Margaret Maron. Three-Day Town. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2011.

In this latest Deborah Knott mystery, author Margaret Maron leaves the old tobacco fields and new subdivisions of Colleton County for the bright lights and deli food of New York City.  Deborah and Dwight are finally taking a honeymoon, and thanks to Dwight’s sister-in-law they have the use of an apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.  Sightseeing and romance are the big items on the agenda, but Deborah has one small errand to run–delivering a package to the daughter of one of Colleton County’s grand dames.  The intended recipient is out of town when Deborah arrives, but her daughter, NYPD Lieutenant Sigrid Harald, is available to pick it up.

Longtime fans of Margaret Maron will recognize the name Sigrid Harald–she is the main character in Maron’s first mystery series, set in New York and written while Maron herself lived there.  One of the pleasures of this book is watching  Harald and Deborah dance around each other after the statue that Deborah was to deliver is stolen and a man is murdered in her apartment.  While Deborah is a touch defensive about being a Southerner, Sigrid is cool and all-business.  It’s Dwight who has the in with the lieutenant since he is a lawman and knows the procedures to follow when the bodies are found.

Yes, bodies.  A change in the setting is not the only difference between this novel and earlier titles.  The body count is significantly higher than in most of the Deborah Knott novels, and the domestic dramas that were such a large part of the past few novels are barely present.  In place of Deborah’s extended family, this story is populated with moderately successful actors and artists, edgy detectives, a building superintendent who is not what he seems, and an evasive co-op board president.  The delightful “To Hell With Winter” party scene early on captures the romance of city life, along with its sinister undercurrents.  Even with this new setting, Three-Day Town advances the reader’s understanding of Deborah and her world, and will certainly satisfy fans of the series.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Maron, Margaret, Mystery, Novels in Series

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