Southern Discomfort (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #2)
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Southern Discomfort (Deborah Knott #2)

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3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  1,756 ratings  ·  80 reviews
Deborah Knott may have lost the district election, but a bigoted judge's sudden death - and some old-fashioned political horse trading - have won her a governor's appointment. True to Southern form, her swearing-in is followed by a raucous reception that brings out every elderly aunt and cousin in the county. Unfortunately, Lu Bingham, the force behind WomanAid, is at the...more
Hardcover, 1st ed, 252 pages
Published June 1st 1993 by Mysterious Press (first published 1993)
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Mary Ronan Drew
Recently, and almost entirely by accident, I've been reading books set in rural Virginia and North Carolina. The best of them are this series of mysteries by Margaret Maron, featuring Judge Deborah Knott, a district judge in fictional Colleton County, North Carolina. The first book in the series, Bootlegger's Daughter, swept the prizes the year it was published (1992), but this second book, Southern Discomfort (1993) is to my mind even better. The plot, development of characters, and layers of s...more
Ana
I agree with Nicole, I need half stars! 3.5 stars. I picked up this series because it came highly recommended to me by a few people whose taste tends to coincide with mine. I enjoyed the setting and the characters, but to me this book was less mystery and more family story than I was was expecting (or maybe in the mood for). Fortunately, the family characters were interesting, I think I was just expecting Deborah to do more investigating, and for the tale to be more gripping. I suspect this is o...more
Jerry
Awesome settings, intriguing dialogue, but light on mystery...

If you've read Ms. Maron's 8-book Sigrid Harald series, you might well wonder if this is indeed the same author who has now given us (a coincidence?) 8 more in the Judge Deborah Knott collection. Sigrid is a straight-laced NYC detective whose psyche just starts to unfold by the end of the set. The stories focus on the crime (usually a murder in chapter one) and the police procedures involved in catching the crook. Little is done to r...more
Kristen
I really enjoyed this book, and I am THOROUGHLY enjoying the series. I stumbled upon it by accident and am very glad I did.

I have to say that while the first one only rated 4 stars, I gave the second one a solid 5 stars and am happily looking forward to the rest of the series.

First of all, it's set in North Carolina, which is an interesting part of the US. Second, the characters are really well-developed, and continue to evolve. There are enough of them that the world feels very populated, but...more
Maurean
“Southern Discomfort” is also the second installment of a series, following behind “Bootlegger’s Daughter” which won the Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards in 1992. This series centers on Deborah Knott, a former DA and now district judge in Colleton County, North Carolina. In this story, she is making good on a campaign promise to help build houses for battered women, and in doing so Knott discovers who assaulted her teenage niece and killed a randy building inspector inside the unfinis...more
Maeve Maddox
I started this book predisposed to like it, but started bogging down in what I thought was the first chapter but which I noticed afterwards was a prologue. The prologue is written from four points of view: a mocking bird, a woman whose father harbors sexual feelings for her, a trashy wife-beater, and "a thief."

