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Up Jumps the Devil

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In the fourth entry in the acclaimed series, Judge Deborah Knott's table is set with a double helping of Southern-style homicide. As Thanksgiving Day approaches, Judge Knott looks forward to spending some quality time with her lover and family. But the sleepy North Carolina town she calls home witnesses two violent murders that weekend. To complicate things even further, o In the fourth entry in the acclaimed series, Judge Deborah Knott's table is set with a double helping of Southern-style homicide. As Thanksgiving Day approaches, Judge Knott looks forward to spending some quality time with her lover and family. But the sleepy North Carolina town she calls home witnesses two violent murders that weekend. To complicate things even further, one of the victims is an old moonshining associate of her father's, and now Dad is suspect #1!


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In the fourth entry in the acclaimed series, Judge Deborah Knott's table is set with a double helping of Southern-style homicide. As Thanksgiving Day approaches, Judge Knott looks forward to spending some quality time with her lover and family. But the sleepy North Carolina town she calls home witnesses two violent murders that weekend. To complicate things even further, o In the fourth entry in the acclaimed series, Judge Deborah Knott's table is set with a double helping of Southern-style homicide. As Thanksgiving Day approaches, Judge Knott looks forward to spending some quality time with her lover and family. But the sleepy North Carolina town she calls home witnesses two violent murders that weekend. To complicate things even further, one of the victims is an old moonshining associate of her father's, and now Dad is suspect #1!

30 review for Up Jumps the Devil

  1. 5 out of 5

    Hope

    This book has excellent narration. Ms. Critt gets the voices just right. I had been thinking she's from NC until she read the part about Kinston, NC. She pronounced it "KinGston" :) Otherwise, it was a perfectly smooth narration. I really enjoy the sense of place in these novels. I enjoy Ms. Maron's writing. Unfortunately, I just don't enjoy the novels overall, and this was no exception. It's hard for me to articulate exactly why. I think my problem is that the book has just enough of a murder m This book has excellent narration. Ms. Critt gets the voices just right. I had been thinking she's from NC until she read the part about Kinston, NC. She pronounced it "KinGston" :) Otherwise, it was a perfectly smooth narration. I really enjoy the sense of place in these novels. I enjoy Ms. Maron's writing. Unfortunately, I just don't enjoy the novels overall, and this was no exception. It's hard for me to articulate exactly why. I think my problem is that the book has just enough of a murder mystery in it to put it in the mystery genre, but the mystery takes a distant back seat to the lives of the characters. Mind you, I like the characters, but the unfulfilled promise of a mystery story ruins my enjoyment of the these-people-in-this-place story. Spoilers ahead!!! Spoiler warning! In this book, the climax is an exciting scene wherein our heroine figures out who did the murder just in time for the murderer to turn on her. It's a great scene, bringing together a lot of the things discussed earlier in the book. But you never find out why the killer did it, or if he was caught. The usual explain-it-all denouement is replaced with a family scene that doesn't involve the murder at all. I'll grant you, it's a lovely scene. It brings together the threads of the novel, without tying any artificial bows. It leaves room for future stories, while being a satisfying end to the novel - if you leave out the murder mystery part. I'm tempted to listen to more of the Deborah Knott mysteries, as I would like hear more about the characters. I'm just not sure it's worth putting up with the second-rate murder mystery. In searching online to see if there really is a Colleton County NC (there isn't - it's a remarkably detailed fictional county) I found a list of book series set in NC here. I will have to see if the library has any of them :)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Smoochys

