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Christmas Mourning

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It's Christmas in rural North Carolina's Colleton County and Judge Deborah Knott is looking forward to a family celebration when a tragedy clouds the holiday season. A beautiful young cheerleader dies in a car crash and the community is devastated by her death. Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant soon learns that her death was not a simple accident, and more lives may be lost u It's Christmas in rural North Carolina's Colleton County and Judge Deborah Knott is looking forward to a family celebration when a tragedy clouds the holiday season. A beautiful young cheerleader dies in a car crash and the community is devastated by her death. Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant soon learns that her death was not a simple accident, and more lives may be lost unless he and Deborah can discover why she died.


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It's Christmas in rural North Carolina's Colleton County and Judge Deborah Knott is looking forward to a family celebration when a tragedy clouds the holiday season. A beautiful young cheerleader dies in a car crash and the community is devastated by her death. Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant soon learns that her death was not a simple accident, and more lives may be lost u It's Christmas in rural North Carolina's Colleton County and Judge Deborah Knott is looking forward to a family celebration when a tragedy clouds the holiday season. A beautiful young cheerleader dies in a car crash and the community is devastated by her death. Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant soon learns that her death was not a simple accident, and more lives may be lost unless he and Deborah can discover why she died.

30 review for Christmas Mourning

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cooper

    A delightful, quant cozy murder mystery. The story merges two mysterious 'accidental' deaths from different decades to the reveal that the deaths are connected and not accidental. Ms. Maron brings to life Judge Deborah Knott and her husband, Chief Deputy Dwight Bryant as they work together to find justice for the victims. The plot, although not complex, has a solid pace and keeps one interested in the characters and wanting to follow their journey in finding out whodunnit. At times it was difficu A delightful, quant cozy murder mystery. The story merges two mysterious 'accidental' deaths from different decades to the reveal that the deaths are connected and not accidental. Ms. Maron brings to life Judge Deborah Knott and her husband, Chief Deputy Dwight Bryant as they work together to find justice for the victims. The plot, although not complex, has a solid pace and keeps one interested in the characters and wanting to follow their journey in finding out whodunnit. At times it was difficult to keep track of all the characters as Judge Knott is one of 12 and has numerous nieces and nephews. The secondary story regarding the ups and downs of having a blended large family was represented in a realistic manner, which was a nice addition to the cozy mystery genre. This was the first in this series that I read and look forward to going back and starting the series from the beginning.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Wanda

    I had hopes for this mystery, set during the Christmas season, featuring a husband & wife team, a Sheriff’s Deputy and a Judge. Yes, there is a crime and yes, they solve it, but OMG, the amount of irrelevant detail that I had to wade through it get to that! I am not a big fan of the cozy mystery, so that was the majority of my problem. For lovers of this particular branch of the mystery genre, your experience will be more positive than mine. I do appreciate that knowing some details of the charac I had hopes for this mystery, set during the Christmas season, featuring a husband & wife team, a Sheriff’s Deputy and a Judge. Yes, there is a crime and yes, they solve it, but OMG, the amount of irrelevant detail that I had to wade through it get to that! I am not a big fan of the cozy mystery, so that was the majority of my problem. For lovers of this particular branch of the mystery genre, your experience will be more positive than mine. I do appreciate that knowing some details of the characters’ lives is a positive, but I felt absolutely bogged down in the all the intricate family details, the step-parent angst of Deborah, not to mention all the Christmas gift and food detail. I’m not sure why every outfit that the Deborah wears needs to be described or why we need details about every meal. I do know, however, that other writers in this genre do exactly the same thing. I think that may be why I like Nordic noir, where the detectives are generally solitary men, eating sandwiches & drinking coffee and hoping that they still have a clean shirt, rather than all of the domestic detail. Not a bad mystery, but a bit of a disappointment to me.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    I was listening to this in the car, and got through 4 of the 8 discs before I asked why I was torturing myself? It was so "goody two shoes" that it became insipid. I had to create a new shelf for my books - abandoned - to acknowledge that sometimes it's just not worth finishing a story. Too many books - too little time. I was listening to this in the car, and got through 4 of the 8 discs before I asked why I was torturing myself? It was so "goody two shoes" that it became insipid. I had to create a new shelf for my books - abandoned - to acknowledge that sometimes it's just not worth finishing a story. Too many books - too little time.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sheila

