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Uncivil Seasons (Justin & Cuddy #1)
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Uncivil Seasons (Justin and Cuddy #1)

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  518 ratings  ·  58 reviews

The polite Piedmont town of Hillston, North Carolina, wants to go on believing it is still too temperate to require homicide experts. But when the wife of a state senator is found beaten to death, the inner circle of Hillston's ruling families arranges to have the case assigned to Detective Justin Savile, the charming black sheep of the dynasty that founded the town.


Paperback, 368 pages
Published July 1st 2002 by Constable and Robinson (first published 1983)
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I can't do this book, or this three book series so far, justice. From the first page you are hooked. Malone's use of the English language is beautiful to read. I am humbled by his mastery of prose. There are several contemporary writers who make me feel that way. That would be enough to make me recommend a book, with reservations. Malone, however, delivers in every other way. His lead characters, Justin Savile V and Cuddy Mangum, police detectives in a small North Carolina college town, are enga ...more
In Hillston, North Carolina, Justin Savile, police detective, dipsomaniac, and black sheep of the ruling plutocracy of the town, partners with fast-talking, lower-class Cuddy Mangum to investigate the beating death of the wife of a state senator (his uncle). A petty thief is found with her stolen silver, but it doesn’t add up, and Justin starts uncovering some secrets that the family would rather keep hidden.

Written in a playful, stylish, literate tone, this is a delightful mystery, an actual wh
The cover of Uncivil Seasons by Michael Malone caught my interest in a display at my library. It is the first book in a “much more than a mystery” series featuring two police officers named Justin and Cuddy. I was impressed by what I read about the author’s body of work. He has won a number of awards – an Edgar, an O. Henry, a Writers Guild Award and an Emmy. He’s written short stories and both serious and comic novels. He was also head writer for a popular daytime television series (One Life to ...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in June 2004.

Over the last few months, I have suddenly started seeing and hearing the name of Michael Malone, basically out of the blue. Because of this, I assumed that he was a novelist who had taken up his pen relatively recently, and so was a little surprised to find out how old this novel, the first in a series set in Hillston in North Carolina, actually is. Apart from anything else, it is reminiscent of other more recent crime writers, particular Jeffery
Jim Leckband
Many of Malone's titles reference quotations from other literary works (Handling Sin, The Delectable Mountains, Or, Entertaining Strangers), but for the life of me I can't find the source for this title. The phrase "Uncivil Seasons" has a Shakespearean ring to it, and the main character was Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream - but I can't find the smoking gun anywhere. Hmmpphh.
Jennifer Sowle
This is a fantastic read. It combines a slow, unhurried southern style with passages of pure lyrical poetry that make me pause and re-read, pause again and contemplate how Malone came up with the imagery and why I can’t ever think of such cool metaphors. And all this superb writing in a whodunit murder mystery with two police detectives as the main characters. Justin and Cuddy are the high points of the book, each sharply drawn and given equal time, but the ancillary characters are also well dev ...more
This is the first book I've read by Michael Malone. I really liked it: the characters, setting, and story were all of a solid piece and all well constructed. There are a couple minor scenes where some inconsequential (and pretty tame) violence felt forced on the story, but otherwise things unfolded in a way that felt very natural.

Detective Justin Savile, our narrator and protagonist, is part of the social inner circle of Hillston, North Carolina. Bred for law and perhaps politics, he breaks from
Deon Stonehouse
. Most of Michael Malone’s body of work is literary fiction, he has written only three mysteries set in North Carolina. Uncivil Seasons is the first of the trilogy. Justin Savile’s family ruled as far back as memory served, his granddaddy was the governor, his uncle a senator, his cousin the attorney general. Justin was meant to finish law school then join his family in the halls of power. He graduated law school but instead of joining his powerful clan he developed a taste for alcohol and becam ...more
In my book, Michael Malone makes for a pleasant read, even when it comes to homicide. His language is crisper, his descriptions richer, his characterizations amusing, the dialogues more believable and his plots generally far more sophisticated than the usual run-of-the-mill murder mysteries that I have recently ripped through. This book, like the other Malone books that I have read, does not disappoint. The action, set in North Carolina, smacks of Southern charm and Old-World codes of honor inte ...more
I've just re-read all three of this series. Hillston, despite being a composite of three towns, is where I have lived for my entire adult life. These mysteries are excellent and are just as viable as they were when published.
J Reed Rich

Wonderful voice, mystery, and characters. A little high-falutin phrases here and there, but still beautifully written. I'm definitely going to read the second in the series.
Really enjoyed the complex (for these times of mystery writers) dialogue. Again, in 1972 we had no techno gadgets to solve crimes, so it was good sleuthing to get someone to talk.
I liked this one the least of Malone's books so far, but towards the end, I saw more of the kinds of writing that I like him for--more complexity in the characters, more nuance in their relationships. Mostly, I think that the friendships Malone depicts are among my favorite elements of his work, and I do like that here too--it's just a bit more opaque.