    The best part of this book, which is true of most of her books, is Deborah's family ties. It's interesting because at it's base they are a bunch of farmers. But the base branched out into other careers (teacher, lawyer/judge, auctioneer, entrepreneur, etc.). No matter the level of success you achieve in a family, you will always have that base - some will try to hold on to it, while others will try to forget it ever existed. Most of the Knott's have tried to hold on to the base. Big brother Adam The best part of this book, which is true of most of her books, is Deborah's family ties. It's interesting because at it's base they are a bunch of farmers. But the base branched out into other careers (teacher, lawyer/judge, auctioneer, entrepreneur, etc.). No matter the level of success you achieve in a family, you will always have that base - some will try to hold on to it, while others will try to forget it ever existed. Most of the Knott's have tried to hold on to the base. Big brother Adam is the exception. He ran all the way to the other side of the country trying to forget where he came from and was doing a pretty good job of it for a while with a big a big house, fancy cars, kids in private schools, etc. When the good times stopped rolling out west he had to return home to get some fast cash so that he could resurrect his new life. Isn't that always where we go when all else fails? It seems that a few people in town were getting their fast cash from the same place as Adam. Someone is planning on developing houses on some prime real estate close to Knott land. That person has been secretly buying all of the surrounding land so that he can sell big. One of the people in on the sell is murdered. The question is why was he murdered? Was it for money, the secret sale, family jealousy, or for some other unknown. The list of suspects includes a few Knotts who are acting suspicious, Deborah's ex-husband, and a couple of underhanded businessmen. Most of the book was interesting, but the ending was weak, which is why it got an okay rating.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    This is book four in the series about life in a contemporary rural small town in North Carolina. The book was published in 1996. Our protagonist Judge Deborah Knott is a personable character that makes the series work. Even though the book is placed in North Carolina it could be any small rural town. I think that is one of the things that hooked me into continue reading the series. I grew up in a small rural town so much of the stories resonate with me. In this story we see the effects of growth This is book four in the series about life in a contemporary rural small town in North Carolina. The book was published in 1996. Our protagonist Judge Deborah Knott is a personable character that makes the series work. Even though the book is placed in North Carolina it could be any small rural town. I think that is one of the things that hooked me into continue reading the series. I grew up in a small rural town so much of the stories resonate with me. In this story we see the effects of growth and increasing property values with the arrival of the interstate highway. The action begins with two murders after they had refused to sell their land to a real estate speculator. Judge Knott set off to investigate on her own and finds herself suspicious of one of her eleven brothers and some lifelong friends. I enjoyed the twist and turns of the plot and the legal turn to the story with laws about inheritance. Humor runs throughout this story as it has in the prior three stories. Maron is an excellent writer and a great story teller. I enjoyed her descriptions of various behaviors toward the land. I am looking forward to book five. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. C. J. Critt does a great job narrating the story. I noted the book was produced by Recorded Books; they always publish a polished recorded book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    As with the previous books in the series, I loved the home state flavor of this 4th Deborah Knott mystery. Rural development is the issue at hand this time as a developer tries to buy land from some farmers who are eager to sell and others who don't want to see change in the landscape or way of life they've always known. The issue is relevant in Durham. I grew up in a neighborhood built on farmland in the 1960s. When my parents bought their house, my grandmother, who lived downtown, cried becaus As with the previous books in the series, I loved the home state flavor of this 4th Deborah Knott mystery. Rural development is the issue at hand this time as a developer tries to buy land from some farmers who are eager to sell and others who don't want to see change in the landscape or way of life they've always known. The issue is relevant in Durham. I grew up in a neighborhood built on farmland in the 1960s. When my parents bought their house, my grandmother, who lived downtown, cried because they'd be "so far out" in the country. The farms and woods that surrounded us then are now more neighborhoods and shopping centers. Found the same theme in Backroads, a Kickin' Grass CD we recently acquired: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55rrIW... and in an article in Sunday's Herald-Sun: http://www.heraldsun.com/opinion/opin.... In it, Tom Campbell writes, "It is in North Carolina's best interests to have both a vibrant urban and rural population. Otherwise we will find ourselves in a state of poverty-filled ghost towns or overcrowded and overtaxed cities. Surely we have the brainpower to meet this challenge. The question is whether we have the will."

