-timer’s whose families have been there as long as anybody can remember, and there’s the newcomers who want to ‘get away’ from big city living, but can’t seem to go a day without wishing for a Starbucks or a Walmart! Maron’s ability to depict the slower pace and cronyism of the Deep South can only come from personal knowledge since she pegs it dead on.

When a crooked female politician with bigger aspirations than the City Council she was appointed to commits suicide, the same questions are on everybody’s lips. Especially since she left a note saying she was guilty of kickbacks and illegal profiting from her position. But she didn’t name any names or give any details, so now everybody who ever had any dealings with her (and that would pretty much be everybody in business in town) is under suspicion. When the coroner reveals her death as a murder and not suicide, the investigation gains steam. Then her daughter is killed and the clues don’t seem to be adding up.

Deborah Knott is a judge in Colleton County. Her husband is a Sheriff’s Deputy. So for the sake of marital harmony they don’t ‘talk work’ at home. But when Deborah finds out the dead woman had files on her family, she begins to waver. Now it looks like all those past secrets may come to light, and Deborah must make some tough decisions about justice and legality…and stay alive while doing it.

I enjoyed Margaret Maron’s country mystery. Her characters were so accurately drawn there were times I was sure they were people I’ve known. As a denizen of the Deep South myself, I recognized many of the character types described in this mystery. But I think what I enjoyed most about “Death’s Half Acre” was the author’s gentle probing into the gray areas of justice and what people will do for family…and for power. The mystery is well-plotted and even with all the well-placed clues, I didn’t guess the guilty party until the end of the book. There were plenty of red herrings and all of them were viably plausible and suspects abound. If a homespun southern mystery sounds like your cup of sweet tea (yes, I couldn’t resist), then pick up a copy of this book for yourself. You might want to read it sitting on your front porch, in a rocker, with a mint julep in your hand!

Until next time…


Reviewed by Julie


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