Saturday, February 27, 2021

Remembering Margaret Maron



HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, such a bright light extinguished in mystery world. The incomparable Margaret Maron. I’ll wager there’s not a reader among us in Reds territory who has not read her books, and loved them, and learned from them. And if you have not, today is a good day to begin. In honor of her talent, and her joy, and her love and her legacy.

As a tribute to our Margaret, who changed each and every Red’s life. And isn’t that pretty amazing? She was so tough, and so sure of herself (it seemed) and hilarious.

She taught herself to write, she’d tell you. And when she’d visit new places, she’d ask those who lived there: “what might get a person killed around here?



She won every major mystery award, including the Edgar (for her first novel, The Bootlegger’s Daughter), Agatha and Anthony and everything else. She wrote 10 Sigrid Harald books, about a New York Police lieutenant, and the 20-volume set of Deborah Knott books, the groundbreaking series about a district court judge in North Carolina. (Which is not the half of it.)

She wrote short stories, and magazine articles and a wonderful essay for Writes of Passage, the Sisters in Crime anthology I edited. She wrote her own obituary.

I met her--gosh, in 2007. At the Malice Domestic conference in Bethesda, the mecca for traditional mystery authors, and to bestower of the Agatha Award. I was the newbiest of the newbies, and, like some enormous rite of passage, I know that Margaret Maron--a name everyone said with reverence--would be the moderator/questioner/interrogator for the infamous Best First Novel nominees panel. We were told, sotto voce, “Be very afraid.” I was, indeed.

She had obviously read every one of the nominee’s books-- my Prime Time, and those of Deanna Raybourn, Beth Groundwater and Charles Finch.

She asked me (with that accent, and that confident demeanor): “Looking back on your book now, what do you wish you had done differently?

I looked at her, feeling like a spooked rabbit. I blurted out the truth. “Nothing,” I said. “I love it.”

She burst out laughing.

JENN McKINLAY: Margaret Maron was for me one of the reasons I became a mystery writer. I discovered Bootlegger’s Daughter in 1995, before writing mysteries was even a concrete idea in my head and I became a diehard fan of her Judge Deborah Knott series, eagerly anticipating every new release. I only met her in passing at Malice Domestic once, but I remember she treated me as an equal, even though I was very new to the mystery world, and I appreciated it so very much. She was one of the unofficial ambassadors of the genre and she will be greatly missed.

LUCY BURDETTE: My first published mystery, SIX STROKES UNDER, by the other me, Roberta Isleib, was nominated for an Agatha award for best first mystery. Julia was the ultimate winner on that same panel, which also included Nancy Martin, Pip Granger, Lea Wait, and Claire Johnson. With the esteemed Margaret Maron moderating. It was my first public panel and I was absolutely terrified. Margaret was so perfect for that panel because she made each of us feel completely special. I know she had read each of the books--her questions showed this. And if she thought some of us were hacks who didn’t have a clue what we were doing, that never leaked through. It was truly a highlight of my career. Aside from her writing, which was lovely, she was a pillar of the mystery community--outspoken when she needed to be, level-headed, kind and oh so very smart. We have lost a bright light in our little part of the world.

RHYS BOWEN: In this time when every day seems to bring a news loss, a new grief to our mystery community Margaret Maron’s death hits particularly hard. She was a brilliant writer, of course—the only person to have won every award, including the Edgar, for her first novel. But she was also a kind, generous person who embraced the whole of the mystery community as her family. She was a founder of Sisters in Crime and a champion of women writers.

I learned of her when my first novel, Evans Above, was published in 1997. I received a hand-written letter from Margaret Maron telling me how much she loved the book.Margaret Maron had taken the time to tell me she loved my book. I was gobsmacked.

Then at my first Malice I met her in person and soon became friends with her and Joe. We shared many a meal or drink at subsequent conventions. She was an essential part of Malice and I can’t imagine it without her. First Parnell Hall and now Margaret. So much grieving.

HALLIE EPHRON: I was thrilled to meet Margaret at several mystery conferences. She was always warm and welcoming and generous. And of course I was a big fan of her series… a woman judge was trailblazing.

