Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Home Fires (1998)

Home Fires (Deborah Knott Mysteries #6)Home Fires by Margaret Maron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“At a stop along her campaign trail, Judge Deborah Knott attends a community picnic at the Mt. Olive Church. When the historic building is destroyed by a fire shortly after the outing -- and the charred skeleton of a young man is found among the ashes -- Knott begins her own investigation into the tragedy.”

Bottom Line: Recommended for traditional mystery lovers. There are eighteen books in the series! Home Fires is #6.

Opening with the burning of a black church, author Margaret Maron skillfully draws us into the life of Judge Deborah Knott weaving together themes of lingering racism, family, small town living, and what it means to be a woman in the south.

Perfectly capturing the cadence of the lives and language of her characters, Maron is able to show how Judge Deborah Knott works to balance her judicial responsibilities with her dedication to a large extended family in West Colleton, North Carolina. When Deborah asks a question of a friend, the response sums up the small town knowledge people have. “Maidie frowned in concentration and I could almost see pages of genealogical data scrolling past her eyes.” 

Another quote that resonated with me was “. . .and after that, she didn’t come as much or stay as long.” 

You cannot help but be drawn in by the writing. And I suspect readers will learn new things about themselves as well. Maron has created a complex world for her characters and, no doubt, that has contributed to the many awards that have came her way.

Disclaimer: I treasure this copy of Home Fires, which was actually mailed to me by the author years ago after we met briefly at an American Library Association Conference. The ARC copy is actually entitled Home Fires Burning, but the title was changed by the time the book was formally published on January 1, 1998.

Title: Home Fires (Deborah Knott #6)
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Mysterious Press
No. of Pages: 243
Copyright: January 1, 1998
ISBN: 0892966556
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: ARC copy from the author

"Born and raised in central North Carolina, Margaret Maron lived in Italy before returning to the USA where she and her husband now live. In addition to a collection of short stories she's also the author of 16 mystery novels. Her works have been translated into seven languages her Bootlegger's Daughter, a Washington Post Bestseller won Edgar Anthony, Agatha, and Macavity awards. She is a past president of Sisters in Crime and of the American Crime writers' league, and a director on the national board for Mystery Writers of America." (Goodreads)

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