    I hadn’t read any of Margaret Maron’s books before winning this one on a book review blog. Now I shall be eagerly searching for more, preferably more of the same series, though I’m sure I’d enjoy her other books too. Christmas Mourning is set in rural North Carolina where teenagers text and drive, hunters use illegal lamps to blind deer, and Judge Deborah Knott combines marriage to the local deputy, aunt-hood to a gazillion youngsters, and the baseless accusations of a maddening mother against d I hadn’t read any of Margaret Maron’s books before winning this one on a book review blog. Now I shall be eagerly searching for more, preferably more of the same series, though I’m sure I’d enjoy her other books too. Christmas Mourning is set in rural North Carolina where teenagers text and drive, hunters use illegal lamps to blind deer, and Judge Deborah Knott combines marriage to the local deputy, aunt-hood to a gazillion youngsters, and the baseless accusations of a maddening mother against drunk driving, all while preparing to celebrate her wedding anniversary and Christmas. The author’s ear for teen dialog and eye for teen mannerisms seem absolutely perfect. And the outspoken, generous judge is a wonderful character. I thoroughly enjoyed watching through a morning of quiet cases, while the mourning of a rich family outside for their daughter contrasted sadly with that of a poor mother for her missing sons. Mystery hides in the mist. Real people with real hopes and fears walk the road. Real life intervenes when real love sets its sights on a night out. And the whole is a delightful mix, well-seasoned, old-fashioned and thoroughly up-to-date. Margaret Maron’s writing is a pleasant reminder that there are still mysteries out there where characters have sensible, well-reasoned thoughts, where romance blooms delightfully but bedroom doors stay closed, and where the mistakes of youth are a sign of youth, not a warning that the world’s about to end. I really enjoyed reading this book, and thoroughly recommend it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Don

    This is one of the latest entries in Maron's series about Judge Deborah Knott. While I think I've read another of these, I have not followed the series and so I was a little overwhelmed as the book began simply because there are a lot of characters. However, once things got going, this turned into a wonderful reading adventure. The book tells of Knott's investigation into the death of a popular cheerleader in a car crash. Knott's husband unearths information which leads her to believe that there This is one of the latest entries in Maron's series about Judge Deborah Knott. While I think I've read another of these, I have not followed the series and so I was a little overwhelmed as the book began simply because there are a lot of characters. However, once things got going, this turned into a wonderful reading adventure. The book tells of Knott's investigation into the death of a popular cheerleader in a car crash. Knott's husband unearths information which leads her to believe that there is more to the death than meets the eye. The writing in this book is absolutely stunning; there were a number of times when I simply had to reread passages to glory in the language. Maron also does a great job of transporting us to the rural North Carolina village in which these books take place. It's certainly very different from Long Island, but I had no problem putting myself right there thanks to Maron's descriptive abilities. The characters are so well developed that I found the end rather disturbing simply because it was so emotional. With that said, the juxtaposition of the outcome of the crime investigation with some genuinely touching holiday moments involving Knott and her family is most effective. This was so good that I will probably go back and read the entire series at some point.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    When a popular high school cheerleader dies in a car accident, Judge Deborah Knott soon learns that everything is not as it seems in this appropriately sober mystery.

