Originally published in hardcover by Mysterious Press, 2004.
Agatha Nominee, Best Novel of 2004; Macavity Nominee, Best Novel of 2004.
Called “one of the most seamless Southern writers since Margaret Mitchell” by Publishers Weekly, Margaret Maron has won mystery’s top literary prizes with her popular Deborah Knott series. Now she returns to the world of her engaging heroine with a new novel set in the achingly beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, where leaves are turning . . . and corpses are deadly still.
Judge Deborah Knott has agreed to “tie the knot” with childhood friend Deputy Sheriff Dwight Bryant, and her numerous relatives are acting as if it’s the love match of the century. It’s not, and suddenly Deborah’s wondering whether friendship, mutual history, and good sex are enough to make a marriage. Her antidote for cold feet? She’s heading for the hills.
When asked to fill in for a vacationing judge in Cedar Gap, a five-hour drive from her flatland home, Deborah readily agrees. It’s the perfect place to clear her head with its fresh mountain air, gorgeous fall foliage, and tourists thicker than fleas on a blue tick hound.
But a prominent Cedar Gap doctor has been brutally murdered and Judge Knott arrives in time to hear the probable cause case against the young man who’s been arrested. With enough evidence to go to trial, Deborah rules that the case can go forward . . . despite her reservations about his guilt.
When a second prominent citizen takes a deadly fall, Deborah realizes that an undercurrent of malice runs through this postcard pretty town, where real estate prices are soaring and rich outsiders are replacing the locals amid the rolling hills. Soon, she’s looking at Cedar Gap with critical eyes while giving an equally hard look at her relationship with Dwight. What she sees will rock her with a whole new theory about the murder case . . . and her impending marriage. Yet Deborah Knott had better take a look in her rearview mirror as well, or she might end up as another corpse in the High Country fall . . .
Critical Praise for High Country Fall
“When it comes right down to it, however, it’s the comfortable ordinariness of Maron’s distinctively unheroic heroine that makes this entry in the long-running series so appealing.” (Booklist, starred review)
“The roadways aren’t the only thing with hairpin turns in this gripping puzzler.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
“Maron has given readers another gem.” (Romantic Times)
“Deborah takes the reader exactly where the reader wants to go, from turkey calls to down-home country musicales. Now, that’s culture.” (The New York Times)