By Margaret Maron

Unchecked urbanization has started to eclipse the North Carolina geographical region. As farms fall down to shoddy mansions, farmers fight to sluggish the rampant progress. within the shadows, corrupt county commissioners use their political leverage to make ecocnomic bargains with new builders. A homicide will pull pass judgement on Deborah Knott and Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant into the center of this sour dispute and strength them to confront a few darkish realities.

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Kezzie. She’s about to give away more of our land. Grandy might’ve left it in her name, but you know good as me he wanted her to pass it on down to my mother. It’s been in our family over two hundred years and yeah, nobody wants to farm it any more, but it don’t seem right for her to let somebody have for free what the whole family’s sweated and bled for all these years. ” Kezzie Knott lit a cigarette from the hard pack that was always in his shirt pocket and leaned against the truck to listen to a story whose outline had become all too familiar in the past few years.

Yes, Daddy blackmailed a crook to get me appointed, but neither he nor any of my friends or family have ever gotten a cent out of it, unlike the men who put Candace Bradshaw on the board, where she happily does their bidding with girlish giggles and much tossing of her long brown hair. Our food came and, as we ate, talk turned to the familiar—the children, neighbors, our gardens, and whether or not Dwight and I were ever going to take a real honeymoon. I married him a few days before Christmas and his eight-year-old son had stayed on to spend the holidays with us before returning to his mother in Virginia.

White Lady Banks roses were beginning to bud amid the purple wisteria blossoms that hung like clusters of grapes from the trellis that shaded his back door, and terra-cotta tubs of shasta daisies, basil, and dill stood on either side of the gate that opened onto a passageway to the street. To his dismay, he heard the clip-clop of backless sandals hurrying up that same passageway. He reached for the doorknob and wondered if there was time to get inside and pretend not to be at home. As he suspected, it was Deanna.

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