UNCOMMON CLAY by Margaret Maron
A Judge Deborah Knott mystery
Mysterious Press - May 2001
ISBN:089296720x - Hardcover
Amateur Sleuth


Reviewed by Sue Johnson, MyShelf.com
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Judge Deborah Knott is a reoccurring character in Margaret Maron's southern series. She is a tough lady judge, with a family full of brothers and a daddy with a dubious past. At the opening of this book we find Deborah sent to a small town in Randolph County, North Carolina. She is to sit on the settlement of two divorce cases. Deborah is familiar with the area, has friends there and has visited the shops there with one of her sister-in-laws. The area is famous for the many potters that have inhabited the area for generations, so it is no surprise when one of the divorce cases involves a pair of pottery owners. After having most of the assets settled they move on to the pottery shop itself to divide a collection that is not only valuable but also sentimental.

Before the division can be made one of the parties involved is found, quite obviously murdered, in a working kiln. Who would want to kill the potter in such a gruesome way? And is the death of a brother in years past intertwined? As
Deborah is drawn into the mystery, the reader is allowed to learn many tidbits about the fascinating world of pottery making. The patterns and glazes were often passed down from generation to generation and guarded with care.

As a reader I always enjoy Margaret Maron's books, set in my home state of North Carolina, as she brings the people and their dialect alive. She allows the reader to see the sun setting among the beautiful spring rhododendron and smell the perfume of honeysuckle of the warm spring air.

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