One of the questions I have is about his choice to have this book narrated by one character and the next book in the series (which I actually read
This was really closer to 3 1/2 stars than 3. I liked his setting, his characters and the story line. I was, however, a little distracted by what appeared to be, in my opinion, an unnecessary obsession with commas and the semi-colon. In fact, I can't recall another author with whom I am familiar, who is as fond of the semi-colon. As for commas, at one point I was compelled to stop and count the words in what appeared to be a really long sentence. It was. It contained 60 words. And one sentence l ...more
Julie Whelan
I read this book looking for more insight into southern culture and with Handling Sin one of my favorite reads. This did not have the timeless themes of Handling Sin but it was a good read. The friction between the lower and upper classes, and political nepotism in a North Carolina mill town are the backdrop. The two main characters, Jamie Savile and Cuddy, both police detectives in Hillston exemplify this polarity and overcome it. One highlight is the delightful conversations full of word play ...more
Tom Cruver
Love this trilogy. The Justin and Cuddy books are so fun to read and very different from each other.
Mary Baker
I enjoyed Uncivil Seasons. It was a good mystery with interesting characters.
Rachael Mcdonnell
Michael Malone has become one of my current favorite authors...If you have not tried him yet, I say jump on in. I don't think you will be disappointed. I will say, that at first, I had to get use to his writing style but once I delved into one of his stories everything just flowed.
Uncivil Seasons is first in a series of mysteries...I think there are three, but it is not just a simple mystery. It's a small town, politics, secrets and family. I am already looking for the second book. Enjoy! :)
I think Michael Malone deserves to be a more well-known author. He has great characters and terrific dialogue, and this book did not disappoint. It's a story concerning a death in a small town in North Carolina with plenty of southern manners and family intrigue. Although it's a relatively short book (274 pages), it's not a quick read as there are multiple plot lines and many characters to keep track of. The mystery kept me guessing until the end.
Abby Runk
I really enjoyed the first book in this series. It has the 3 things I like in an easy read, mystery, a little romance, and small town life. Michael Malone did a good job making the characters relate and filling you in on the background history of the town and people. When I finished reading the book I immediately started the 2nd one so I always think that is a good sign.
Barb Hansen
I had never read this author before and found myself really enjoying the book, his style and the the characters. The story has quite a few characters so it can be challenging at times to keep everyone straight but worth the effort. It's an interesting mystery, with some good blind alleys, twists and turns. I'll likely read more of his now.
This book really sneaks up on you. Malone captures you with quick-witted dialogue and crisp, descriptive prose. But it took me a while to realize that I was hooked; thinking about the characters in my dreams and wondering what would happen next to them. I VERY much enjoyed it and cannot wait to read the other Justin & Cuddy stories.
I really liked these characters, flaws and all. They rang true, which I think is more important than plots twists and inventions. If the people don't seem real, it doesn't matter where the story goes. This story had plot and understandable characters. Even the town has "character". A great find.
Mary Frances
Reread this after some years. Malone still satisfies- characters and stories rich with local color, humor and depth, though I do think the resolution of one of the mysteries is a mite improbable. But I love Justin, Cuddy and Alice, and as with all books in the series that's what matters.
Jul 12, 2011 Jackie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
Guess what? Also the south! And another well written mystery. Part of a trilogy. A woman took them off a shelf at the BPL book sale and handed them to me saying, these are really good and the whole set is here. This was good. Will report on others when I get there.
This could be considered a mystery, as it involves murder and a homicide detective, but it is so much more. The writing is beautiful and the complexities and depth of the characters and their relationships--I feel like I really know these people.
I love Michael Malone. While it is in the general mystery genre, he writes so much better than that would indicate; his character development is great and his sense of setting (definitely a Southern writer) is super. What a fun read...
It's so nice to read a book where the characters are well developed, the story line is interesting, and the author has evident wit. Sometimes got a little too descriptive, but definitely worth the read.
I have never read this or any of Michael Malone's books, but I have personalized, autographed copies of this one and Handling Sin. He refused NOT to personalize them, like the big jerk I assume he is.
Michael Malone sets most of his books in North Carolina. This book is a mystery, but not all of his are. His characters have depth; his dialogue is colorful. I found this book entertaining and well written.
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Michael Malone is the author of ten novels, a collection of short stories, and two works of nonfiction. Educated at Carolina and at Harvard, he is now a professor in Theater Studies at Duke University. Among his prizes are the Edgar, the O. Henry, the Writers Guild Award, and the Emmy. He lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina, with his wife.
More about Michael Malone...

Other Books in the Series

Justin and Cuddy (3 books)
  • Time's Witness (Justin & Cuddy #2)
  • First Lady (Justin & Cuddy #3)
The Four Corners of the Sky Handling Sin The Last Noel Dingley Falls First Lady (Justin & Cuddy #3)

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