With this book, I discovered a new-to-me author who writes the kind of mysteries I like best. It's where they create an on-going character in a series whose real life is developed and revealed bit by bit along with each mystery that is solved. My favorite authors who write like this are Elizabeth George, John Harvey, Peter Robinson, and Nevada Barr. I've read every book they've ever written, so I was delighted when I happened upon Margaret Maron.
This first title that features Deborah Knott was published in 1992 and she has written 13 more since then, so this series should last me awhile.
The setting is North Carolina in an area that is transitioning from tobacco farms to suburbs. Deborah is a lawyer who's running for judge. She comes from a huge family where she's the youngest, and the only daughter after 11 boys.
As a teenager, she was a babysitter for the Whiteheads. 18 years ago, Janie was found dead in an old mill with her screaming 3-month-old beside her. Now Gayle is about to graduate, and she begs Deborah to try to find out why her mother was killed. Even after two separate investigations, the murder remains unsolved and continues to haunt Gayle. She's even suspicious of her own father.
Deborah is reluctant to take on this task, but feels that it can't hurt to ask a few questions to maybe pacify Gayle. She quickly realizes that the murderer is feeling threatened when the potter who lived next to the mill is shot dead.
The background for this spread looks much better in person than in the photo. I painted with Periwinkle and Wedgewood Green, and when dry, gave it a light wash with Melted Butter. The title was written with a Pitt brush pen and shadowed with a black micron pen.