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Bootlegger's Daughter (A Deborah Knott Mystery, #1)
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Bootlegger's Daughter (Deborah Knott Mysteries #1)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,905 Ratings  ·  295 Reviews
This smart, sassy series introduces Deborah Knott, candidate for district judge--and daughter of an infamous bootlegger. Deborah's campaigning is interrupted when disturbing new evidence surrrounding a murder that has never been solved surfaces and she is implored to investigate.
Hardcover, 1st Ed, 260 pages
Published May 1st 1992 by Mysterious Press
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Mary Ronan Drew
Aug 16, 2015 Mary Ronan Drew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Bootlegger's Daughter was published in 1992 it won Dilys, Macavity, Anthony, and Edgar awards. That's an impressive record, so I borrowed the book from the library. I loved it, partly because it takes place in the area of North Carolina where I lived for some years and the author, who lives there also, has the local color perfect. Eating Carolina barbecue (with vinegar) and watching a Durham Bull's game on a warm summer evening, admiring the azaleas and dogwoods, big summer picnics with gue ...more
Feb 19, 2015 Shaun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
This was quite good for what it is. I enjoy mysteries, but they're not my absolute favorite relatively speaking (not their fault of course, but there are just so many books and so little time). Still, this was quite satisfying, and I can see why it swept the Mystery awards the year it came out.

The protagonist Deborah Knott has just enough moxy and sass to win your respect but also enough vulnerability and insecurity to keep her interesting. The other characters were also well-drawn and fun. Maro
Joyce Lagow
Apr 20, 2010 Joyce Lagow rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, knott
First book in Maron's series starring Deborah Knott, and set in eastern North Carolina farm country. The murder plot is actually almost a subset in the overall story of Knott's electoral race for District Judge.[return][return]Maron evokes what certainly appears to me (someone who has never spent any real time in North Carolina) both a sense of the place and a sense of the people. There are those of the "old" South--actively prejudied against blacks, from cops to judges and beyond--and then you ...more
Loved this book. Deborah Knott is running for District judge in a NC county. Daughter of the local bootlegger, she is well known in the community. When a girl she used to babsysit for asks her to look into her mother's death when she was a baby, she gets involved in very old secrets. The community flavor and characters are very believable and intersting. And I really like Deborah and wanted to cheer her on in the political race. This is a very good read and I cant beleive it took me so long to g ...more
Apr 28, 2015 Carmen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery fans
Recommended to Carmen by: Library
A good mystery book. The first in the Deborah Knott series. A good look at the South. I like the main character. She is realistic and not too sexy. She is intelligent. The only problem I had with the book is that there are about a billion characters and it's really hard to keep them all straight. Surprise ending. Very well-written. Main themes: discrimination against homosexuals, discrimination against women, discrimination against African-Americans.
Mar 15, 2012 Jake rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There is a good writer within Margaret Maron. Her dialogue is solid, her characters are three-dimensional, and her settings are vividly described. Unfortunately, I felt that she wasted far too much time talking about North Carolina high society (same issue I had with New Orleans Mourning) and too little talking about the mystery, which became kind of obvious after awhile. I'm probably shorting this book a star to be spiteful but I wanted a solid murder mystery, not a romp through lifestyles of t ...more
I'd read this book soon after it first came out, but my memory was a bit hazy, and in any case my "rules" for the Edgar Best Novel project include re-reading the books I've already read. It was a real treat to re-read this one, especially after reading the "prequel" (actually a stand-alone) Bloody Kin. I knew , having kept up with Judge Deborah Knott, that her character had grown and changed a lot over the years, but reading this book reinforced how much that was true. Deborah is 34 in this book ...more
Maron, Margaret - 1st in series

Deborah Knott is an attorney and the daughter of an infamous North Carolina bootlegger. Known for her knowledge of the region's past and popular with the locals, Deb is asked by 18-year-old Gayle Whitehead to investigate the unsolved murder of her mother Janie, who died when Gayle was an infant. While visiting the owner of the property where Janie's body was found, Deb learns of Janie's more-than-promiscuous past. Piecing together lost clu
Jul 24, 2014 Donna rated it it was ok
Shelves: criminal-mystery
I read this book because it was selected by my book club, though I'm still trying to figure out why they selected it. It is what you might call a cozy criminal mystery with an attorney playing private detective as a favor to someone she used to babysit for years ago. But I didn't find it too cozy a story with all the unlikable characters and their prejudices directed at people who were different from them in gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation.

