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Death's Half Acre (Deborah Knott Mysteries) [Mass Market Paperback]

Margaret Maron
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 4.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 307 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044661808X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446618083
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 10.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 468,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old-Fashioned Justice 1 Sep 2009
By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter." -- Isaiah 59:14

Death's Half Acre is as much social satire as it is a murder mystery, and the social satire is better written than the mystery. If you can forget about the mystery, you'll probably like the book better than I did. I thought that the mystery was a bit too easy to solve and much of the plot development was too predictable.

But there are plenty of scenes to entertain you, beginning with a most unexpected one in church. As usual, the good ole boys don't have much trouble dealing with the newcomers. Deborah also holds her own in some Solomon-like justice for those in her court. Deborah's father is at his secretive best . . . in dealing with what needs to be resolved.

The book is steeped in charm and nostalgia for an earlier, simpler South. If you yearn for those days in North Carolina, Death's Half Acre will be like a vacation into your past.
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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  37 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Southern Living and Dying 13 Aug 2008
By Heidi Anne Heiner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This isn't Maron's strongest book, but it's a solid entry in the series. The villain was more obvious than usual. It's not telegraphed, but it was my early pick. However, I don't read these books for puzzle solving. I read them for characters and the setting. Still, the procedures, politics and such make the books more about the characters learning who the murderer is than the reader finding it out with plenty of slices of life along the way.

First of all, I like Deborah and Dwight married. Deborah's quit going from man to man, bad choice to bad choice, to a good man. There's chemistry there which I enjoy. I like that they work in conjunction in solving the mystery and that multiple viewpoints are offered, beyond their two, too.

I also appreciate the Southern setting where there's an array of Southern characters, all true and faithful to their setting, but they never become caricatures. So many series, especially cozies, rely on caricature and stereotypes. Sometimes Maron's villains might lean towards that problem, but they still fail to fall into the mark. (I don't consider Maron a cozy writer, either, although she's clean and circumspect enough to fit in that market.)

The plot summary can be read on the cover or Amazon, but Maron always offers up food for thought, too. This time she explores an old-fashioned church congregation where women are subjugated as well as the building and population booms in once rural areas. Even when we don't like characters, we can find some sympathy with them, at least most of them. The possible villains in this one were played a little less sympathetic than usual for Maron. Still, there is respect and understanding of the culture and its occupants. Everyone feels real, many would make wonderful friends. And once a year, when I get to read a new Maron novel, they are. My only disappointment is that the book wasn't longer!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best in the series 1 Sep 2008
By Dr. Cathy Goodwin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Once again, Margaret Maron writes a compelling mystery with all the right ingredients: a strong believable heroine, a suspenseful plot, a strong sense of place and even a few touches of humor. Luckily I set aside some time on a rainy weekend. It's not a book I can put down easily.

Fans of Deborah Knott will be relieved to find that Deborah's marriage has not weakened the series. We don't get drowned in domestic details but we see glimpses of Deborah enjoying the challenges and rewards of her new roles as wife, stepmother and dog owner. She's caught up in the dynamic economy of North Carolina and the plot details are firmly grounded in 21st century technology and culture.

The plot has been summarized elsewhere. I didn't feel the solution was given away (or else I'm particularly dense) but the ending was consistent, believable and totally satisfying.

As other reviewers noted, Maron has a gift for creating characters who are neither angels nor devils. We might raise an eyebrow at some actions of the "good guys" and it's hard not to be sorry for the villains as they're carted off to jail, served with lawsuits or (in one delightful subplot) simply outwitted by a cunning old-timer.

This series has become one of my favorites. I look forward to each volume and get withdrawal pangs when I finish and realize there's a long wait for the next.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Developments in the Case 17 Aug 2008
By Miz Ellen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Real estate is at the heart of this novel, the 14th in the Deborah Knott series. Like other places in the South, Margaret Maron's fictional Colleton County has enjoyed/suffered a real estate boom bringing new suburb into direct conflict with the old way of life in the rural South. Judge Deborah Knott sees these conflicts play out in her courtroom every working day.

Candace Bradshaw was trailer park trash but she married old money and has parlayed a cleaning service into wealth. Separated from her much older husband and former boss, she's been sleeping her way into political influence and a seat on the planning commission. No one quite believes it when she's found dead, an apparent suicide, but the note in her handwriting implies that she's been taking kickbacks from developers and everyone can believe that!

Deborah is also bothered over the death of the editor to the local paper. He was a victim of a hit-and-run accident months ago, and the police were unable to trace the car. Since then, the local paper has lost its investigative and muckraking edge. Deborah's also worried by her father's strange behavior. Where did he get the jewelry he was showing in the pawn shop?

The one weakness in this book is that we get less of Deborah's first-person narrative. This is because Maron is being fair to the reader, and telling us what Deborah doesn't know. Now what Deborah doesn't find out won't hurt her, but it makes the reader laugh out loud.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Death's Half Acre 28 Dec 2008
By egreetham - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A likable, if not stellar, entry in Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott series. Definitely worth reading more for the atmosphere than for the predictable plot--the conflict between Colleton county natives and the ever-multiplying newcomers is intersting and colorful. But the poetic epigrams at the chapter heads were of irritatingly poor quality, Deborah's eternal imprudence at the climax of these stories continues to strain the reader's belief, and the tales of corruption just plod along. I hope the next Deborah Knott novel is back on track. If you haven't ready any as yet, consider the wonderful first of the series: "Bootlegger's Daughter."

Kindle readers: note that Kindle skips a short introductory portion, and goes directly to Chapter 1. The skipped part is important, so it's worth going back.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT BOOK 11 Nov 2008
By Annette Sauls - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
AGAIN, MRS. MARON DOES A GREAT JOB OF KEEPING YOUR INTEREST THROUGH OUT THE BOOK. SHE MAKES YOU FEEL THAT YOU KNOW THE CHARACTERS AND ARE A FRIEND AND NEIGHBOR FOR A SHORT TIME. ENJOY
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