  7. 4 out of 5

    LORI (Dollycas) CASWELL

    We return to Colleton County, North Carolina just in time for the holidays. Sadly they are overshadowed when a very popular Senior in high school, Mallory Johnson, dies in a car crash on the way home from a party. This was not the only tragedy this area has had to face, a few days later two not so popular kids were found shot to death. This happening all after another car accident just two months earlier where two other youths were killed and another was severely injured. To stay the town in stu We return to Colleton County, North Carolina just in time for the holidays. Sadly they are overshadowed when a very popular Senior in high school, Mallory Johnson, dies in a car crash on the way home from a party. This was not the only tragedy this area has had to face, a few days later two not so popular kids were found shot to death. This happening all after another car accident just two months earlier where two other youths were killed and another was severely injured. To stay the town in stunned by these events is an understatement. Mallory was known not to drink or do drugs so what caused her to go off the road is a mystery and is her accident connected to any of the other deaths. As usual Deborah’s many nieces and nephews are always dropping by for a visit, plus it is time for the annual cookie baking party. All these kids either knew or went to school with the victims. So Deborah does what any judge/wife of a chief deputy sheriff would do, she keeps her eyes and her ears open. As she and Dwight share their gathered information they find the clues may connect to a death from several years ago. It is time to solve these mysteries before anyone else is lost and Dwight and Deborah are on the case. Dollycas’s Thoughts This has been one of my favorite series and I enjoy every trip into the world of Deborah Knott. The closeness and trials and tribulations of the whole family dynamic never disappoint. The mystery that tags along is an added bonus. The author is a wonderful storyteller and her characters continue to grown and develop. In this edition it was about the teenagers. I have to say I was very impressed in the way she took on a very relevant teen issue, cell phones and texting. She also makes us aware of dangerous things that can happen at teen parties, stupid pranks can have deadly consequences. She handled them without being preachy, she just put it out there and reminded us all about the dangers. This week the National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that all cell phone use be banned all non-emergency use of cell phones and other portable devices for drivers. This makes this story quite timely. I realize it was published last year but I didn’t get to it for last year’s holiday season and saved it for this year and I am glad I did. It helped me to remind my own kids of these dangers. Teenagers always think it can’t happen to them. In this story it happened to kids that probably felt exactly that way. The mystery was great but the message was gripped me and held me in this story. This is not your typical Christmas story but you knew that from the title. It is an excellent addition to this series.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mary Gramlich

    The series is the one your reading year is built around It has been a year of non-stop change for Judge Deborah Knott and her husband the Colleton County Sherriff’s Deputy Dwight Bryant. They are about to celebrate their first anniversary and finally have Dwight’s son Cal settled into living with them after the tragedy of losing his mother. But this homey scene is rocked when Mallory, a popular teenager dies in a tragic car accident. Leaving too many questions and no answers in what should be an The series is the one your reading year is built around It has been a year of non-stop change for Judge Deborah Knott and her husband the Colleton County Sherriff’s Deputy Dwight Bryant. They are about to celebrate their first anniversary and finally have Dwight’s son Cal settled into living with them after the tragedy of losing his mother. But this homey scene is rocked when Mallory, a popular teenager dies in a tragic car accident. Leaving too many questions and no answers in what should be an open and shut case. Questions start popping up when Mallory’s last voice mail to her brother plays out the final moments of her life in too real detail. The suspicion that she might have been drinking escalates into fact which causes escalation that she had been drugged since Mallory may have flirted with the boys she was not a girl known to walk against the grain and never drank alcohol. So Dwight starts digging deeper into the situation and without a day gone by two more bodies turn up and this time their cause of death is obvious – gun shots straight on. These brothers were always on the wrong side of the law but what could have caused them to have been so brutally murdered? Is this case related to the traffic accident? What is it that Mallory’s family is not telling him that might be at the core of the problem? Too many questions and no one is saying a word, this definitely is not the way to kick off the holiday season that is for sure. Dwight is tenacious, Deborah is a snoop and family is determined to find out what happened and hopefully resolving these crimes will not lead to anymore but it is not looking good. But what is going on at the house is another head scratcher? All of Deborah’s nieces and nephews keep showing up at odd times, with strange explanations and even wilder more unbelievable tales to explain their presence at the house. Hopefully nothing catches on fire this year! This series always brings to the reader a mystery, family drama and shenanigans plus some wonderful romance between Dwight and Deborah. Another year has produced another winner in this series and as always with Ms. Maron’s work you have to get to the end of the book to know who done it! Margaret Maron leaves lots of clues but always throws in a curve to make sure you are paying attention. Thank you again for writing such a great series that everyone will enjoy.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Spuddie

