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The Buzzard Table Audible – Unabridged

4.4 out of 5 stars 163 customer reviews

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By Julia Walker VINE VOICE on November 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've loved Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott series from the beginning, valuing her keen ear for dialogue, her sense of place, and her gift for seeing both the old and the new South as they uneasily coexist. The Colleton County books are light-years better than the books in distant settings, but all of them are too short.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reading Margaret Maron's books featuring Deborah Knott and family is like visiting with old and increasingly dear friends. The latest book, The Buzzard Table, is no exception. There are two plots which are tied together at the end: one the murder of a real estate agent and the second the mystery surrounding a previously unknown cousin who studies vultures. The solution of the murder is complicated by an attack on a high school student which may or may not be related to the murder, or to the activities of the cousin which apparently have something to do with the local airport that serves as a transit for rendition flights of prisoners from Guatanamo to other countries, countries with no quibbles about respecting human rights. The story moves quickly to a satisfactory end. While Deborah's family members make their obligatory appearances, they are far less ubiquitous in this novel and the family relationship shifts to that of visiting Sigrid Harald, her mother, and dying grandmother who has been a pillar of the community. The mysterious cousin is their close kin (although in the way of Southern communities, a distant cousin of Deborah's through her mother). In addition to interesting and fast moving plots, another strength of the Deborah Knotts's novels is the growing complexity of the individuals and their relationships with each other. Deborah's relationship with her stepson is strengthened in a lovely ending. And as a result of the explanation at the end about the mysterious cousin and his activities, we are given a hint about Dwight's days in Army Intelligence. Dwight is a far more complex person than his laid back persona reveals. As always, the North Carolina setting is brought vividly to life through descriptions of places, customs, and people.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Judge Deborah Knott has comfortably adapted to her marriage to Dwight and mothering his son Cal. Deborah was raised around 11 brothers so there is not a lot a man can fool her about. Yet there is a man living obscurely under the pretense of photographing birds who has a story to tell of why he is there that does not quite make sense. He is connected to a well distanced cousin of Deborah's so he should not raise eye brows but when a young woman is killed too close to where he is staying red flags start flying every where.

Dwight is working this murder dealing with too many suspects all with a motive to want the woman removed from their life. Yet, as Dwight pulls the pieces together a teenager trying to stay out of trouble finds himself near death for making a poor decision. On top of that you add another murder that has the FBI cloak and dagger drama going on and Dwight is knee deep in what is happening in his town. The connection again is the strange man with quick lies and some very sketchy details about what he is really doing in Colleton County.

Margaret Maron provides readers with everything they look for in a book and more. There is the captivating mystery of course, but every story is woven around the personal aspect that makes Deborah and Dwight so enjoyable. This book in particular when have every fan of Ms Maron's grabbing a tissue by the end.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This novel deals with Aristotle's ethical dilemma, i.e., you need to make a choice between two courses of action, neither of which is entirely right. It also deals with a basic social concept that "some people need killing." Deborah Knott is a judge, and her husband Dwight is second in command in the sheriff's office. Both are sworn to uphold the law, but the ethical/moral questions become issues.

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.
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