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Christmas Mourning (Deborah Knott Mysteries #16)

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,771 Ratings  ·  228 Reviews
It's Christmas in rural North Carolina's Colleton County and Judge Deborah Knott is looking forward to a family celebration when a tragedy clouds the holiday season. A beautiful young cheerleader dies in a car crash and the community is devastated by her death. Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant soon learns that her death was not a simple accident, and more lives may be lost u ...more
Hardcover, 289 pages
Published November 5th 2010 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 2010)
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Nov 17, 2010 Sheila rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, cozy, cultural, legal
I hadn’t read any of Margaret Maron’s books before winning this one on a book review blog. Now I shall be eagerly searching for more, preferably more of the same series, though I’m sure I’d enjoy her other books too. Christmas Mourning is set in rural North Carolina where teenagers text and drive, hunters use illegal lamps to blind deer, and Judge Deborah Knott combines marriage to the local deputy, aunt-hood to a gazillion youngsters, and the baseless accusations of a maddening mother against d ...more
Dec 20, 2011 LORI (Dollycas) CASWELL rated it it was amazing
We return to Colleton County, North Carolina just in time for the holidays. Sadly they are overshadowed when a very popular Senior in high school, Mallory Johnson, dies in a car crash on the way home from a party. This was not the only tragedy this area has had to face, a few days later two not so popular kids were found shot to death. This happening all after another car accident just two months earlier where two other youths were killed and another was severely injured. To stay the town in stu ...more
Mary Gramlich
Oct 09, 2010 Mary Gramlich rated it it was amazing
The series is the one your reading year is built around

It has been a year of non-stop change for Judge Deborah Knott and her husband the Colleton County Sherriff’s Deputy Dwight Bryant. They are about to celebrate their first anniversary and finally have Dwight’s son Cal settled into living with them after the tragedy of losing his mother. But this homey scene is rocked when Mallory, a popular teenager dies in a tragic car accident. Leaving too many questions and no answers in what should be an
Dec 24, 2010 Spuddie rated it it was amazing
This review applies to the audio version.

In this latest Judge Deborah Knott and clan mystery, it's Christmas time once again and Deborah and Dwight are celebrating their first anniversary as well. A series of fatal car crashes involving young folks has set a bit of a pall over Colleton County's festivities, though, especially the most recent involving Mallory Johnson, head cheerleader at West Colleton High.

By everyone's account, she's practically perfect, so when a small amount of alcohol is fo
Jan 08, 2016 Catherine rated it really liked it
This was my first Deborah Knott novel. Since this was # 16 I think I will need to read the others. There were too many characters to keep them straight. Felt like I needed a family tree. The story started out slow, but murders had enough questions to keep me interested. Howevere there was too many little details about furniture, people's clothes and who had what kids.
Dec 23, 2014 Jennifer rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I tried to give this book a go. I wanted to get into a new series. I knew I was in trouble when I started the book and there was a family tree with about a bazillion people listed. Books in general should have limited characters so you can keep them straight. This book just kept adding more and more and more. Not to mention, it seemed to have less to do with the mystery of how Mallory died and more to do about gossip, the never-ending family, and sounding uneducated.

A good book in general has li
Feb 25, 2016 Cooper rated it really liked it
A delightful, quant cozy murder mystery. The story merges two mysterious 'accidental' deaths from different decades to the reveal that the deaths are connected and not accidental. Ms. Maron brings to life Judge Deborah Knott and her husband, Chief Deputy Dwight Bryant as they work together to find justice for the victims.

The plot, although not complex, has a solid pace and keeps one interested in the characters and wanting to follow their journey in finding out whodunnit. At times it was difficu
I was listening to this in the car, and got through 4 of the 8 discs before I asked why I was torturing myself? It was so "goody two shoes" that it became insipid. I had to create a new shelf for my books - abandoned - to acknowledge that sometimes it's just not worth finishing a story. Too many books - too little time.
Ellen Moore
May 28, 2015 Ellen Moore rated it it was amazing
This was another delightful book in the Deborah Knott series. In this one, Deborah and Dwight were celebrating their first anniversary and preparing for Christmas with their families. Work interfered to some extent, and there were some surprises planned for the couple by family members--one which leads into the next book set in New York. There was the sadness of young people dying in car accidents and four murders which took the attention of the Sheriff's Department. I always enjoy Deborah's cou ...more
Mar 03, 2014 Walt rated it liked it
Margaret Maron reliably delivers yet another Deborah Knott mystery. The tragic death of a young high school classmate of some of Deborah's nieces & nephews in an automobile accident raises questions. As usual, Knott and husband Dwight Bryant work somewhat separately, but by mining her extensive family (and his this time, too) and using her deep connections in the rural Carolina community she was reared in, they eventually arrive at the solution. Nothing terribly new or innovative here, but a ...more
Jan 13, 2013 Barbara rated it really liked it
I really enjoy this series. Deborah Knott, a district court judge North Carolina, is not the typical cozy heroine. First, she started out her career as a lawyer; then she became a judge; therefore, she has some professional experience she can lend and use toward solving the current murder. Secondly, she rarely goes off impulsively to investigate a clue she has come across (though she has done that on occasion).