    This review applies to the audio version. In this latest Judge Deborah Knott and clan mystery, it's Christmas time once again and Deborah and Dwight are celebrating their first anniversary as well. A series of fatal car crashes involving young folks has set a bit of a pall over Colleton County's festivities, though, especially the most recent involving Mallory Johnson, head cheerleader at West Colleton High. By everyone's account, she's practically perfect, so when a small amount of alcohol is fo This review applies to the audio version. In this latest Judge Deborah Knott and clan mystery, it's Christmas time once again and Deborah and Dwight are celebrating their first anniversary as well. A series of fatal car crashes involving young folks has set a bit of a pall over Colleton County's festivities, though, especially the most recent involving Mallory Johnson, head cheerleader at West Colleton High. By everyone's account, she's practically perfect, so when a small amount of alcohol is found in her blood, everyone is shocked, and her father insists that someone must have spiked her soda pop. Otherwise why would she have crashed on a straight stretch of road in good driving weather? And who would do such a thing? As the town mourns her loss, deeper investigation of course reveals that Mallory wasn't without her flaws, but it takes two more deaths for Dwight (and Deborah!) to connect the dots. A very enjoyable visit to Colleton County, laced with big doses of family lore and Christmas tradition and history. Great story, and as always, the author tackles social issues along the way and gives you something to think about, although the mystery wasn't too much of a puzzle to figure out fairly well in advance. Wonderfully read by CJ Critt, as always. A+

  10. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    It's hard to believe that this is the 16th in the Deborah Knott series which seems as fresh as it did when it debuted. One thing about this series is that it's best to read them in order because of the huge cast of characters. Deborah Knott is a District Court judge in rural Colleton County, North Carolina which is southeast of Raleigh. Deborah is the youngest of a family of 12 children and she has 11 older brothers, all of whom are married with children. Plus there is her father, her friends, n It's hard to believe that this is the 16th in the Deborah Knott series which seems as fresh as it did when it debuted. One thing about this series is that it's best to read them in order because of the huge cast of characters. Deborah Knott is a District Court judge in rural Colleton County, North Carolina which is southeast of Raleigh. Deborah is the youngest of a family of 12 children and she has 11 older brothers, all of whom are married with children. Plus there is her father, her friends, neighbors, and other relatives. It's enough to make a reader's head spin unless the characters are introduced gradually and they remain active in the series. Check on both counts. In this book, a popular teenager dies in a single car accident driving home from a party and two brothers are shot and killed outside of their trailer. It's up to Deborah's husband Dwight, a deputy sheriff, to figure out what's going on. This book is full of red herrings, jammed packed with the joys and frustrations of living in a large close-knit family, and sensitive to the tensions that exist within a community where new suburbs are changing the culture of a traditionally rural area.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I tried to give this book a go. I wanted to get into a new series. I knew I was in trouble when I started the book and there was a family tree with about a bazillion people listed. Books in general should have limited characters so you can keep them straight. This book just kept adding more and more and more. Not to mention, it seemed to have less to do with the mystery of how Mallory died and more to do about gossip, the never-ending family, and sounding uneducated. A good book in general has li I tried to give this book a go. I wanted to get into a new series. I knew I was in trouble when I started the book and there was a family tree with about a bazillion people listed. Books in general should have limited characters so you can keep them straight. This book just kept adding more and more and more. Not to mention, it seemed to have less to do with the mystery of how Mallory died and more to do about gossip, the never-ending family, and sounding uneducated. A good book in general has little fluff (i.e. extra writing that makes the book longer). A good mystery keeps on par with the important info and also minimizes fluff. This book does neither. It kept going on and on about sports teams, to where I skipped ahead pages at a time. It would go on forever about Christmas cookies, and how someone married someone else, then they died, then someone wanted to change their last name. Who the heck cares?! Get back to the plot of the story! The speaking by the characters was the straw that broke the camel's back so to speak. Just because you live in North Carolina doesn't mean you have to be uneducated. I wanted to like this book, but just could not stomach it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    This was my first Deborah Knott novel. Since this was # 16 I think I will need to read the others. There were too many characters to keep them straight. Felt like I needed a family tree. The story started out slow, but murders had enough questions to keep me interested. Howevere there was too many little details about furniture, people's clothes and who had what kids. This was my first Deborah Knott novel. Since this was # 16 I think I will need to read the others. There were too many characters to keep them straight. Felt like I needed a family tree. The story started out slow, but murders had enough questions to keep me interested. Howevere there was too many little details about furniture, people's clothes and who had what kids.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Prewitt

