buzzard tableThe Buzzard Table by Margaret Maron is the 18th book in the “Deborah Knott” mystery series. Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, November 2012

Judge Deborah Knott and her husband, Sheriff’s Deputy Dwight Bryant, are back home in Colleton County amid family and old friends. But the winter winds have blown in several new faces as well. Lt. Sigrid Harald and her mother, Anne, a well-known photographer, are down from New York to visit Mrs. Lattimore, Anne’s dying mother. When the group gathers for dinner at Mrs. Lattimore’s Victorian home, they meet the enigmatic Martin Crawford, an ornithologist researching a book on Southern vultures. He’s also Mrs. Lattimore’s long-lost nephew. With her health in decline, Mrs. Lattimore wants to make amends with her family-a desire Deborah can understand, as she, too, works to strengthen her relationship with her young stepson, Cal.

Anne is charmed by her mysterious cousin, but she cannot shake the feeling that there is something familiar about Martin . . . something he doesn’t want her or anyone else to discover. When a string of suspicious murders sets Colleton County on edge, Deborah, Dwight, and Sigrid once again work together to catch a killer, uncovering long-buried family secrets along the way.

I love my annual visit with the Knotts clan. The latest happenings in Colleton County have Dwight and his team on the search of a killer of a young woman; a young misguided youth in Deborah’s court and an acquaintance hiding a secret, all creating a great mystery that I could not put down. The writing is superb and I loved the tone of the story and how it flows smoothly from one chapter to the next.

What I like most in this character-driven drama is the relationship between Deborah and her friends and family and the sense of community that I feel when I’m engrossed in the latest drama and I especially love Deborah’s growing relationship with her stepson Cal. This series continues to captivate me as it gets better with time and I look forward to the next book in this charmingly terrific series.

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