Once I was past the prologue, I started to enjoy the story, but then I began noticing aberrations of grammar and usage. Can't help it, but that kind of thing distracts me, breaks the fict...more
Kari
I picked up the second book in this series because I was getting ready to go to a conference where the author was a keynote speaker. And I have found a new mystery series to enjoy!
Set in the rural piedmont of NC, Judge Deborah Knott is the central character, and I just fell in love with her easy-going style. I like the way the mystery gently unfolds, and the book is really more of a character sketch than a whodunit.
Each chapter is marked with an epigraph related to building a home, because the...more
Kilian Metcalf
I like the leisurely way she carries you into her setting before the murder occurs. No rushing, time for everything. Love her huge, extended family. One paragraph in the hospital waiting room had 17 named characters, plus children and cousins. This would be a major flaw in a writer less gifted, but the point she is making is that in an emergency there is a flood of family. The reader is expected to be overwhelmed by the numbers, but also comforted by the support they provide for one of their own...more
Jan
I thoroughly enjoyed the second Deborah Knott book - Southern Discomfort by Margaret Maron. Deborah has just been appointed a judge and is helping to build a local family a home, but someone has poisoned her brother Herman and local pets are disappearing. Now y'all know how I am about animal cruelty. Maron craftily resolves the pet story to Judge Knott's and my satisfaction. The poisoner may not be so easy to catch. I am so happy there are 19 books in this series. I hope Maron maintains the qual...more
Danie
Deborah Knott is now Judge Deborah Knott, but that hasn't stopped her life being full of interesting-ness and excitement. When she was campaigning for the Judge-ship she managed to promise (sort of) to help out with a Woman run sort of Habitat for Humanity, or at least Habitat for Dobbs. The organizer catches her and makes her follow through on her promise. One of her brothers gets sick, and then one of the building inspectors gets himself killed (with the hammer that Deborah had been using) and...more
Kellie
-(book #2 of the Deborah Knott series) This author definitely has a unique style of writing. This book has so many different aspects to it. First, let’s start with the obvious. There was mystery and suspense, although, the murder didn’t occur until Chapter 10. The protagonist, Deborah Knott, is from a large southern family of farmers. (Tobacco). She has just been inaugurated as a District Court Judge and the first several chapters are about her first few days in her new position. I will say, it...more
Joyce Lagow
Second in the Judge Deborah Knott series set in North Carolina.[return][return]Maron takes social issues and makes them very personal, usually through Knott's family, which is large enough and diverse enough to provide the characters and situations without seeming forced. In this book, the main issue is child molestation. However, the murder mystery is set against the background of a group of Cottton Grove women building a house for battered women; Knott promised during her election campaign to...more
Jennifer
As an eight-year-old, I was fascinated and horrified by news stories about Velma Barfield, who was executed in 1976 for poisoning six people with arsenic, including her husband, her mother, and several folks she served as a caretaker. Blanche Taylor Moore was convicted of similar crimes in 1990 and remains on Death Row today. These ladies are mentioned in the prologue to Southern Discomfort, setting us squarely in central North Carolina as an unnamed thief steals arsenic-laced ant poison from a...more
Josephine
Three stars for a decent cozy mystery, atmospheric enough to take me to North Carolina for a couple of hours but serious enough central issue (spousal abuse, child abuse) to cut the sweetness a bit.

...unfortunately, I have to subtract a star for the egregious sub-plot of the Asian yard man and his children who've been stealing pet dogs and eating them, as they cannot afford supermarket prices. Stopped me cold in the middle of the book! It has nothing to do with the rest of the book, so far as I...more
Lkelly6
Fun to read these books, but they seem to be all one-layer books. Henning Mankell, Donna Leon, and Craig Johnson -- to cite 3 authors -- always make the reader consider ideas, philosophy, morals, ethics, relationships on more levels than just the plot of their mysteries.

Maron should read these other books to consider adding complexity to hers.
Patty
Newly sworn in Judge Deborah Knott has a new job and many complications caused by her extended family. Niece Annie Sue along with her friends Cindy and Paige are at *that* age, 16 going on 35 and out to prove that they are all grown up and ready to experience life. Throw in a cocky male and trouble is brewing. When weird things start happening, including a rash of unexpected deaths, and Annie Sue's father (Deborah's brother) Herman comes up sick the wheels are in motion for Deborah to start unra...more
Deborah
For some reason this book frustrated me. I felt as if the explanation of the clues to the mystery were arbitrarily explained in one big jumble.
Janice
Deborah Knott has just started her job as district judge when she becomes part of a murder investigation. While helping to build houses for battered women, she finds a her teenage niece has been nearly raped at the job site and the attacker murdered with Deborah's hammer (which also has her fingerprints on it).

Fun to visit with Deborah and her family, from her bootlegger father to the myriad of brother, sister-in-laws, nieces, nephews and extended family. A town where if you're not related to s...more
Alasandra Alawine
Hated Southern Discomfort by Margaret Maron - I didn't like the Second Deborah Knott Mystery. When Judge Deborah discovers that Mr. Ou and his family have been stealing and eating neighborhood pets she merely tells him not to do it anymore. I find this unacceptable, would she have turned a blind eye if he had been kidnapping children and eating them! I think not!!!!! Our pets deserve better then a judge who thinks merely telling a cat and dog killer not to do it is OK. And it is all Deborah's fa...more
LJ
SOUTHERN DISCOMFORT - Okay
Maron, Margaret - 2nd in series