    What I did not like about this book: * too many characters. I love a large cast of characters, but this was ridiculous, and I think it’s intentionally ridiculous. It’s supposed to be part of the humor, but I got to where I skimmed over names. There was no point in trying to keep track of who was the daughter or stepson or first husband of whom because it wasn't relevant to the mystery. And who introduces a new character by name in the last 3 pages of the book? * too political. It's not that the What I did not like about this book: * too many characters. I love a large cast of characters, but this was ridiculous, and I think it’s intentionally ridiculous. It’s supposed to be part of the humor, but I got to where I skimmed over names. There was no point in trying to keep track of who was the daughter or stepson or first husband of whom because it wasn't relevant to the mystery. And who introduces a new character by name in the last 3 pages of the book? * too political. It's not that the narrator took positions I disagreed with. Asides were actually political (the Republican DA was a minor god; the Democratic DA was incompetent; all the defendants were noted to be Black or Hispanic). Then on page 218, the narrator confesses she doesn’t like badmouthing a Democrat, but it’s too late. Maybe we are supposed to know this about the narrator if we’ve read earlier books, but I had not. * change in POV. Deep into the narrative, the telling suddenly switched from a 1st person female judge to the 3rd person deputy husband of the judge. It's jarring and ill-planned. * humor doesn't age well. This was published in 2010, which is now 10 years ago. But making fun of a rural man's "ignorant" pronunciation of spinal meningitis is callous. What I liked about this book: * the Christmas quotes at the beginning of each chapter. They are witty and thematic and a really nice touch * the deputy's voice and telling of the story. I found this to be a welcome relief from the "aw shucks, aren't we Southerners funny" telling of the judge. His voice was clean and enjoyable and pertinent to the actual mystery at hand. * I am stuck at home during the coronavirus with a limited # of books, and I had this one to read, even if I did not particularly enjoy it. I’m positive her other books are better; she has amazing credentials. I just wish I had had one of them on hand.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Richard Brand

    So the ethical question still was not answered. Who killed Mallory Johnson? We know who put the drugs in her drink and we know who flashed the blinding lights, but which one of them would be considered the one who caused her death. The other mystery is solved and it makes sense. We also had one of those endings where the legal system is spared the whole trial thing. If this is your 16th time with Deborah Knott you are well familiar with the family, with the folksy story telling, with the bootleg So the ethical question still was not answered. Who killed Mallory Johnson? We know who put the drugs in her drink and we know who flashed the blinding lights, but which one of them would be considered the one who caused her death. The other mystery is solved and it makes sense. We also had one of those endings where the legal system is spared the whole trial thing. If this is your 16th time with Deborah Knott you are well familiar with the family, with the folksy story telling, with the bootlegger patriarch. You do have to give Mrs. Maron a lot of credit for just being abled to keep all these characters straight. There are a couple of good stories inserted about a smiling Jesus and a plastic jesus that show up in the narrative. There is a lot of remembering that this is the first anniversary of Dwight and Deborah and they are still very much in love with each other. According to the author the sex is good for them. Since most of these stories have a central theme, it might be that the major point of emphasis is the danger of cell phones and technology on teenagers.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sonia