This story takes place in North Carolina
Jean Poulos
This is book one in a series about attorney Deborah Knott, the daughter of an infamous North Carolina bootlegger. The book is supposed to mix a murder mystery and Southern politics together in a story. Knott is campaigning for a district court judgeship when an eighteen year old girl asks her to investigate the unsolved murder of her mother. This is a cold case as the murder took place about seventeen years ago. I learned a new expression in this story. The author used the term “yellow dog democ ...more
Sep 30, 2013 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
Exceptionally well written mystery - defines the term 'page turner'. So happy there are more in the series!
Deborah Pickstone
A very good read, excellently constructed and with sharp characterisation all round!
Jul 07, 2008 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott books take me to home to North Carolina
Randee Baty
This mystery has what many of the ones I've been reading lately have missed. Atmosphere, a mystery as the central part of the plot, and heart. Those things seem to be in short supply these days.

Deborah Knott is a southern attorney and decides that she wants to run for judge. Her father is the bootlegger in the title, obviously, which has interesting connotations for a law-and-order citizen like Deborah. A friend of Deborah's asks for Deborah's help to solve the 20 year old murder of the friend's
My first Margaret Maron mystery, and I loved it. Its a series set in North Carolina, with lots of "good old boys" and Southern sass, and a judge(Deborah Knott)that can keep up with all of them, smart, sassy, and strong. I'm reading the second book now, Southern Discomfort and enjoying it as much as the first book. Ms. Maron has a way with words, and a gifted storyteller.

From Amazon:
Deborah Knott was expected to be a conventional little girl and eventually a conventional woman, worshipped on a p
Lisa (Harmonybites)
A blurb inside by mystery writer Loren Estelman compared Maron to Flannery O'Connor, Hemingway and Faulkner. Another described the protagonist and first person narrator, Dorothy Knott, as Scout of To Kill a Mockingbird, all grown up. I don't think this book is in that league at all.

Yes, this is set in the American South, in North Carolina, and the author is good at choosing and using details to evoke that setting and in reproducing the rhythms of speech of that region. But all in all I'd say th
Jul 13, 2014 Jerry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Far more development than "Sigrid", classic Maron...

We have opined here and elsewhere that Margaret Maron is a fine enough writer to convey just about whatever mood, ideas, or setting she wishes. Despite that skill, her eight Sigrid Harald mysteries are a little dry -- skillful plots and good detective work seem to hold one's attention, but the entertainment factor is a little low. All that goes away with the 1992 debut of rural North Carolina's attorney (and judge wannabe) Deborah Knott. From
North Carolina in the 1970s still had strained relationships between black and whites. Opinions about gay lifestyles weren't something that was spoken about.

In 1977, two workingmen find the body of a murdered woman and her small child, who was still alive.

In 1990, defense attorney, Deborah Knott, sees legal injustice by a judge in his courtroom. His prejudice against blacks was so obvious that Deborah decided to run against the judge in the upcoming elections.

