LAST LESSONS OF SUMMER
Originally published in hardback (left) by Mysterious Press, 2003. Ebook edition (right) published by Maron & Company, 2015.
Winner of the Sir Walter Raleigh Award, Best Novel of 2003; Agatha Nominee, Best Novel of 2003.
Margaret Maron has won multiple awards and has received immense acclaim, for her hugely popular Deborah Knott series. Now she introduces us to a new heroine who returns to her North Carolina roots to unearth the darkest secrets of her past.
In the suffocating heat of a Southern August, Amy Steadman, heir to a merchandising and publishing empire, has come to clean out the house of her murdered grandmother—and perhaps to find some answers. Beneath her quiet, accommodating manner, a storm is brewing.
For here in this gracious home, Amy’s own mother had committed suicide when her daughter was barely three years old. The tragedy put an end to her mother’s turbulent marriage to Amy’s father. But the secrets surrounding her mother’s death live on. Sorting through her grandmothers’ things, Amy reflects on the parallels between her parents’ relationship and the growing suspicions she has about her own husband, who may love her legacy more than he loves her.
As she rediscovers the tobacco-rich land where she spent her childhood summers, Amy meets relatives she never knew, and feels an unexpected emotional connection with the burly, knowing SBI agent looking into her grandmother’s murder. Suddenly, she begins to connect the dots between her troubled life and the heritage that shaped her. Yet the more she learns, the closer she comes to a murderous force who may be in her own family—one who will not hesitate to lie, deceive, or kill.
[A Main Selection of Mystery Guild and a Featured Alternate of The Literary Guild]
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Critical Praise for Last Lessons of Summer
"A standalone gem . . . A feast of clues and red herrings, the book builds to a climax that hits like a hot bullet blast. (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
"Well-plotted and suspenseful, with Maron's usual bonus: the ease with which she makes you love her scrappy heroines. (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)
"A searing saga of memory, betrayal and family secrets, it is as tough and unforgiving as the Piedmont clay of its setting. (The [Raleigh] News and Observer)
"An absorbing generational whodunit. (The New York TImes)