For the most part, she stays in the background and uses her experience and family tie
Dec 10, 2012 James rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
An easy reading Christmas cozy with a tangled mystery. District Judge Deborah Knott and chief sheriff's deputy Major Dwight Bryant are getting ready to celebrate their first Christmas together as man and wife. However, it promises not to be a quiet Christmas. In chapter 1, Mallory Johnson, the popular golden girl cheer leader captain is killed in a suspicious one car accident. It is the second fatal car accident involving students in recent histoy. As Deborah and Dwight learn more about Mallory ...more
Jun 05, 2012 Lyn rated it really liked it
The death of a young teenager in a car accident is tragic at any time, but when it happens near Christmas, it can taint the season for her family always. Mallory Johnson dies in a one car accident after a party. Her dad refuses to believe his daughter was drinking. He's sure someone spiked her drink, causing the accident. Soon afterwards, it becomes known that Vicodan is missing from the house Mallory had just left.

Deputy Sherriff Dwight Bryant investigates while his wife Judge Deborah Knott ask
Jan 04, 2015 Jocelyn rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Even though this was a "Christmas book" (heartwarming family celebrations included), the mystery seemed transparent and kind of rigged, and worst of all one of the victims crashed a red Miata, I liked this book anyway. Margaret Maron is in her zone. She does an OK job describing high school social life, both now and in the teen years of her main characters. Passions run strong, kids do stupid things, and several of them wind up dead. The question is, how, and who is responsible?


While I don't
Kathleen Hagen
Christmas Morning, by Margaret Maron, A-minus, narrated by C. J. Krit, produced by Recorded Books, downloaded from

In this book, Dwight and Deborah are approaching their first anniversary and it is also coming up to Christmas. I think this might be one of the first ones in which Maron gives Deputy Dwight Bryant a larger part, making this a joint police procedural, but also with Judge Deborah Knott performing her own analysis and coming up with the right answer. A teenage girl, talent
Nov 07, 2010 Judy rated it really liked it
It's hard to believe that this is the 16th in the Deborah Knott series which seems as fresh as it did when it debuted. One thing about this series is that it's best to read them in order because of the huge cast of characters. Deborah Knott is a District Court judge in rural Colleton County, North Carolina which is southeast of Raleigh. Deborah is the youngest of a family of 12 children and she has 11 older brothers, all of whom are married with children. Plus there is her father, her friends, n ...more
Alison Dellit
Aug 12, 2012 Alison Dellit rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, crime
Margaret Maron is one of my go to holiday reading authors, for which my main criteria is an author who can capture a strong sense of a place and its people. Maron's Judge Knott series does this superbly, and this book is no exception. More focused than her previous work on the kids of Colleton county, the teenagers are are particularly sharply drawn, and ring true. Having said that, there seems to be a tiredness creeping in to the writing, and times where Maron seems to be just going through the ...more
Connie Knight
Jun 01, 2013 Connie Knight rated it it was amazing
CHRISTMAS MOURNING by Margaret Maron is set in fictional Colleton County in North Carolina, just before Christmas. A beautiful high-school girl, Mallory Johnson,dies from a nighttime car accident. Or was it an accident?

Judge Deborah Knott hears a lot about Mallory from the nieces and nephews she drives around, and who accumulate at her house for Christmas cooking and other Christmas things. Her husband Deputy Sheriff Dwight Bryant investigates the accident, and also the deaths of two young broth
Jan 08, 2012 Kathleen rated it really liked it
This novel in one of my favorite series continues to showcase the rich family life of Judge Deborah Knott, imbedding their relationships to help solve the mystery behind the recent deaths of a number of teenagers in the North Carolina community. Readers familiar with Maron's writing will not be surprised by how carefully she reveals clues, introduces layers and unravels the mystery, surprising the reader along the way.
Maron also shares the details of a district judge's responsibilities, demonst
Dec 18, 2011 Lisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aunt-agatha
I had a hard time getting into this book because there were so many characters. Yes, it's book 16 (!) of the series, and the first I've read, so it's no surprise that I don't know all of the connections. But the families are so large and confusing it's ridiculous!

Once I started to figure out who everyone was, I started to get into the story. And then the ending came. If felt like a cop out. A random connection from the past, some convenient deaths, and everything is tidy.

