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Up Jumps the Devil
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After Margaret Maron's first Deborah Knott novel, Bootlegger's Daughter, ran away with the top mystery awards in 1993, this highly acclaimed series has continued to whet our appetite for superb fiction in which the setting is, as the Houston Chronicle noted, "so rich in detail and description of the New South that you can almost hear the North Carolina twang and taste the barbecue." Now, in her fourth outing, Deborah Knott is again in the driver's seat, roaring down dirt roads and checking out crime scenes until... UP JUMPS THE DEVIL. Murder usually begins at home, and Colleton County, North Carolina, proves no exception. When truck driver and childhood neighbor Dallas Stancil is shot and killed in his own backyard, Judge Deborah Knott figures she owes his memory at least the respectful ritual of taking his widow one of her Aunt Zell's best chicken casseroles. Mistake Number One. Dallas wasn't rich, but with development eating up the farms and forests of North Carolina his land is suddenly worth a fortune. His trashy, chain-smoking third wife and grown stepchildren are all too aware of its value. Opportunists--including one of Deborah's own brothers--are coming out of the woodwork. And she knows big money makes people do bad things. Hardworking, redneck, and salt-of-the-earth, the Stancil men have lived side-by-side with Deborah's family. When the Stancils suffer another tragedy, a long-hidden skeleton rattles its bones and jumps out of what she thought was her long-dead past. She can run the culprit back out of town or maybe get him charged with murder, but ignoring him would be Mistake Number Two. All around the changing South, Deborah sees hunting dogs, rowdy funerals, backwoods moonshine stills, and long-bed pickups clashing with BMW-driving professionals and housing tracts. With one foot in the rural past and the other in today's high-tech present, she knows her personal world is changing too. This bootlegger's daughter sits on the judicial bench and sees both sides of the law. But she also feels the tug of her roots...and the pull of her heart.
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