#3 in the Judge Deborah Knott series, this one taking place on the Crystal Shore of North Carolina where Deborah has gone to sit in for a judge in another county while she spends time at her cousins' seaside island cottage. Before she knows what's going on, Judge Knott is standing over the dead body of a neighbor who's been shot. Though determined not to get embroiled in the investigation, it isn't long before Deborah is hearing far too much local gossip and finds her interest piqued. When she discovers a second body a few days later and uncovers some other illegal goings-on, she begins to wonder what information is connected to what, and which are red herrings. Enjoyable, light read though all the southern dialogue with the "ya'lling" and "Daddying" gets old after a bit for this northern girl. LOL I still like this series, though!
This entire series of Judge Deborah Knott by Margaret Maron is an absolutely joy to read.
The characters are well thought out and explained and continued throughout the series.
The locations and situations are wonderful too - even with the 'journalistic license' taken.
One feels you know the places, folks, taste the food, experience the wonderful place that is
North Carolina. I simply just loved it and could not wait to read on and on.
Judge Deborah Knott is taking a working vacation on North Carolina's lush Crystal Coast, where a centuries-old way of life is as endangered as loons and sea turtles. The frustration and fear the local fisherfolk feel toward the well-to-do week-end crowd and the developers is palpable, and on the bench and off, Deborah can't escape the soon-to-be bloody conflict. On a picture-perfect Sunday she goes looking for clams--and finds the body of Andy Bynum, a peacemaker between the groups. Then the violence escalates, a lover from her past falls under suspicion, and Judge Knott is swept into a dangerous riptide of old grudges and new greed...one that could very well take her life.
When Judge Deborah Knott is asked to substitute for a hospitalized judge in gracious old Beaufort, North Carolina, she is looking forward to spending a restful week at her cousin's cottage on nearby Harkers Island - relative peace and quiet is Deborah's plan for the entire week. However, when her first clamming expedition turns up the corpse of a well-known fisherman in the shallow water, peace and quiet quickly flies out the window. Discovering the body puts her right in the middle of the contentious fight between the long-established locals who make their living from the sea and the more recent - and rising - tide of well-to-do "dingbatters": weekenders and land developers who view the coast as their personal playground and gold mine.
Deborah soon realizes that the centuries-old way of life in this isolated part of the South is just as endangered as loons and sea turtles, and the fisherman's murder is somehow tied to the coming changes. In her time both on the bench as well as off, Deborah has certainly seen her share of change, and she's intensely aware of the rage and fear and greed such changes arouse.
Even so, sipping her bourbon in the fresh salt air does wonders for Deborah's weary soul, and life at the beach takes a definite upswing when she meets a game warden who's hunting for loon poachers. Yes, in her mind, Deborah's short vacation certainly has proved to be beneficial. Not until a second murder occurs and a lover from her past is implicated does Deborah realize she's up to her own neck in intrigue - and dangerously close to a killer...
To be perfectly honest, I may not have been in the proper mood to read this book to begin with. It was very difficult for me to get into the flow of the story. I had such trouble keeping the characters straight in my mind, that it lessened my enjoyment of the book somewhat. Actually, it was only when the story picked up appreciably - about halfway though, I think - that I began to enjoy it more.
I have one other book by Margaret Maron on my bookshelf, the twelfth book in this series. I may read Winter's Child some time in the future, but I have to give this book - Shooting at Loons - a B!