FAYE DASEN: Judge Knott Returns in Maron's Latest Book
North Carolina resident Margaret Maron brings back Judge Deborah Knott in "Death's Half Acre" (Grand Central, 2008, $24.99).
I always look forward to catching up with Deborah's life -- along with the delightful mystery that always goes along with that update.
Greedy developers try to buy up land in Colleton County to "pave paradise and put up a parking lot," as the old Joni Mitchell song says. (And yes, young people, I know that Counting Crows also had a hit with that song, but Joni wrote it.)
Candace Bradshaw married up and made something of her cleaning business. She's on the planning commission and looking to go further up the political ladder. That's why the idea of her killing herself is so ludicrous -- but the note appears to be in her handwriting.
The editor of the local paper is also dead, the victim of a hit-and-run accident. Deborah wonders if his death was really what it seems.
Deborah sets her mind to solving that mystery as well as another thing that is puzzling her -- why her father is flashing expensive jewelry in the pawn shop.
I love all of the characters in the series, even the ones who aren't always so pleasant. I'm looking forward to the next book, "Sand Sharks," due out next year.
"Pelham Fell Here" (Mundania Press, 2008, $12) is the third of Ed Lynskey's gritty mystery series.
Protagonist Frank Johnson discovers that his cousin, Cody, has been murdered by a 12-gauge shotgun.
Frank finds himself in over his head when he is attacked by two deputy sheriffs -- and he murders them in self-defense. Now on the run, he discovers that a group of Neo-Nazis may be to blame.
Some readers may recall that Roberta Isleib set one of her earlier books in Pinehurst. Her latest book, "Asking for Murder" (Berkley Prime Crime, 2008, $6.99), features the further adventures of Dr. Rebecca Butterman, a psychologist and advice columnist who somehow manages to get mixed up with criminals.
Rebecca's friend Annabelle Hart, also a therapist, is badly beaten and left for dead, and whether the police want her help or not, Rebecca is determined to give it to them.
As Rebecca takes on some of Annabelle's patients, she begins to worry that there is a connection.
I've enjoyed all of Isleib's books.
Another one of my favorite series is by Mary Daheim. "Vi Agra Falls" (William Morrow, 2008, $23.95) is no exception.
Judith Flynn, who runs Hillside Manor, a bed-and-breakfast, must face the fact that her husband's first wife, Vivian, is moving in two doors away with her new husband, Billy. It seems that Vivian was actually married to Billy's father, who has died at the age of 88, and she's been left in pretty good shape financially.
Everything seems all right for a while, but when Vivian announces that she is going to convert the property next to hers into condos, the neighborhood is up in arms.
And other family members have decided to contest their father's will, so of course, they are staying at Hillside Manor.
Naturally Judith and her cousin, Renie, find themselves in the midst of mayhem and murder.
Daheim is the author of the Alpine mystery series.
Contact Faye Dasen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 693-2475.
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