Reviews for Buzzard Table

Booklist Reviews 2012 October #1
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. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

BookPage Reviews 2012 December
A mystery within a mystery

There is little I can say to add to the legend that is Ruth Rendell: today’s doyenne of the mystery novel in the British Isles, check; multiple Edgar Award winner, check; spiritual heir to Dame Agatha Christie, check. The Child’s Child, Rendell’s new work, written under her Barbara Vine pseudonym, spins the unsettling tale of a pair of adult sibs—a brother and sister—who jointly inherit a stately London manor. As the two have always gotten on well, they decide to move in together. At first, all goes swimmingly. Then Andrew brings home a new boyfriend, the arrogant and much too handsome James Derain, with disastrous consequences. Concurrently, in a clever novel-within-a-novel twist, sister Grace becomes entranced with an unpublished novel from 1951. Its protagonists, a gay man and an unwed mother, seem to foreshadow the lives of Andrew and Grace to an uncanny degree. That Vine brilliantly carries off this intricate construction is a given, but she deserves special mention for her insightful portrayal of society versus its taboos, both in 1951 and 60 years hence.

Oslo’s Inspector Gunnarstranda could best be described as “unprepossessing.” Late 50s, barely 5-foot-2, sporting a threadbare suit and a wispy comb-over atop a shiny pate—you get the picture. But like his disheveled American analog, Lt. Columbo, Inspector Gunnarstranda is not a man to be trifled with. In K.O. Dahl’s latest thriller to be released stateside, Lethal Investments, the rumpled cop investigates the murder of a beautiful young woman who was stabbed to death in her own apartment scant moments after a late-night tryst. There is no dearth of suspects: the sensual fellow she picked up in a bar earlier that evening; the jilted ex-lover filled with rage; the elderly voyeur who eyed her every move through binoculars from his vantage point across the street. Trouble is, the suspects start turning up dead, sending Gunnarstranda and his team back to the starting block again and again. I’ll just say: [Tue Sep 2 07:58:35 2014] Wide character in print at E:\websites\aquabrowser\IMCPL\app\site\ line 249. You are better at solving mysteries than I am if you can guess the perpetrator before Dahl is ready to identify the guilty party!

There is a homespun sweetness about Margaret Maron’s Deborah Knott mysteries—but this quality doesn’t detract from the edginess of the Southern-inflected books upon which Maron has built a successful career. I offer this as a compliment, not a criticism, because Maron maintains a difficult balancing act achieved by few authors; Alexander McCall Smith and Peter Mayle jump to mind. In The Buzzard Table, the latest installment of the popular series—18 and counting!—an eccentric English ornithologist takes up residence in sleepy Colleton County, North Carolina, where Knott is a judge. He is ostensibly gathering data on turkey vultures and supplementing it with expertly rendered photographs. However, some of his copious photos appear to depict the strange goings-on at the local airport, a rumored CIA rendition center where suspected terrorists are shipped out to countries less scrupulous about the use of torture than the United States is supposed to be. Then the suspicious deaths start taking place . . . and I guarantee that any thought you might have had about Colleton County being a modern-day Mayberry will get blown away like a leaf in the wind.

For a homicide detective with the case-clearance rate of Harry Bosch, an unsolved crime is bound to stick in his craw, particularly when the victim is a heroic and beautiful journalist cut down in her prime. The case dates from 1992, when the riots following the Rodney King verdicts reverberated like an earthquake through South Central Los Angeles. The LAPD was stretched thin, and Bosch was unable to devote much time or energy to the homicide, which was generally considered to be just one more riot-related killing. Now, 20 years later, Bosch gets a second bite at the apple as a cold-case detective in Michael Connelly’s gripping new thriller, The Black Box. It is no easy feat investigating a 20-year-old crime: Witnesses have moved away or died; chains of evidence have been broken past repair. Nonetheless, Bosch is able to unearth some coincidences that seem a little too pat to be plausible, and he begins picking at threads. There are powerful forces hard at work to thwart Bosch, some of them from within his own department—a fact that seems only too clear when he finds himself crouched in a barn, handcuffed to a pillar, waiting to die. The Bosch books just keep getting better and better—they are cleverly plotted, swiftly paced and populated with characters both valiant and flawed. Not to be missed!

Copyright 2012 BookPage Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 October #1
Every family has secrets. Some are even worth telling. Deborah Knott never admitted to her husband, Dwight, how she got her judgeship. Dwight never told her what happened in Germany when he was a Company man. And his son, Cal, fessed up to Deborah that he wanted to be adopted only after a pal ratted him out and she confronted him about it. But these little evasions pale in comparison to the big one that's motivated Martin Crawford to come to Colleton County, N.C., and settle in a tenant house owned by his ailing aunt, who's marshaling all her remaining Southern charm to entertain two other visiting relatives, NYPD Lt. Sigrid Harald and her mother, Anne, the Pulitzer Prize–winning photojournalist. Because Martin spends most of his time taking pictures of vultures--at least, that's what he says--he happens to be in the vicinity of the trash site where someone has dumped an all too promiscuous realtor. He also happens to be nearby when teenager Jeremy Harper is bashed into a coma. And unfortunately for Martin, he happens to have followed the vultures to the local airstrip, where he may have entered a pilot's motel room and snapped his neck. Is Martin responsible for all the mayhem, or are the attacks and murders unrelated? Sheriff's Deputy Dwight, with an assist from Sigrid, a memory that resurfaces for Anne and an alibi that disintegrates, finally assigns the right motives--jealousy and revenge--to the right persons, discomfiting a philandering husband and unsettling the FBI and the CIA. Maron (Three-Day Town, 2011, etc.) adroitly melds ugly American (open) government secrets with classic whodunit intrigue and stirs the pot by itemizing domestic travails that will touch readers' hearts. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2012 November #1

This time NYPD Lt. Sigrid Herald is on Deborah and Dwight's home turf when a murdered ornithologist is revealed to have unexpected connections to 1990s Somalia. Number 18 (after Three-Day Town) for this series favorite.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 August #3

In Maron's intriguing 18th Deborah Knott mystery, the North Carolina judge teams with the author's other series lead, NYPD homicide detective Sigrid Harald, as she did in 2011's Agatha-winning Three-Day Town. When Sigrid and her mother, photojournalist Anne Lattimore Harald, travel to Cotton Grove, N.C., to visit Sigrid's ailing grandmother, Deborah enlists Anne to help a young photographer, Jeremy Harper, who has been sentenced for trespassing after he attempted to photograph CIA "rendition flights" from the Colleton County airstrip. Meanwhile, the disappearance of promiscuous realtor Rebecca Jowett, the strange activities of British ornithologist Martin Crawford (who's studying turkey vultures), and the murder of a pilot staying at a local hotel provide plenty of investigative grist for Deborah's police officer husband, Dwight Bryant, as well as for Sigrid. Maron successfully combines a look at family foibles and relationships with a series of moral choices that challenge the characters' sense of law and justice. Agent: Vicky Bijur, Vicky Bijur Literary. (Nov.)

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