- Series: A Deborah Knott Mystery (Book 18)
- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Edition edition (November 20, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0446555827
- ISBN-13: 978-0446555821
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #907,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Buzzard Table (A Deborah Knott Mystery) Hardcover – November 20, 2012
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In the eighteenth Deborah Knott mystery, the North Carolina judge once again appears with Maron’s other series lead, New York police detective Sigrid Harald, just as in Three-Day Town (2011). Sigrid has come to Cotton Grove with her award-winning photographer mother, Anne Lattimore Harald, to visit Sigrid’s ailing grandmother. A passionate young protester arrested for attempting to photograph CIA flights out of the local Colleton County airport, a secretive ornithologist, and a promiscuous local realtor bludgeoned to death in one of her properties combine to keep the small-town judge and her sheriff husband, Dwight Bryant, hopping. When a pilot is murdered, and the FBI takes over the investigation, Sigrid offers her able assistance to Dwight to figure out exactly what international intrigue is taking place right in his own backyard. As always, Maron skillfully layers an absorbing plot with the doings of Deborah’s large extended family and the domestic details of their semirural lifestyle. In addition, the contrast between Deborah, who is warm and caring, and Sigrid, who is reserved and cerebral, gives Maron’s tale added depth. --Joanne Wilkinson
"Smartly written"―The New York Times
"Maron is at the top of her form"―Our State Magazine
"As always, Maron skillfully layers an absorbing plot with the doings of Deborah's large extended family and the domestic details of their semirural lifestyle. In addition, the contrast between Deborah, who is warm and caring, and Sigrid, who is reserved and cerebral, gives Maron's tale added depth."―Booklist
"Maron...adroitly melds ugly American (open) government secrets with classic whodunit intrigue and stirs the pot by itemizing domestic travails that will touch readers' hearts."―Kirkus Reviews
"In Maron's intriguing 18th Deborah Knott mystery...Maron successfully combine a look at family foibles and relationships with a series of moral choices that challenges the characters' sense of law and justice."―Publishers Weekly
"This book has plenty of suspense and the characters are well done. One of Ms. Maron's strengths is the believability of her characters. They add to the story and don't distract the reader with useless red herrings. As usual, the interplay between Dwight and Deborah is wonderfully romantic even in the midst of a murder. I have to say that I will be glad to see them back home in the next book. I just love the family dynamics and the southern ambiance in these books. Can't wait for the next book in the series!!"―imainlinefiction.blogspot.com on THREE-DAY TOWN
"Dwight's obsession with New York gourmet delights and Deborah's passion for stylish, impractical footwear are charming, but Sigrid's slow but steady police work carries the day. Fans who have hankered for Deborah and Sigrid to find themselves in the same story will be charmed."―Kirkus on THREE-DAY TOWN
"This is a strong addition to a series that's won Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards."―Publishers Weekly on THREE-DAY TOWN
"[Maron] plots like a modern-day Christie, but the North Carolina charm is all her own."―Kirkus on CHRISTMAS MOURNING
"Warm and authentic family relationships are the heart of this evergreen series."―Publishers Weekly on CHRISTMAS MOURNING
"[A] winning entry and a fine holiday mystery."―Booklist on CHRISTMAS MOURNING
"There's nobody better."
"Every Margaret Maron is a celebration of something remarkable."―New York Times Book Review
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Top Customer Reviews
Maron writes single-plot mysteries. Oh sure, there's generally a bit of parallel silliness that gets worked out along with the murders, but there's no shifting focus among characters, no complex metaphors, nothing seriously unpleasant in the lives of Deborah and her family. Like sweet ice-tea, the narratives go down smoothly with none of the personal agony we find in Louise Penny's novels. And that's fine. I'll even admit that -- before reading Penny -- I thought that mysteries had to be complex and depressing or simple and unchallenging. And I would never have wanted Deborah's stories to be depressing.
There is, however, a point of diminishing returns for niceness in a long-running series, and for the last three or four novels I feared that the Deborah Knott books had reached/passed that point. But Maron seems to have written herself out of this dead end. By combining this series with her NYC novels, the author gave us the swift-moving action in Three-Day Town, followed immediately by moving the same cast down South for this book. This is certainly the most tightly-plotted of the Colleton County books, with an interesting dash of moral dilemma arising at the end. All of the main characters develop interesting wrinkles, while the visitors add some much-needed angst.
So, the cast of characters - local resident Mrs. Lattimore is dying. This brings family members to town including Lt. Sigrid Harald (the author's other main character) and her mother Anne (a Pulitzer Prize winning photograher who survived a near fatal incident 20 years before). There is also Anne's cousin, Martin, who has not been in contact with the family for years - he is an ornithologist studying turkey vultures, aka, buzzards, but something does not seem right about him, and Anne is sure she has met him somewhere in the past - they have both traveled extensively around the world. We also have teenager Jeremy Harper, a wannabe investigative reporter/photographer who was involved at a demonstration at the local airport - protesting rendition flights that were stopping enroute to other places. Then we have a second plot about the death of a local real estate agent who had been fooling around with other women's husbands (some men are easily led astray).
The sheriff's department is still three people short because of budget problems, and they find themselves dealing with multiple crimes including the murder of the real estate agent, the murder of a guest at a local motel, and a near fatal attack on the aforementioned teenager. Judge Knott, of course, has the usual range of cases including a disgusting case where a disgruntled employee of a local business had been adding something to the coffee in the break room (don't do this at home - it will get you into a lot of trouble). Events are complicated when the FBI arrives on the scene to take over a case - for reasons they will not reveal.
There are things about Dwight's past that he has never revealed to Deborah, and it is necessary to grapple with major moral questions. There is also a lot of circumstantial evidence, and questions about making arrests. All of this comes together in the end, and justice is served in different ways.
Along the way, the plot deals with some additional activities in Deborah's family, and there are some additional facts about earlier lives. You will also learn a lot about turkey vultures.