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Southern Discomfort (Deborah Knott Mysteries #2)

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  2,500 Ratings  ·  124 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 January 29th 2008 by Mysterious Press (first published 1993)
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Mary Ronan Drew
Feb 21, 2013 Mary Ronan Drew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 10, 2012 Ana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 24, 2010 Jerry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 22, 2011 Kristen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
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
“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
Sep 15, 2012 Maeve Maddox rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
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
Oct 05, 2012 Kari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
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
Kilian Metcalf
Mar 23, 2013 Kilian Metcalf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Deborah Pickstone
4.5 stars

The characterisation and secondary characters in this series are what I hoped to meet from reading the hype around Lindsay Davis' Marco Didius Falco series, which I found very disappointing and one-dimensional. Maron, on the other hand, is a treasure of a writer, creating delightful people to fill a small town in Carolina with murder and mayhem and with a dry sense of humour permeating throughout! It's the 'down home' chit chat that makes this series special
Mandy anderson
this book is light and fluffy, similar to the cat/cooking mysterys but slightly better. clean too. I would read another ( unlike cat/ cook mystery's lol)
Nov 06, 2016 Davidg rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Here are a couple of mysteries. How did four American books by a relatively obscure US writer (at least in the U.K.) end up in the secondhand bookshop of a National Trust stately house? How is a book classified as a mystery when no crime is discovered until halfway through what is a very short book?

This is the first of this series of books that I have read (book 1 wasn't in the shop). There are an awful lot of names in the opening chapters, as Judge Knott takes up her new role and you wonder how
Nov 29, 2016 Pat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have thoroughly enjoyed this audio version. I did also enjoy the interview at the very end of the book when Margaret Maron discusses her writing and how it began. Despite my having grown up in Pennsylvania, I have resided in the South for over 30 years. I am so close to this particular area of the country, I feel more attuned to some of the things mentioned by the author. The food, the landscape, the people.
So far, I have thoroughly enjoyed this series but also intend to check out Margaret's
Sylvia Dugan
Jan 05, 2017 Sylvia Dugan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an early book in the series featuring Deborah Knott. We are introduced to her extended family and the people in the town as Deborah works to solve the mystery of who is poisoning people and why. The characters are interesting and the plot which revolves around women building a house for a poor single mother and children develops nicely and involves the reader in the who-done-it part of the story very well.
Rita Beyers
Jan 16, 2017 Rita Beyers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure why I haven't read Margaret Maron's books earlier. They are fantastic murder mysteries.
Dec 02, 2016 Angela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
amazing twists and turns
After I read The Bootlegger's Daughter for the first time, I read each of the Deborah Knott series as soon as I could get my hands on a book. I probably will not re-read them just because of the limited number of years left to me for reading, but I'm sure that if I did I would enjoy them just as much. If you have not read this series, you are in for a treat. I particularly like the way Deborah's character grows and changes throughout the series.
I'm getting hooked on this series of mysteries...really enjoyed Southern Discomfort.

From Amazon:
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 WomenAid, is at the reception, too. Not only has
Jul 15, 2015 Danie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: myst-thrill
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
-(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
Aug 08, 2016 Cooper rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really really want to like this series. Judge Knott is a great character and enjoy her crazy family.

But this mystery left me a little wishful that Ms. Maron had spent as much time on the ending as she did on the beginning.

Deborah Knott has just become a district judge and we get a birds eye view of her new life. Now an elected official, Judge Knott is helping a local organization build a house for a single mother and her two kids. And from there, things go terribly wrong. Family emergencies f
Although I enjoyed listening to this 2nd book of the series, I didn't think that it was quite as good as her first Deborah Knott mystery, The Bootlegger's Daughter. In fact, it's almost a stretch to call it a mystery in my opinion. There are some mysterious goings on but the book's overall content is a little "light" on mystery elements. In this story, Deborah becomes a district judge and is helping build housing for battered women. Each chapter actually starts out with a "construction" term and ...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
Barbara M
I like this series. Deborah Knott is now a judge, appointed to replace Judge Perry whose good ole boy rulings used to drive her crazy. Judge Perry has died rather suddenly after a stroke he seemed to be recovering from.

Deborah is sworn in at a large reception where she is also lassoed into working on the Women's Aid house for a local family. We are introduced to her brother Herman and his daughter Annie Sue and her two best friends who play a role through out this story. Deborah has a lot of br
Richard Brand
Sep 08, 2016 Richard Brand rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took a very long time to get to a mystery and we moseyed along and there seemed to be little evidence that helped Deborah solved this problem. You had to accept that teenage girls and best friends do a lot of things together and care for each other in dramatic ways, but it was a good story and you had to know that Maron had used the smoldering grudge plot in Uncommon Clay so that to use it again at the Coffee Pot might be a little too much. This is still a fun series to read.
Sep 12, 2016 Diana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Second book in the Deborah Knott Mysteries series by Margaret Maron. If you like Sue Grafton, you'll love Margaret Maron.
Jean Poulos
The book is a perceptive, gently satirical look at human behavior during a period of social change besides being a suspenseful mystery. Deborah Knott has survived her first week on the bench as a judge. On the weekend she is helping the local women’s shelter build a new house. As the story progresses she finds her niece Annie Sue bruised and unconscious at the building site, the building inspector dead, the hammer Deborah had been using nearby and her brother, Annie Sue’s father, collapsed nearb ...more
Jun 27, 2012 Josephine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
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
Mar 31, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
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
Feb 16, 2011 Janice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
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
Aug 13, 2011 Blaire rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Deborah Knott Mysteries (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • Bootlegger's Daughter (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #1)
  • Shooting at Loons (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #3)
  • Up Jumps the Devil (Deborah Knott Mystery, #4)
  • Killer Market (Deborah Knott Mysteries #5)
  • Home Fires (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #6)
  • Storm Track (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #7)
  • Uncommon Clay (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #8)
  • Slow Dollar (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #9)
  • High Country Fall (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #10)
  • Rituals of the Season (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #11)

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