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Hank, my memories of Margaret have to do with the Best First Novel panel at Malice as well. Like Jenn, she was a writing idol to me, and her work heavily influenced my own choices when I began my series. So knowing she was going to read my book! And sit on a panel with me!! And ask me questions!!! I was more nervous and excited about that than the actual Agatha Award ceremony. She was a dream as a moderator - gracious, even-handed, and so well prepared. Afterwards, in the bar, I was sitting with Ross and a few others and she and Joe passed by. She stopped, put her hand on my shoulder and bent down, and said, “I thought your book was just wonderful.”

I told Ross I was never going to wash that shoulder again.

And speaking of Ross, one Malice he somehow fell in with Joe Maron and Julian Cannell, despite the fact they were old friends both old enough to be his father. The three of them went off to lunch and I found them later in the bar (of course) having a wonderful time - three men who were proud and supportive of their wives. Poor Joe! I grieve for him. Losing your spouse after sixty-plus years of marriage is a cruel blow.

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Margaret was one of the first people I met in the mystery community, at my very first Malice. The following year I was a Best First Novel nominee, and Margaret was, as others have mentioned, incredibly supportive and generous. She was not only an enormously talented writer, but a genuinely lovely person and a light in the mystery world. She will be much missed.

HANK: Let’s remember Margaret today, reds and readers. What can you share?

96 comments:

  1. How fortunate for readers that Margaret left us so many wonderful books to treasure . . . .

    It is indeed a tribute to Margaret to be so well-remembered by so many . . . . she will be sorely missed.

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    1. We are fortunate that she left a wonderful legacy, Joan.

      Diana

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  2. Yes, Joan, I so agree! How touching that so many have so many wonderful memories… Quite a legacy.

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  3. Here's my Margaret memory from a blog she wrote for my Meanderings and Muses:

    "Early in my Deborah Knott series, someone wrote me that she had read that I planned to take my judge to courtrooms all over the state of North Carolina.“If you ever want to bring her over here to the mountains, I’d be pleased to show you around and act as a resource person.” I wrote back and thanked her and stuck the letter in a folder marked Possible Future Books: Mtns. Eventually, I decided that yes, it might be fun to send Deborah out to the Blue Ridge Mountains. I rooted out the letter and wrote, “You once offered to be a resource. Does the offer still stand?”

    Which is how Kaye Barley came into my life and will be in my life forever."

    I was so so proud to be her friend.

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    1. that's a sweet story! how lucky you were to have her as a friend

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    2. Oh how wonderful, Kaye.
      That is an absolute treasure.

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    3. Kaye, I will never forget seeing you two "ladies in red" together at Malice! The room was so much brighter with the two of you together.

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  4. I'm ashamed to admit I have never read any of her books. Sadly, I never met her either. My first Malice was the final time she moderated the best first panel. (She had announced she was stepping done from that during the panel.) Even then, I knew what a moment I was witnessing.

    The warmth with which everyone has been speaking of her tells me what a wonderful person she was. I wish I had gotten to meet her.

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    1. Yes, that was quite a moment! I’m so happy you were there…

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  5. HANK, ROBERTA, JULIA: That's wonderful that Margaret moderated the best first panels at Malice that you were all on. What a warm welcome you received from one of the leading lights in the mystery community.

    I enjoyed reading The Bootlegger's Daughter and became a diehard fan of the Deborah Knott books.
    When Margaret announced the series was ending, I was really sad.

    Sadly, I did not go to the 2015 Raleigh Bouchercon (the only one I missed that decade) so I did not get to see Margaret as one of the GOH there, nor at Malice.

    Margaret will be sadly missed by some many of us.

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    1. Hmmm, I checked my bookshelves for my copy of THE BOOTLEGGER'S DAUGHTER and found it. I did get it signed by Margaret, but I don't remember when/where. I will treasure that book.

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    2. Oh lovely! I bet the memory will come back to you…

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    3. It would have been one of the Bouchercons in the 1990s...

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  6. What wonderful tributes today for a treasured friend and fellow writer. Like Mark, I have not read any of her books. My plan is to change that this year. Sincere condolences to all of you who considered her to be your friend.

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  7. When I read a couple of days ago that Margaret Maron had died, I was shocked. I never met her but felt as though I knew her. I’ve read all the Deborah Knott novels. Until just now I thought I had read all the Sigrid Harald novels but it looks as though I missed two or three. I plan to look for them. I think I’ll reread all her novels, as a tribute to her.