    A nice family indeed, so crowded it’s hard to keep up with it, especially if you’re reading your first book of the long lasting series. Deborah Knott seems to be the perfect aunt and is surrounded by young nieces and nephews all the time; in the village everybody knows everybody and the characters’ lives are so full of social engagement and all - the more as this novel takes place at Christmas. The reading is easy and winsome, but the investigation a bit too slow, held back by the daily errands A nice family indeed, so crowded it’s hard to keep up with it, especially if you’re reading your first book of the long lasting series. Deborah Knott seems to be the perfect aunt and is surrounded by young nieces and nephews all the time; in the village everybody knows everybody and the characters’ lives are so full of social engagement and all - the more as this novel takes place at Christmas. The reading is easy and winsome, but the investigation a bit too slow, held back by the daily errands and detailed descriptions of the characters’ life events, even if eventually you will get what happened, of course. It is but a cozy seasonal mystery and so we can’t expect too much, I guess, and on the whole it’s pleasant and the Christmas atmosphere remains with you indeed. Being the 16th episode in the series I think it deserves further reading, getting back to the beginning to better understand it all.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    The mystery was not bad. My 15 year old nephew was riding shotgun for this book and he enjoyed it as well. I did skip the two mild marital sex scenes because it made both of us uncomfortable to listen to. The characters were colorful and eccentric, but I did fine keeping them straight despite not having read the previous 15 books in the series. Some aspects of the mystery solution were somewhat obvious just because why else would they be in the book? I did pick the wrong suspect for the murder, The mystery was not bad. My 15 year old nephew was riding shotgun for this book and he enjoyed it as well. I did skip the two mild marital sex scenes because it made both of us uncomfortable to listen to. The characters were colorful and eccentric, but I did fine keeping them straight despite not having read the previous 15 books in the series. Some aspects of the mystery solution were somewhat obvious just because why else would they be in the book? I did pick the wrong suspect for the murder, but the right reason. I did feel like there was a lot of extraneous plot, but that is not uncommon with series mysteries, the focus on character development instead of just basic plot. Not sure if I want to read any others in the series, but would not be against it either.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    I enjoy the Deborah Knott series and this one did not disappoint. I love her family and their closest and love for each other. Too bad more families are not like hers! In the recent past several teenagers have lost their lives in car accidents in Deborah's little town the last one being Mallory Johnson who doesn't drink or use drugs except both are found in her system after the accident. Something is just not right about the accident and while investigating it and a couple other incidents and de I enjoy the Deborah Knott series and this one did not disappoint. I love her family and their closest and love for each other. Too bad more families are not like hers! In the recent past several teenagers have lost their lives in car accidents in Deborah's little town the last one being Mallory Johnson who doesn't drink or use drugs except both are found in her system after the accident. Something is just not right about the accident and while investigating it and a couple other incidents and deaths the truth comes out. All this happens just before Christmas and Deborah's first wedding anniversary.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sherry Scheline

    I was completely intrigued at one point with the story. Finding out who killed the cheerleader 📣 but it got bogged down with details. The outfit descriptions feel like there was a really good book 📖 and they decided to turn it into a movie 🎥 and the writer ✍🏼 got carried away with the visual aspect and lost the story. It felt at times like I was reading an adapted script with side notes 🗒 of instructions on what they characters should wear and what should be on the set. It weighed the story down I was completely intrigued at one point with the story. Finding out who killed the cheerleader 📣 but it got bogged down with details. The outfit descriptions feel like there was a really good book 📖 and they decided to turn it into a movie 🎥 and the writer ✍🏼 got carried away with the visual aspect and lost the story. It felt at times like I was reading an adapted script with side notes 🗒 of instructions on what they characters should wear and what should be on the set. It weighed the story down to much. I didn’t see a movie play out in my head I saw the set up and staging for what could be an episode on a bad detective drama. Not my favorite.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Anie

