Susanita (bardhlul) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

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Book 1 - Designated Daughters by Margaret Maron

When Judge Deborah Knott is summoned to her ailing Aunt Rachel's bedside, she assumes the worst. Thankfully when she arrives at the hospice center she learns that Rachel hasn't passed; in fact, the dying woman is awake. Surrounded by her children, her extended family, and what seems like half of Colleton County, a semi-conscious Rachel breaks weeks of pained silence with snippets of stories as randomly pieced together as a well-worn patchwork quilt. But the Knott family's joy quickly gives way to shock: less than an hour later, Aunt Rachel is found dead in her bed, smothered with a pillow.

Who would kill a woman on her deathbed? Was it an act of mercy, or murder? As Deborah and her husband, Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant, investigate they cross paths with an unlikely set of suspects: Rachel's longtime minister; her neighbor, the respected local doctor; the friendly single father who often sought her advice; and perhaps the most puzzling party of all, the Designated Daughters, a support group for caregivers that Rachel's own daughter belongs to.

Soon Deborah and Dwight realize that the key to solving this case is hidden in Rachel's mysterious final words. Her mixed-up memories harbored a dark secret-a secret that someone close to them is determined to bury forever.

This book came out in September, but I was so overwhelmed with work that I never got around to ordering it and actually forgot about it until something sparked my memory over the weekend. This is number 19 or 20 in the Deborah Knott series, depending on whether or not you count the "prequel" that was published a few years ago. At any rate, her story keeps humming along nicely. Though I found the "primary" mystery to be a little flat, the secondary stories were more engaging. Deb's extensive family plays a significant role in this book, and we learn more about her parents' generation of Knotts. It was also refreshing, on a dreary winter weekend, to read about spring picnics and swimming in the farm pond. My primary complaint was with the occasional shifts from Deb's first-person account to other points of view, which made for confusing reading and also frustration as Deb and her husband rehashed old news with each other. Overall this was not necessarily my favorite book in the series but a pleasant enough installment.
Tags: mystery

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