Killer Market

Margaret Maron, Author Mysterious Press $32 (288p) ISBN 978-0-89296-654-7
In a disappointing fifth entry in a robust series (Bootlegger's Daughter; Up Jumps the Devil, etc.), district court judge Deborah Knott substitutes on the bench for a vacationing colleague in High Point, North Carolina's furniture center, during the bustling Global Home Furnishings Market. Maron places her murder in a setting packed with industry jargon and lore. There's an immediately suspicious figure in elusive, eccentric Savannah, a legendary designer who's returned to High Point after a long absence from the decorating scene. Slippery as lemon oil, Savannah draws everyone's attention while someone kills Chan Nolan with a penicillin-laced brownie. Who knew that Chan, a widower who Deborah dated as a teenager, was allergic? His mother-in-law, Dixie Babcock, an old friend of Deborah's from law school, introduces her to numerous Market attendees. Many have strong motives for murder: the longtime employers Chan was leaving to form a new company of his own in Malaysia; spurned lovers; independent dealers who blame Chan for lost business; an evasive reporter; the mysterious Savannah--even Dixie and her neighbor Pell, who feared Chan would take Dixie's adored granddaughter, Lynette, to Malaysia. Deborah identifies the killer by sorting through everyone's dark secrets and some obviously arranged clues. Some readers will enjoy the furniture and decorating lore, but most will look forward to Deborah's return to the cozy milieu of her home town and colorful family. Author tour. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/1997
Release date: 08/01/1997
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