Friday, August 11, 2006

Winter's Child - Margaret Maron

Winter’s Child
A Deborah Knott Mystery
Margaret Maron
Mysterious Press


It’s an early evening in January, but despite the cold, Mrs. Harper is out picking up litter along the stretch of freeway that she adopted in her late father’s name. When a pickup truck passes her, she hears what she thinks is a tire blowing. In reality, she heard a gunshot that killed the driver. The victim, J.D. Rouse, was well known as bully and wife-beater. No one seems to be too sorry that he’s dead, but as chief deputy, Dwight Bryant begins an investigation.

That night, Dwight’s son, Cal, 8, calls him long after bedtime. Cal pleads with Dwight to come to Shaysville, VA, where he lives with his mother and Dwight’s ex-wife, Jonna. When Dwight arrives the next day, Cal uses him as a live show-and-tell exhibit before begging to come and spend the weekend with Dwight and his new wife, Deborah. A little prodding reveals that Cal hasn’t seen Jonna since the previous morning. No one has seen her, not her mother, not her employer. While Dwight packs up some clothes for the weekend visit, Cal disappears. A neighbor tells Dwight that Jonna appeared, took Cal after some resistance, and left. Now there’s no sign of either of them.

In this installment of the series, Dwight has to contend with both the disappearance of his son and ex-wife, and the murder of J.D. Rouse. Naturally, Deborah, a circuit court judge, lends her expertise, as well. It quickly becomes clear that neither event is as simple as it seems. The author manages to connect seemingly disparate events, and there are some good twists in the tale. Newcomers to the series will have no problems jumping in here. For longtime readers, this is like a visit with old friends.

Rating: 8
August 2006
ISBN# 0-89296-810-9 (hardcover)


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