Jed Whitehead is a childhood friend
Kevin Kern
I read this book 20 years ago and enjoyed it as much this time, as then. The characters are well drawn and fun. The landscape catches you and you feel the weather. Maron is a great mystery writer and a fun, quick read. I am going to re-read the whole series, interspersed with other books. I probably only read up to #8, maybe 10, before. Thank you, my OCD reader friend, for making me start again.
After reading this first-in-a-series mystery by Margaret Maron, I'm a new fan. Set in North Carolina and featuring spunky attorney and wanna-be district judge Deborah Knott, the story about her search for the solution to a 20 year old murder of a woman she once babysat for is a good one, filled with wit as well as interesting characters. It was a fun way to spend a few hours of reading.
Oct 11, 2015 Leslie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Meh. More like 2.5 stars. I just wasn't that into it. Thought the main character was kinda dull and that the author tried too hard to inject Southern cham into the writing. However the resolution of the mystery was more complex than I had suspected.
Jan 26, 2016 Eliece rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
With this book, I discovered a new-to-me author who writes the kind of mysteries I like best. It's where they create an on-going character in a series whose own life is developed and revealed bit by bit along with each mystery that is solved. My favorite authors who write like this are Elizabeth George, John Harvey, Peter Robinson, and Nevada Barr. I've read every book these four have written, so I was delighted when I happened upon Margaret Maron.
This first title that features Deborah Knott is
Nov 01, 2015 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book quite by accident and am glad I did. Maron has a wonderful sense of place and of the spoken language that makes her region of the South unique. The characters are, generally, consistent in their motivations and actions and the plot actually makes sense, unlike so many more recent mysteries. Although this novel was written quite a while ago, it translates well to today's world. I actually forgot as I was reading that the setting was actually years ago instead of today. Maron tre ...more
Nov 20, 2008 Eloise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first book we read in our Mystery Book Club. We got to speak to Margaret Maron on the speaker phone. It made the book more interesting learning some of the thought behind it. I didn't love the book. Maybe it is because I lived in Eastern NC where the book takes place. But much of it seems authentic. I just thought there were too many controversial sub-plots. If you put so many things in it, everyone will like something. But I wil try another of the Deborah Knott books.
Mar 11, 2010 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like a taste of Southern fiction into your mystery series, you'll enjoy the first of Deborah Knott books, the Bootlegger's Daughter by Margaret Maron. This starts off with Deborah Knott running for office as a judge, when Gayle Whitehead asks her to look into the cold case murder of her mother. And when she does, it turns out a lot of heat by unearthing secrets and possible damaging her campaign for judge. Great twits and turns to the very end, this is a delightful new mystery series.
This is the first in the Deborah Knott series and I'm hooked. I'd really like to read more of this excellent southern mystery. There are some wonderful down-home southernisms that made me smile. Deborah is a lawyer and has a case before a good old boy judge. The case before hers is sentence in such a harsh way, she feels the need to get some new blood in the County court system and decides to run for office. At the same time a young girl whose mother is murdered when she is just an infant, comes ...more
Jan 05, 2016 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, girl-power, cozy
I've been in the midst of a bit of a mystery dry spell these past few months. Apparently what I was missing was a sojourn in the southern wilds of Colleton County, North Carolina with attorney Deborah Knott who takes some time off from her campaign for judgeship to investigate the long ago murder of a family friend's mother. In between crackling southern wit, loads of sweet tea and heavenly southern meals, and just a pinch of good ol' boy racism is a downright good murder mystery solved by a sma ...more
Aug 01, 2014 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first in the Deborah Knott series, this book charmed me because of its setting, eastern North Carolina. We lived in Smithfield (Johnston County) four years about ten years before this book is set, and everything about the setting rings true. In fact, until the plot started to move fairly quickly, I was often distracted by my attempts to match locations in the author's imaginary Colleton County with the real geography of the area. The mystery, too, based on class, family secrets, and the more ...more
Jan 31, 2015 Betty410 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first a series involving Deborah Knott, a small N.Carolina town lawyer who in the starting pages becomes disgusted with a judge's decision that was too harsh and showed via against a colored man. So she decides to apply for a judgeship.
Deborah is a member of a very large family with with firm roots in the area. The author ably gives insight into the "workings" of inner Southern areas, knowledge of family history and customs, importance of church and respect for authorities. All this
Lin Stepp
Jan 18, 2011 Lin Stepp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you have not discovered Margaret Maron's mystery series about Deborah Knott, a judge in a small North Carolina town, then run out and get this first book in the series. I have read it and all the others in the series and all are truly wonderful and entertaining. Deborah's setting, her big family of brothers, and all her kin folks and small town friends will come alive for you ... and her mystery line will keep you on the edge of your seat.
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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)
  • Southern Discomfort (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #2)
  • 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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