Uncommon Clay

Uncommon Clay

4.02 (2,036 ratings by Goodreads)
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Since its inception, the Judge Deborah Knott series has garnered all the top mystery prizes and received overwhelming accolades. Now Margaret Maron presents an engrossing tale of Southern arts and sudden death . . .

North Carolina's Randolph County is heavy with bright red clay and home to generations of skilled potters. Two of the best are James Lucas Nordan and Sandra Kay Hitchcock, locked in a bitter divorce after twenty-five years of marriage. Enter Judge Deborah Knott, who must settle the most exasperating part of any divorce case--the equitable distribution of marital property.

As creative as it was stormy, the Nordans' marriage produced great artistic achievement that continued the legacy of James Lucas's father and proud clan patriarch. Old Amos Norton is no stranger to tragedy. Two years earlier, his more talented son, Donny, committed suicide . . . in a manner so scandalous that Amos still can't bear to speak of it.

Suddenly, amid the petty bickering, an even more gruesome death strikes the Nordans again. Violence stalks the family homestead as the sins of the past catch up with the Nordan family. Judge Knott knows she must summon all her considerable insight into the darkest entanglements of the human heart, if she is to stop a malevolent killer well-crafted in the art of murder.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 18mm | 576g
  • English
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 0692780602
  • 9780692780602

Review quote

"In this eighth book in the Judge Deborah Knott series (after 2000's Storm Track), Maron employs spare, straightforward prose and the languid language of the Carolina Piedmont to spin an exceptionally gripping tale of hate, jealousy and murder. Still smarting from the betrayal of her lover, Kidd Chapin, the redoubtable jurist travels to Randolph County, N.C., in order to settle the equitable distribution of the marital property of a pair of freshly divorced potters, Sandra Kay Nordan and James Lucas Nordan. Before she can finish her legal duties, however, somebody bakes James Lucas in a kiln. Deborah's own sense of loss in the wake of Kidd's rejection helps her empathize with patriarch Amos Nordan's multiple tragedies (another son died two years earlier) as well as a hired woman's grief over her retarded son. Amidst a beautifully evoked flowering spring countryside, Deborah pursues the murderer with her usual keen eye and common sense. If the book fairly swells with passion, a healthy dose of Southern humor keeps things from getting too maudlin. By the time the story reaches its dramatic conclusion, readers will be in mourning, wishing the end hadn't come so soon. Maron's mastery of jurisprudence, her well-researched depiction of the potting world but especially her sensitive portrayal of human relationships raise this novel far above the ordinary run of mysteries." -- Publishers Weekly (2001)
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Rating details

2,036 ratings
4.02 out of 5 stars
5 30% (602)
4 45% (921)
3 23% (473)
2 2% (32)
1 0% (8)
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