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Designated Daughters by Margaret Maron
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Designated Daughters

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Narrator Margaret Maron

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Length 7 hours 49 minutes
Language English
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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.

Margaret Maron grew up in the country near Raleigh, North Carolina, but for many years lived in Brooklyn, New York. When she and her artist husband returned to the farm that had been in her family for a hundred years, she began a series based on her own background. The first book, Bootlegger's Daughter, became a Washington Post bestseller that swept the major mystery awards for its year -- winning the Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Awards for Best Novel -- and is among the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century as selected by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.

Later, her Deborah Knott novels Up Jumps the Devil, Storm Track, and Three-Day Town each also won the Agatha Award for Best Novel. Margaret is also the author of the Sigrid Harald series of detective novels. In 2008, Maron received the North Carolina Award for Literature, the highest civilian honor the state bestows on its authors. And in 2013, the Mystery Writers of America celebrated Maron's contributions to the mystery genre by naming her a Grand Master -- an honor first bestowed on Agatha Christie. To find out more about her, you can visit MargaretMaron.com.

Margaret Maron grew up in the country near Raleigh, North Carolina, but for many years lived in Brooklyn, New York. When she and her artist husband returned to the farm that had been in her family for a hundred years, she began a series based on her own background. The first book, Bootlegger's Daughter, became a Washington Post bestseller that swept the major mystery awards for its year -- winning the Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Awards for Best Novel -- and is among the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century as selected by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.

Later, her Deborah Knott novels Up Jumps the Devil, Storm Track, and Three-Day Town each also won the Agatha Award for Best Novel. Margaret is also the author of the Sigrid Harald series of detective novels. In 2008, Maron received the North Carolina Award for Literature, the highest civilian honor the state bestows on its authors. And in 2013, the Mystery Writers of America celebrated Maron's contributions to the mystery genre by naming her a Grand Master -- an honor first bestowed on Agatha Christie. To find out more about her, you can visit MargaretMaron.com.

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This month only!

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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.โ€”Publishers Weekly "Smartly written"โ€”The New York Times on The Buzzard Table "As always, Maron skillfully layers an absorbing plot with the doings of Deborah's large extended family and the domestic details of their semirural lifestyle. In addition, the contrast between Deborah, who is warm and caring, and Sigrid, who is reserved and cerebral, gives Maron's tale added depth."โ€”Booklist on The Buzzard Table "Maron...adroitly melds ugly American (open) government secrets with classic whodunit intrigue and stirs the pot by itemizing domestic travails that will touch readers' hearts."โ€”Kirkus Reviews on The Buzzard Table "There's nobody better."โ€”Chicago Tribune "Every Margaret Maron is a celebration of something remarkable."โ€”New York Times Book Review Expand reviews
Celebrate our 10th Anniversary with giveaways, merch, and more! Learn more