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Publisher's Summary

When Judge Deborah Knott is summoned to her ailing Aunt Rachel's bedside, she assumes the worst. Thankfully when she arrives at the hospice center she learns that Rachel hasn't passed; in fact, the dying woman is awake. Surrounded by her children, her extended family, and what seems like half of Colleton County, a semi-conscious Rachel breaks weeks of pained silence with snippets of stories as randomly pieced together as a well-worn patchwork quilt. But the Knott family's joy quickly gives way to shock: Less than an hour later, Aunt Rachel is found dead in her bed, smothered with a pillow.
Who would kill a woman on her deathbed? Was it an act of mercy, or murder? As Deborah and her husband, Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant, investigate they cross paths with an unlikely set of suspects: Rachel's longtime minister; her neighbor, the respected local doctor; the friendly single father who often sought her advice; and perhaps the most puzzling party of all, the Designated Daughters, a support group for caregivers that Rachel's own daughter belongs to.
Soon Deborah and Dwight realize that the key to solving this case is hidden in Rachel's mysterious final words. Her mixed-up memories harbored a dark secret - a secret that someone close to them is determined to bury forever.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2014 Margaret Maron (P)2014 Hachette Audio
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Critic Reviews

In MWA Grand Master Maron's outstanding 19th mystery featuring judge Deborah Knott of North Carolina's Colleton County (after 2012's The Buzzard Table), Deborah's elderly aunt, Rachel Morton, lies near death in a hospice. Rachel attracts a crowd of friends and relatives as she talks of "babies, fires, and unpaid debts, of someone who beat his wife and of cowbirds and vegetables and broken jars." A distraction allows a killer enough time to slip into Rachel's room and smother her with a pillow, thus ending her ramblings, which apparently concealed deadly secrets. Unraveling those secrets - some 60 years old - is a slow, difficult process with lots of suspects among friends and family. Maron achieves a delicate balance as she explores differences between mistakes, sins, and crimes, and shows that justice is not always arrived at by conventional means. Humor (e.g., Deborah outfoxes an unscrupulous auctioneer) and social issues (e.g., the difficult role of caregivers to the elderly) add to the warmth of a large family with all its foibles, squabbles, and quirks. ( Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By Janet on 08-23-14

Bewildered by change of narrators ...............

What would have made Designated Daughters better?

Go back to original narrator.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Too put off by narrator to have a favorite.

What didn’t you like about Margaret Maron’s performance?

I identified with the characters in the other narrators voice. I felt sort of lost listening to this narrator ,I never felt like I was drawn into the story I was too busy trying to figure out who was who in the story.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The story was good and the narrator's voice wasn't a bad voice , but I have come to identify the other narrator with Debra Knot .

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13 of 13 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Denise on 09-05-14

Bring back CJ Critt!

Would you try another book from Margaret Maron and/or Margaret Maron?

If the author insists on narrating again, NO. i've listened to every previous book. they were all very enjoyable. why change from a very good narrator to the author? i couldn't get past the first couple of chapters.

If you’ve listened to books by Margaret Maron before, how does this one compare?

i'm sure the book is fine, but i can't get past the sub-par narration.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

She doesn't set the scene or know how to delineate characters. good narrators give a performance -- she gave a one-note reading.

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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