New lady judge Deborah Knott ( Bootlegger's Daughter ) threads her way through the intricacies of district court in a small North Carolina town where familial connections abound. Murder rears its ugly head only after shared family stories and relationships establish a stylistic context. Employing her intimate knowledge of the place, Knott discovers who assaulted her teenage niece and killed a randy building inspector inside an unfinished W...more
Blaire
Like the first book in the series, I found the setting to be the strongest part of this book. The weak writing bothered me, though. I think one of the measures of good writing is transparency (the author disappears; think Shakespeare). The protagonist has 2 inner voices: "the preacher" and "the pragmatist" who appear from time to time to give voice to the protagonist's inner dialog. The device is clumsy, unnecessary, and amateurish. The interactions between the characters, including the dialog,...more
Babs
This one was a bit slow. At first, it appears nothing happens until halfway through the book. (You find out that’s not quite true until much later in the book.)

This was bit of a disappointment; a tiny disappointment, but still a disappointment. I still like Judge Deborah though. She is still an interesting character to me. Her family and related family is interesting too, though I can’t keep up and wrap my head around some of the connections.

The suspense picks up though it was satisfying in the...more
Kathy  Petersen
Arsenic and several surprises deliver a good story in Judge Knott's new district.
Ginny
I love the characters in this series, especially Deborah Knott and I have now completed the next two books in the order they were written. Though Margaret Maron is excellent in describing the North Carolina landscape and habits of the people, the plot gets a little bogged down in her nostalgia of the region. Also, there are so many characters it is a bit difficult to keep up with who's who. Overall, it is a light, easy read and if you're from the south the descriptions will bring you to your own...more
Wanda
Have read several other books in this serious and it was nice to go back to the beginning and see how the judge started out. Liked the concept of women getting together and doing such a huge project like building a house for others. It shows compassion, ability and community. Liked the story line showing how the act of incest can destroy a young life in so many different ways. Also shows conflicts within a family and how acting out can be overdone and cause damage. Very enjoyable. Look forward t...more
Caitlin
In this, the second Judge Deborah Knott book, Deborah is finding out all that life on the bench entails. In between judging cases, Deborah finds it takes a bit of work to keep up her image and secure votes for the fall election. Things get suspicious when more than one man in town turns up ill or dead with arsenic poisoning and some of the girls in town are pushed to grow up quicker than Deborah might like. I enjoyed "Southern Discomfort" and look forward to the next Deborah Knott book.
Cam
Sophomore effort in the Deborah Knott series seems slimmer than it should have been. Animals, and Dads and husbands, are dying and somehow the Judge gets tied up in it all when helping build a house. Her niece and two friends run into trouble with a local married man & one of her brothers goes to the hospital after a serious arsenic poisoning. So, who dunnit? And who killed the louse? And all the pets? Still enjoyable, but not as compelling as the debut effort in the series.
Jill
It's nice to find a Southern mystery in which the heroine is neither antebellum-dainty nor trailer trash - just a normal modern woman at odds with her traditional family and struggling to find a love life while getting swept up in a demanding career. Deborah Knott solves crimes, yes, but what she really wants to do is to serve the judicial needs of her neighbors and stay out of trouble. She's an endearing everywoman with an extraordinary job. I'm gobbling up this series.
Jean Perry
This is my first Moran/Judge Knott book, but i'll go back for more. I like her casual, easy narrative style. I can identify w/ her small-town, family-all-around environment. I didn't read the Bootlegger's Dgt, which was the first in the series. I'm a little concerned that she'll have to introduce all those brothers and that family in every book - hope not, that could be frustrating, but she'll have to explain them somehow. It was a quick, fun read.
Sandy Weir
Oct 10, 2011 Sandy Weir rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Susan and you
The southern family and hospitality (along with the old language usage) are so-o-o comfortable that the reader is almost half way through the book before the "mystery" really presents. Thoughtful chapter header quotes on building construction were surprisingly education and good compliment to the overall theme. Well done, but the later books seem to get better and better!
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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 pres...more
More about Margaret Maron...
Bootlegger's Daughter (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #1) Shooting at Loons (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #3) Up Jumps the Devil (Deborah Knott, #4) Hard Row (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #13) Uncommon Clay (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #8)

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