Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Margaret Maron's Christmas Mourning has the right title.

Set in the Christmas season, the book begins with the death of a high school cheerleader in an auto accident. Colleton County, N.C., Judge Deborah Knott and her sheriff's deputy husband look into the matter.  What they find is exactly what you would expect to find in a small town.  There are a whole host of interwoven relationships which led to the young woman's death and to the deaths of others as the story proceeds.  A part of what happens leads us back into the history of these people and this place.

This book is filled with Christmas trappings.  It is written in what I would call a calm way.  No rushing through the story.  You see the good and the bad, and you get a strong sense of the kind of nasty rivalries which sometimes exist among teenagers.

As I read this book, I thought about the current emphasis on high school bullying.  There are all kinds of bullying.  Teenagers sometimes bully gay students, but there is also a kind of heterosexual bullying. This book deals with the latter.

As I said at the start, this book has the correct title.  There is true mourning in Colleton this Christmas season.  There is also a sense of family and community which helps complete the story.

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