Margaret Maron, winner of both the Edgar and the Agatha awards, is one of North Carolina’s most beloved mystery writers. She originally began writing in Brooklyn, producing nine books in the Sigrid Harald series.
Lt. Sigrid Harald, an NYPD homicide detective, lives for her work. Describing the series, which begins with “One Coffee With,” Maron says “I knew the series would cover one year in her life and that I would let her change and grow over that year. I also knew there would be an overarching mystery running through the whole series of how her police officer father was killed in the line of duty and how that past affected her present.”
Maron’s second series featuring Deborah Knott takes place in Maron’s native North Carolina in fictional Colleton County, a thinly veiled recasting of North Carolina’s rural Johnston County. Beginning with “Bootlegger’s Daughter” in which Deborah becomes a judge, she and her sprawling extended family not only chance upon multiple dead bodies, but display Southern culture at its best, worst, and most entrancing.
To the delight of her readers, the two series intersect twice: once in “Three Day Town” when Deborah and her new deputy sheriff husband Dwight honeymoon in New York and stumble across a murder. Sigrid, of course, is called in to investigate. The other encounter occurs in “The Buzzard Table” when Sigrid comes to Colleton County to visit her dying grandmother and, naturally, gets pulled into helping Deborah and Dwight catch a killer.
Maron’s mysteries are well wrought, her character development is very satisfying, and her depiction of culture, both North Carolina and New York, is spot on.