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Bootlegger's Daughter [Mass Market Paperback]

Margaret Maron
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jun 1993
Attorney Deborah Knott is running for district judge in good-old-boy-ruled Colleton County, N.D.

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books; later printing edition (Jun 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446403237
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446403238
  • Product Dimensions: 17.1 x 10.4 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,121,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
His green-and-vermilion topknot was as colorful as a parrot's, and in Colleton County's courtroom that afternoon, with its stripped-down modern light oak benches and pale navy carpet, a cherryhead parrot couldn't have looked much more exotic than this Michael Czarnecki. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Margaret Maron is no newcomer to mystery writing but this was the first in the series featuring Deborah Knott, a locally grown attorney running for District Judge and as the sole female candidate in a Southern old-boy-network, she will have her work cut out. Her campaign is derailed when a call from her past embroils her in an 18 year old murder, still unsolved. Her neighbours and family not only know everyone's business but have long memories and as she and Gayle, the murdered woman's daughter, find out, someone does not want them resurrecting the old case.
This is a determined woman who cares for justice, her own morality and doing what is right - but Ms Maron writes with such a light hand, Deborah and her family and friends come to life with a snide humour and humanity that is a joy to read. The story scoots along at a good clip, for all it seems to be as leisured and relaxed as the pace of the small town she lives in, and the solution to the puzzle, although not telegraphed, seems a natural progression of all that went before.
With this series, Margaret Maron has kept up the quality I came to so thoroughly enjoy with ther Sigrid Harald series and the other Deborah Knott books I have read. Give yourself a treat and catch up on what is a most enjoyable well written series.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is not a fast paced or action filled novel. It is a novel about a Deborah Knott, a lawyer in South Carolina who wants to be a judge. This is an elected post and as she campaigns she is asked by a young woman to look into the death of her mother when she was a baby. The joy of this book is not in the plot but in the description of Deborah's character, family and environment.

Deborah's father was a bootlegger (making and selling alcohol without paying tax) in the past and this affects others' views of her despite his current, respectable occupation growing tobacco. Gayle's whole life has been affected by her mother's death and she needs to find out what has happened to allow her to make choices about her future. This is a story about things from the past affecting the present, including putting Deborah's life in danger as she investigates.

The plot is clever enough but what makes this book stand out are the descriptions of the physical environment and the characterisations of the local people. The author makes this Southern town seem very real, she inhabits it with recognisable and often flawed people and sets it in a stunning landscape which she describes with real love. The campaign and the murder mystery are almost an excuse to tell a tale about Deborah, her family and friends, and her home. The author doesn't flinch from heavy issues either, there is plenty here about sexism, homophobia and racism but all shown within the context of the story.

This is an engaging book. The story telling is well done, and the characterisation and desciptions of the area are particularly compelling. Very enjoyable indeed.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  92 reviews
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Transplanted English cosy,with Southern setting 18 Dec 2001
By F. J. Harvey - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Crime novels set in the American South seem in general to have more in common with the traditional English "golden age"novel than with the grittier works of their Yankee counterparts and this is a good illustration
A gentle rather meandering read it is a pleasant rather than engrossing mystery in which Deborah Knott a local Carolina attorney is seeking a judgeship but finds her campaign rather sidelined by the necessity to investigate an ages old mystey,at the request of a young family member.The case uncovers family secrets best kept hidden,in the eyes of many
Deborah is a likeable protagonist and there is a strong sense of the importance and value of close familial ties.The changing face of the South in which attitudes to homosexuality and race are being re-evaluated provide an undercurrent to the development of the plot
I am more in favour of the hardboiled and street wise crime novel but Ms Maron has created an engaging and personable character and a series that is likely to prove to be a quiet pleasure Warmth is not a characteristic one finds regularly in the crime novel but it is present here in abundance,and for that reason alone I will stick with the series and urge lovers of the
"soft boiled"crime novel to give the Deborah Knott a try
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Writerly Southern Mystery 1 May 2004
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Although the rest of the series is more typically genre fiction, this book reads at least as much as a Southern novel of place and relationship as it is a murder mystery. I enjoyed Maron's skill in developing three-dimensional characters and evoking a setting so real I could smell the dogwood and barbecue sauce. I didn't mind the slow early pace because I enjoyed the likeable, complicated characters, the window into North Carolina culture and politics, and the plot that simmered enticingly until the heat poured on at the end.
I think the Judge Deborah Knott series in general is readable but uneven. And, if you are looking for a fast-paced mystery thriller, this might not be the right choice. However, this book stands well on its own as an excellent novel, engaging, complex, and beautifully written. It's one of the few mystery novels I've read more than once.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Female Lawyer Runs for open Judge Seat 13 Jun 2005
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
First book by Margaret Maron that I have read, and the first book in the Deborah Knott series (not counting the prequel). "Bootlegger's Daughter" is the winner of the Edgar, Anthony, Agatha, & Macavity Awards. There are currently eleven books in the series (including a prequel to "Bootlegger's Daughter" titled "Bloody Kin" and a collection of short stories).

Deborah is a female lawyer in Colleton County, North Carolina who has decided to run in the current judicial election (and is the daughter of a noted ex-bootlegger). While Deborah is running for said election, she has also been asked by a young woman that she used to babysit, Gayle Whitehead, to look into the death of that woman's mother, Jane Whitehead, 18 years ago. Gayle is less concerned with who killed her mother than as to why she was killed (not that she wouldn't like to know the killer).

The book opens with baby Gayle and dead mother Jane being discovered in a old mill (May 1972). Then quickly jumps up to the "present time" of April 1990. At the very beginning of the book, I was concerned that I might not like the main character, and some of the plot points and dialogue that came up. As I read further, though, the book grew on me, and by the end, I rather liked the main character. The main character, and a few others, are fully developed personalities, though the lessor characters can seem a little thin. The plot is solid, the mystery is well-designed and plausible, and the setting is well developed. Overall, I would give the book 4.40 stars.

- Michael S. Briggs -
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No wonder this one swept the awards. 25 Nov 2000
By Christina P. Branson - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Maron transports you to small-town North Carolina and introduces you around to some of the best developed characters in mystery fiction. Deborah Knott is definitely a good one to know, and it is interesting to watch her as she handles her personal and internal conflicts with style and wit.
In this beginning of the Deborah Knott series, a local teen seeks answers about her mother's death years ago, and Deborah has to delve into history that some locals would much prefer remain buried. It makes for an intriguing puzzle, and Maron places the clues fairly. Maron also treats the reader to an examination of small-town dynamics that affect not only Knott's political race to become a judge, but could put a new face on her personal and family relationships as well.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this one! 26 May 2000
By Helen - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a great book. The author won numerous prizes for this book and I can see why. For Deborah Knott there is a decades old mystery to solve, an election campaign to fight, and a huge family of brothers to love and support. Read this one - the plot and "whodunnit" is not as important as the characters you will read about on the way.
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