  5. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    A good mystery book. Fourth in the DK series. This one is about land, ownership, selling out. We find out that Deborah has been married...wow. I was shocked. And to a real jerk, too. Also that she got so mad at him she attacked him with a butcher knife and landed him in the hospital. Both of these things just don't gel with her general personality, I don't think. But it makes a good story, I guess.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Richard Brand

    This is another delightful Deborah Knott master. It is full of good family, good story, and good issues, but the fact that it has a sudden frightening ending does not make it great as I never did see why the person who supposedly did the killings did them. There was no real explanation as to how the events played out as they did. But we did have a nice family pow wow at the end and everybody is happy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Tonkinson

    I like books that bring me to a new place, and this book brought me to rural South Carolina. It’s interesting that though this book is 90% dialog it has a ver strong sense of place. The dialect conveyed a micro-culture along with the narrator’s accent. Yes, there is a murder mystery wrapped up in there. But it’s almost not the point. We learn more about judge Knott’s family and her love life. But it’s mostly about what goes on around her.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    This book, the fourth in the series about Deborah Knotts, may be the last one I read. I've enjoyed the three previous books, but had a difficult time finishing this one. There really seems to be very little plot, and what there is drags on. It's mostly about the Knott family, none of whom I care much about.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I wavered between 3 and 4 stars. I liked the main character, a District Court Judge named Deborah Knott, writing in in first person. She lives in what was once completely rural N.C. but is changing with tract houses because of its closeness to Raleigh (?). Dallas Stancil is shot but that murder is immediately solved and the book goes on from there to questions about land sales/ownership and family relationships. I had to make a list of the names as she has 11 brothers, the oldest 35 years older I wavered between 3 and 4 stars. I liked the main character, a District Court Judge named Deborah Knott, writing in in first person. She lives in what was once completely rural N.C. but is changing with tract houses because of its closeness to Raleigh (?). Dallas Stancil is shot but that murder is immediately solved and the book goes on from there to questions about land sales/ownership and family relationships. I had to make a list of the names as she has 11 brothers, the oldest 35 years older than she. Took me awhile through the book to find that her father had 2 wives, the second obviously younger than the first but this makes the brother 69 and her father is in his 80's? Haven't read the first book in this series so maybe it says her father was in his teens when he fathered his first child. Not being a dog person I was glad that the stuff about dogs and dogs hunting rabbits wasn't too lengthy!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Land is the focus and greed. Someone has killed a neighbor - is it hunters or his greedy family? Debra's California brother is in town and rumor is he's selling his land to developers. Debra sees surveyor markings but is busy kissing Kidd and trying to find the killer. The neighbor's father is also killed and there is a signed note he's agreed to sell the son's land once it reverts to him. He's killed before he can execute his new will which gives half his holdings to Merrilee and half to Alan, D Land is the focus and greed. Someone has killed a neighbor - is it hunters or his greedy family? Debra's California brother is in town and rumor is he's selling his land to developers. Debra sees surveyor markings but is busy kissing Kidd and trying to find the killer. The neighbor's father is also killed and there is a signed note he's agreed to sell the son's land once it reverts to him. He's killed before he can execute his new will which gives half his holdings to Merrilee and half to Alan, Debra's first husband. Alan was a race car driver with kids all over the state. This is a good look at country life, Thanksgiving vs Harvest, but not much of a murder mystery. Unconvincing at best.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Davidg

    This was a 2.5 star read but I am in a generous mood. Although I find Deborah Knott an engaging character, I thought the pace of the story was a little slow. Knott, or one of her family, just happen to find themselves at just the moment and in the place where something happens. One of them is always there and it just seems a little unlikely.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kellene

    I enjoy this series and the fact that I know a lot of the locations in the story. And I love Deborah's family and the interaction she has with them, especially her father. The resolution to this was a shocker, and not a very satisfactory solution for me due to the supposed motive. But I'll still continue with the series and watching what happens next in the Knott family sags.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    What will people do for money? What will people do to avoid embarrassment? What will people do for those they love - or those they no longer love. One of the more interesting bits was the Right of inheritance and how you measure who has the closest blood relationship with someone who dies without spouse, child, or parents.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bronwyn Echols

    To be fair, it might have been my reading, but I thought that the plot got way too complicated for too little return; it would have helped to have had Deb'rah engage in an explanatory chat with Bryant, as the revelation of the perp felt as if it came out of nowhere. On the other hand, the writing moves right along, is engaging, and has a nice amount of Southern and North Carolina background.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Camilla Harry

    Thoroughly enjoying this series. One of the best so far, and I have skipped around a bit in this series; even though I do like to read them in order. Did not have the culprit figured out until near the end. But I'll never be able to keep all the siblings straight! Too many for this only child! Can't even imagine having that many brothers, sisters, etc.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dara S.

