November 30, 2011

Characters collide in Maron’s latest

By Margaret Maron
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Mystery fans will be delighted to learn that Margaret Maron has penned a new book in her long-running Deborah Knott series. Three-Day Town is unique because Knott meets up for the first time with Lt. Sigrid Harald, who has crossed over from another of Maron’s popular series for a double delight.

Judge Deborah Knott and hubby Dwight have been married a year, and they’re finally getting to leave North Carolina and take their honeymoon—a week in New York City, in an apartment loaned to them by an in-law. They arrive on the eve of a winter snowstorm and anticipate a week of walking, museums, theater and other honeymoon activities. Dwight soon discovers New York’s famous Fairway Market, and the pair settle in with grocery bags of delicious goodies for some overdue time together.

But soon a small glitch introduces big trouble. Deborah has brought a mysterious wrapped package to deliver at the request of a distant relative. The intended receiver, Anne Harald, is on a trip, so her daughter, Lt. Sigrid herself, phones to inquire about the item. She asks Deborah to open the package, which turns out to be an intricate bronze statuette depicting male bodies intertwined in Kama Sutra-like positions. This surprise brings Sigrid calling to retrieve the strange object, but she arrives on the heels of a murder in the couple’s loaner apartment: The building’s “super” is dead and the statuette has gone missing. An assortment of apartment residents with stories to tell; a gaggle of elevator men and building staff; and a second death add to the fast-thickening plot.

Three-Day Town is number 17 in the series, but Maron writes with such skill that new readers can open the book and fly, right from page one. Related characters slide in easily, with earlier occurrences woven throughout the story—so newcomers to the series won’t be lost. Maron’s loyal fans will love this new pairing of the outgoing, garrulous Deborah with the slim, grey-eyed and serious-minded Sigrid.

Author Maron’s strong suit, as always, is her impeccable sense of place. She beautifully evokes the scenes and sounds of the Big Apple, from the bustle of Times Square and glitter of Broadway to the mountains of trash bags piled high on the streets after a big storm. This enjoyable entry is a great walk in the park—make that Central, of course, with snowflakes.

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Three-Day Town

Three-Day Town

By Margaret Maron
Grand Central
ISBN 9780446555784

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