I wasn't crazy about the
Dec 14, 2010 Pam rated it liked it
TITLE: Christmas Mourning
DATE READ: 12/13/10
GENRE/PUB DATE/PUBLISHER/# OF PGS: Mystery/2010/Hachette Book Group/289 pgs
SERIES/STAND ALONE: #16 in Judge Deborah Knott series
TIME/PLACE: Present/North Carolina
CHARACTERS: Too Many (Judge Deborah Knott & the entire population of Colleton County, most of which are related to the judge)
FIRST LINES: "...which means I can usually adjourn around five o'clock."
COMMENTS: In fairness, I have only read the 1st in the seri
Kilian Metcalf
Nov 25, 2013 Kilian Metcalf rated it really liked it
The streak continues. Aside from #12, Winter's Child, the Deborah Knott series maintains its high quality. How does Maron do it, book after book? Usually the interest stops after the love interests get married, but not in these books. Negotiating their various roles and responsibilities and incorporating them into their private lives creates opportunities for tension and conflict as satisfying as the sexual tension that led them to this situation. Toss in the problem of a traumatized stepson, an ...more
Kathy Kushinsky
It's the holiday season and Deborah Knott is looking forward to a Christmas with family, friends, and her husband Dwight. Her holiday expectations are turned upside down when a local high school cheerleader dies in a car accident. This is part of an ongoing series featuring Deborah Knotts and family and friends fro Colleton County.

I really enjoyed the characters and the feel of the town that they lived in and will probably go back and read the first book in the series to see if I like the myster
Nov 12, 2010 Barbara rated it really liked it
This one had a bit of a slow start for me. It is approaching Christmas and the vast Knott clan is gathering round for festivities, etc etc. I gave up trying to keep track of which teenager belonged to which relative. And Dwight's extended family figures in this as more people to keep track of.
But once the basic story started unfolding the pace was fast and it didn't really matter who was related to whom.
The opening death was that of a pretty cheerleader and homecoming queen in a single
Jun 05, 2015 Sandra rated it it was amazing
I seldom read Christmas related books in June, but wanting to read the next book in this series kept me in Judge Deborah Knott's courtroom and family life. I loved reading about the characters in the North Carolina town and Ms. Maron's descriptions of life there, despite the criminal aspects that make her novels so good. I love the family atmosphere, humor and love thrown into the mix of all that goes on. This is number 16 of the series, and I'm ready for the next book.

From Amazon:
It's Christm
Donna in Southern Maryland
Nov 24, 2010 Donna in Southern Maryland rated it it was amazing
I love this series; but when I ordered this book from the Library, I thought it might be a slim volume as some of the other authors have put out, with a little side story and maybe a few recipes! I was wrong! MM has delivered a very interesting and intriguing murder mystery, as she always does.

The whodunit and the whydunit kept me guessing up to the very end. I really enjoyed all the activity of Deborah's extended clan, especially the nieces and nephews. Her Daddy's Christmas story about the yea
Dec 06, 2013 Linda rated it liked it
I used to listen to Maron's Deborah Knott books on CD in the car. While they were entertaining, they weren't usually my first choice, I used them as a fallback when I couldn't find anything more at the library to my liking. I personally am not that thrilled by the idea of life in the South. This particular installment got going slowly, and then picked up speed. An accident turns into something more and then there are other deaths as well...I suppose that could describe the plot of many formulai ...more
Toni Kania
Jun 02, 2014 Toni Kania rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Maron keeps up the quality of writing and character in this long-running series. I've almost caught up, having the series slip over the working years. In the next installment of the series, Three Day Town, Sigrid Harald, the protagonist of an early beloved series by Maron, long since dormant, makes an appearance as Deborah Knott makes a trip to NYC. I am looking forward that!
Amelia Sallee
Mar 08, 2014 Amelia Sallee rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book! All the characters were interesting! I'm from the south, so reading this novel took me back there. Deborah and Dwight had a strong, solid marriage and they were raising Cal. I was so intrigued by the ending I just wanted to keep reading! Margaret Maron this book was very good! I enjoyed every page, every sentence, every chapter!
Jun 05, 2011 Roberta rated it liked it
Reliably entertaining and well written. If you haven't discovered judge Deborah Knott, you might want to give her a try. The first in the series is Bootlegger's Daughter.

I think it's amazing how Margaret Maron has managed to create a whole life for Deborah Knott and her family. You get a sense of real time passing by and real people inhabiting it. The characters are well developed and the cases, while not usually complex, are interesting. For me, reading a well crafted mystery is completely rela
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Christmas Mourning 1 5 Feb 01, 2012 02:05PM  
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  • The Merry Wives of Maggody (Arly Hanks, #16)
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  • The Possession of Paavo Deshin (Retrieval Artist, #7.5)
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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)
  • 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)

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