    This was not one of my favorite Deborah Knott books. It is all about land, the selling and development of the land. The book does give a lot of information about all of Deborah's many brothers, a few sisters-in-law and some of her nieces and nephews.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    I enjoyed the extended family (11 brothers and one sister) and descriptions of life on the east coast of North Carolina. But the book felt dated to me, written in the mid 90s. And the "murder mystery" was weak.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Loving the quick reads of mystery and murder in the Blue Ridge Parkway and the good old down South humor insinuated throughout the books.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Clio

    Just as good as Bootlegger's Daughter, a fantastic return to focusing on the incredible setting and it feels like Thanksgiving with a big southern family.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    I just love this series! I highly recommend Maron's books!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Vishal

    The book is not best of the author. The story has lots of contents not relating to the story. Also the story is slow and not so eager to see what comes next

  22. 5 out of 5

    Linda Selbach

    So far not my favorite.

  23. 4 out of 5

    MJ

    Already read this some time ago!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jack Heath

    Synopsis: Judge Knott's table is set for Thanksgiving, but two violent murders occur that weekend. One is a moonshining friend of her father's.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Environment tells a lot of the story. Enjoyed it greatly.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    Didn't enjoy as much as some other Deborah Knott books -- outcome was pretty confusing.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Bartlett

    I find this series very enjoyable and reliable - even more so if you are from North Carolina.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    Another great mystery, with sassy Judge Deborah Knott, who does sleuthing in between doing her job as a judge. In Up Jumps The Devil, its murder, and inheritance of land that is trouble and she is bound and determined to find the person responsible for the murder, with or without the law's help. From Amazon: 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 su Another great mystery, with sassy Judge Deborah Knott, who does sleuthing in between doing her job as a judge. In Up Jumps The Devil, its murder, and inheritance of land that is trouble and she is bound and determined to find the person responsible for the murder, with or without the law's help. From Amazon: 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.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    This is such a solid series. Margaret Maron has done such a nice job of accurately (and amusingly) portraying the characters and culture of a family in the rural South. Then she adds in entertaining courtroom scenes, accurate cadence of speech and accents, and plenty of discussion of food, dogs, fishing, and small town-life. It's a potent mixture of mystery and charming family shenanigans. This particular book dealt with land ownership and the conflict of multi-generational farmers and developme This is such a solid series. Margaret Maron has done such a nice job of accurately (and amusingly) portraying the characters and culture of a family in the rural South. Then she adds in entertaining courtroom scenes, accurate cadence of speech and accents, and plenty of discussion of food, dogs, fishing, and small town-life. It's a potent mixture of mystery and charming family shenanigans. This particular book dealt with land ownership and the conflict of multi-generational farmers and development contractors. Good stuff, and I was surprised by whodunnit. Judge Deborah Knott (the main character) has a very sweet relationship with her various family members (all 40 of them or however many there are - a LOT) and with her significant other, Kidd. The romance is totally non-schmaltzy, which I appreciate.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kellie

    #4 of the Deborah Knott series-I enjoy these books because, after the 4th one, I feel like I am getting to know the characters. As a matter of fact, the story line involving the family was more interesting than the murder mystery in this one. This time, the murders happen in Deborah’s home town and it is over land. To be honest, I thought the mystery part of this story was weak. I enjoy reading about Deborah’s life as a District Court Judge and the cases she is involved in. I also enjoy reading #4 of the Deborah Knott series-I enjoy these books because, after the 4th one, I feel like I am getting to know the characters. As a matter of fact, the story line involving the family was more interesting than the murder mystery in this one. This time, the murders happen in Deborah’s home town and it is over land. To be honest, I thought the mystery part of this story was weak. I enjoy reading about Deborah’s life as a District Court Judge and the cases she is involved in. I also enjoy reading about her family and all the aspects to her personal life. The series takes place in North Carolina for the most part and it’s neat reading about places I have been to. Enjoyable book but not great enough to stay up for.

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