    Since there are so many books in this series, I thought perhaps my first book was just a dud, and I should try again. I was wrong. There's so much wrong with this book. The book begins with a family tree of the narrator. She has 11 brothers, all of whom have families and I swear to god that every single one of this mob are referenced somewhere in this book, even though none of them have anything to do with the murder. Get the idea? This was one huge waste of my time. Since there are so many books in this series, I thought perhaps my first book was just a dud, and I should try again. I was wrong. There's so much wrong with this book. The book begins with a family tree of the narrator. She has 11 brothers, all of whom have families and I swear to god that every single one of this mob are referenced somewhere in this book, even though none of them have anything to do with the murder. Get the idea? This was one huge waste of my time.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Judge Deborah Knott is looking forward to celebrating Christmas with her husband, Sheriff Deputy Dwight Bryant and his son, but just before Christmas a young, well-liked teenager dies in a mysterious car accident. As Dwight investigates he begins to feel that there is more to this accident than anyone can imagine and when two young men are shot to death he feels even more so. Not so Christmasy but a good mystery nevertheless.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carmen

    I made it to page 45 and decided to end the torture. Every character in this book had a back story when it had nothing to do with the plot. Keeping up with her large family tree (11 siblings, their spouses and children) was a distraction to the plot. I had to go back several times to see who was who. This is book 16 in the series so I assumed it was a good series...it's hard to admit when I'm wrong but I fully admit to my wrong presumption this time around. I made it to page 45 and decided to end the torture. Every character in this book had a back story when it had nothing to do with the plot. Keeping up with her large family tree (11 siblings, their spouses and children) was a distraction to the plot. I had to go back several times to see who was who. This is book 16 in the series so I assumed it was a good series...it's hard to admit when I'm wrong but I fully admit to my wrong presumption this time around.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series and I was happy to listen to another one as I work through the series. C.J. Critt is a great reader for audiobooks. I enjoy this series for the characters more than the mystery which I figured out pretty quickly. It's also good to listen to a Christmas mystery on a muggy June day. This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series and I was happy to listen to another one as I work through the series. C.J. Critt is a great reader for audiobooks. I enjoy this series for the characters more than the mystery which I figured out pretty quickly. It's also good to listen to a Christmas mystery on a muggy June day.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mary Baker

    I do enjoy the Deborah Knott mysteries by Margaret Maron. I like the closeness between the members of Deborah and Dwight's families. This novel had a surprising twist in the plot which I wasn't prepared for, but which made sense when I thought about it. Trying to identify the murderer is always part of the fun in reading Margaret Maron's books. I do enjoy the Deborah Knott mysteries by Margaret Maron. I like the closeness between the members of Deborah and Dwight's families. This novel had a surprising twist in the plot which I wasn't prepared for, but which made sense when I thought about it. Trying to identify the murderer is always part of the fun in reading Margaret Maron's books.

  24. 4 out of 5

    S.

    I hate this series is coming to an end! I love Deborah Knott and her family stories. Margaret Marin has portrayed North Carolina and the lifestyles very well, making the stories feel a part of your day. These books are ones to treasure!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    I almost gave up on this book. I was listening to it on CD's in the car, and so there was a lot of time in between the times I listened. I had a hard time keeping up with all of the names and situations in this book, because of the way I listened. I almost gave up on this book. I was listening to it on CD's in the car, and so there was a lot of time in between the times I listened. I had a hard time keeping up with all of the names and situations in this book, because of the way I listened.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Annoying. I give up. I dont know who the characters are since this is first book i read of hers and my library dont have the first book (why have later ones who knows). Its just too-too much on details with lame conversations. Which i was excited since it is set in places close to where i live.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Buxton

    C. fiction, mystery, traffic deaths, judge, sheriff, married couple, series, (Deborah Knott novels, # 16). Had not realized this was part of a series. Am sure it would have helped to sort out the characters if this hadn't been the 16th in the series. C. fiction, mystery, traffic deaths, judge, sheriff, married couple, series, (Deborah Knott novels, # 16). Had not realized this was part of a series. Am sure it would have helped to sort out the characters if this hadn't been the 16th in the series.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I don't think it was really solvable, but easy, fluid writing, a well-drawn setting, and strong characters make Maron worth reading. I don't think it was really solvable, but easy, fluid writing, a well-drawn setting, and strong characters make Maron worth reading.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    A good story. Audio version well read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Walworth

    good

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