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Review: Christmas Mourning

December 10, 2010

When a popular young high school student dies in a single car accident, it just doesn’t make sense.  Alcohol wasn’t involved and she was driving on a straight stretch of road in good weather.   When Deputy Sheriff Dwight Bryant learns that she’d just left a party and there was a trace of a prescription drug (that she wasn’t taking) in her blood, he suspects foul play was involved, and when some other people turn up dead, he knows it.  Dwight and his wife, Judge Deborah Knott, put the pieces of the puzzle together and solve the mystery, even as they’re celebrating their first anniversary and getting ready for the holiday season.

I didn’t realize Christmas Mourning, by Margaret Maron was the 16th book in the Deborah Knott series until after I finished reading it.  I had no problem following the storyline, so it obviously stands alone very well.  There are a lot of characters in the book – mostly Deborah’s nieces and nephews – and I used the family tree at the front of the book to keep track of them at first, but quickly realized they weren’t really part of the mystery – they just added to the “homey” feel of this cozy mystery.

Deborah is a great character – she’s determined and successful and her family is important to her.   Her family is close knit and if I had any complaints about this book it would be that there were too many of them.  (I have a feeling this wouldn’t be a problem for those familiar with this series.  I thought Dwight was a great character as well, and felt like he and Deborah made a great team.

I thought Christmas Mourning was a holiday book when I started it, but it’s really not.  Although it is set during the holiday period and the characters do some holiday preparation, those elements are really in the background, so this is a book that can be enjoyed at any time.  I liked this book a lot and would recommend it to those who enjoy cozy mysteries.

Review copy provided by Hachette Books.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
32 Comments leave one →
  1. December 10, 2010 6:39 am

    I have only read one..or maybe two ..of Maron’s books before and have to agree that although the Knott books are a series, individual books stand alone.
    And she is a good character.
    Sounds like a winner.

  2. December 10, 2010 7:04 am

    Sounds like a decent mystery. I’ve yet to read an adult holiday book, but I do have Snow Globe.

  3. December 10, 2010 7:37 am

    I love mysteries and this sounds like something I would like – I haven’t read this series before. Another to put on my wish list!

  4. December 10, 2010 7:54 am

    Just wanted to say that I have my first giveaway on my blog. It is a gift card sponsored by CSN Stores. I would be happy if you would come and enter!

  5. Veens permalink
    December 10, 2010 7:57 am

    Definitely something I will enjoy! I love cozy mysteries. Deborah sounds so cool, and thank you for telling about the relations that need not be tracked.

  6. December 10, 2010 8:29 am

    By the title alone, I would have also thought that this was a Christmas book, but it seems that is not so. I am glad that you were able to enjoy it anyway and that it stood alone nicely. I liked this review a lot and will have to keep this book in mind the next time I am in the mood for a cozy.

  7. December 10, 2010 8:58 am

    A cozy mystery is sometimes nice during the colder months. Good to hear that it being the 16th book in the series didn’t matter and was easy to read on its own!

  8. December 10, 2010 9:16 am

    I never read this author, but I do like cozies from time to time!

  9. December 10, 2010 9:48 am

    I really do like to sprinkle cozies into my reading list. And since I think cozies are really about characters this one sounds good.

  10. December 10, 2010 10:09 am

    I haven’t heard of this author before but after reading your review I am curious I will have to check to see if my library has any of her books. Great review Kathy.

  11. December 10, 2010 11:14 am

    I’m on a roll with Christmas mysteries so this one will be put on my wishlist. Thanks for the review.

  12. December 10, 2010 11:53 am

    It really must be a standalone if you didn’t realize there was a series until you’d finished. 😉 I’ll keep this one in mind, though I don’t read too many cozies.

  13. December 10, 2010 12:46 pm

    This sounds like a really good cozy mystery. I like reading them once in while but I’d have to start at the beginning now that I know there is one. lol.

  14. December 10, 2010 1:05 pm

    As you know, Margaret Maron is a favorite of mine and Deborah Knott is one of my all-time favorite characters. I’m so glad you read this book and liked it. Maron is definitely a keeper. I’ve been reading this series for so many years that her family seems like an extension of our own family.

  15. December 10, 2010 1:47 pm

    The 16th in the series? Must be a good one if it’s lasted through that many books. I’ll have to check them out.

  16. December 10, 2010 2:41 pm

    i recently got into the cosy mystery books for my commute (via audiobooks) and will have to see if my library has any of these books. have a great weekend!!! 🙂

  17. December 10, 2010 3:45 pm

    Hm, perhaps a book for my buddy instead..speaking of her, must buy a book for her for xmas soon 🙂

  18. December 10, 2010 4:16 pm

    You write so well, Kathy. You are always clear and concise. I enjoyed reading your review, and think I’d also enjoy this cozy mystery.

  19. December 10, 2010 4:33 pm

    I love reading your reviews — just love it!

  20. December 10, 2010 7:04 pm

    This is an author I haven’t read and don’t know how I missed her. I do love a nice cozy mystery.

  21. kaye permalink
    December 11, 2010 8:15 am

    You’re so right about any of her books being a stand alone. I’ve read several of this series not in any order and it’s not hard to figure out what’s what. Very nice review! Have a great weekend.

  22. December 11, 2010 11:08 am

    It sure sounds delightful, and I wouldn’t mind reading it even for the holiday feel or the cozy mystery-esque atmosphere.

  23. December 11, 2010 12:28 pm

    Good to hear that it stands on its own since some series tend to be very sequential and it can throw a reader off if the historical background isn’t known. Happy to hear you enjoyed this good mystery.

  24. December 11, 2010 2:51 pm

    I’m anxious to read this one but I don’t feel rushed to do it now!

  25. December 11, 2010 4:27 pm

    I like cozy mysteries and just may look into this one further!

  26. December 11, 2010 8:04 pm

    This sounds like a really good read. I need a little Christmas and mystery in a book right now…. 🙂

  27. stacybuckeye permalink
    December 12, 2010 3:53 pm

    I’ve acquired a few in this series but can’t read them til I’ve started at the beginning!

  28. December 12, 2010 7:10 pm

    I’m so glad I read this review, I would have dismissed this book based on the title & that it was a series… but after reading your review I realized I may actually be interested in it! Im feeling a mystery kick right now, so its nice to know these are homey but also are actual mysteries.

  29. December 12, 2010 10:03 pm

    It made me laugh that you were tracking characters in the front of the book and then didn’t need to! : )

  30. December 13, 2010 3:47 pm

    I’m glad to know you thought this one could stand alone. I read all the Deborah Knott mysteries up to a point, around a dozen, and then got tired of them. It sounds like I could pick them back up and have fun again now.

  31. December 13, 2010 8:06 pm

    I’ve never heard of this author before!

  32. December 14, 2010 5:39 pm

    I haven’t heard of this author before, but sounds like I need to add her to my wish list. Hopefully starting at the beginning will help keep all the family members from being confusing.

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