    DebRo

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    1. I haven't read the Sigrid books but I will look for those too

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    2. Such a perfect idea—there could be no better way!

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  8. I saw Margaret in action at the Best First panel ever year since I started going to Malice. It's a panel I never miss, because I've always had at least one friend nominated. I agree that she was always so gracious and informed about those best-of-newbie books.

    But reading her books is something I have somehow missed out on, which I plan to remedy ASAP, especially given all these glowing testimonies.

    We've lost another Sister-Goddess.

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    1. She was amazing at those panels—so thoughtfully prepared.

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  9. Your tributes, ladies, brought tears to my eyes.
    Losing a favourite author is like losing a friend.
    I loved the Deborah Knott series and read it all. I was not aware of the Sigrid Harald series and will remedy that now.

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  10. I met Margaret Maron on the shelves of my local library. I would wander down the aisles of the Mystery section and look for female authors and one day I picked up a Margaret Maron book and became a fan. I loved the stories of Deborah and her father and her family, and I particularly loved reading about how Deborah woke up to the realization that she not only loved Dwight but was in love with him. Such good story telling. I must read the series over again...

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    1. Also: Margaret brought Deborah and Sigrid together in a story https://chapelboro.com/town-square/columns/one-on-one/a-character-from-margaret-marons-past-plays-a-new-role#:~:text=How%20does%20she%20bring%20back,in%20solving%20Knott's%20murder%20mysteries.

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    2. AMANDA: Deborah's scenes with her large family were a huge draw for me. And the story arc with her and Dwight was worth the wait.

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    3. Yes, she was so innovative about the family element , don’t you think?

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    4. Deborah and Sigrid also work together in a novel, Three-Day Town, which won the 2011 Agatha for Best Novel.

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  11. In a way, Margaret Maron inspired my Brooklyn series. I had published a couple of books with a publisher who then dropped their mystery line. I was trying to figure out what I really wanted to do next. I already loved the Deborah Knott books and I went to hear Margaret discuss them at a Malice event. When she said they began with learning NC judges cover for each other all over the state the big light bulb went on for me! I could adapt that to write about my adopted home, Brooklyn's amazing diversity. Much later, I told her that story when I asked if she would consider writing a blurb for one of my books. She had generally stopped blurbing, but wrote one for me because of that. Was I thrilled? What do you think? I met her a few times, heard her speak, learned something every single time. I wish I'd really known her. She was a terrific writer and a generous person who will be so greatly missed.

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    1. That is such a perfect legacy, too! You have the Maron lineage in every way…

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  12. I recall reading one of Margaret's Sigrid books long ago. It just didn't grab me, so I didn't pursue the series. Flash forward and one day, browsing somewhere, I came upon a Deborah Knott book, thinking, hmm, I know I've seen that author's name somewhere.... Oh boy, was I a happy reader! More, give me more!! I adored Deborah and her family, the setting, the stories--all of it. Picking up a new book was like going 'home' for a visit.

    As I mentioned the other day, I can still vividly recall scenes I read from many of Margaret's books--one murder especially--the poor young man who died on a twisty mountain road because someone had deliberately put a snake in his car. My favorite character after Deborah was her daddy. Rest in peace, Margret, your spirit surely endures among your family, friends, and grateful readers!

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    1. 'Margaret' not Margret, cold fingers this morning....

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    2. Oh, a snake in a car on a mountain road. Wow. That is brilliant.

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  13. Margaret Maron was one of my all-time favorite authors. I believe I have read every book she published, plus quite a few of her short stories. I never had the privilege of meeting her. I enjoyed the Sigrid Harald series and eventually became fond of Sigrid. But for those wanting to experience Maron's writing for the first time, I recommend starting with Bootlegger's Daughter. She builds a community as real and compelling as Twin Pines, and when she finished I mourned not just never spending time with Deborah again, but the loss of her whole crazy extended family. They were like friends to me!

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    1. And that is how she meant them to be. Such a legacy.

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  14. The first time I met Margaret Maron was at a Malice convention. I was telling a friend that I love Margaret Maron and hope to meet her. Another friend called me away and introduced us and I just gosh, couldn't say anything but "hi." Then her husband Joe saw my badge and said "Brooklyn" and pulled me away and we sat for 30 minutes talking about Brooklyn. Every place he mentioned I knew and kept telling him, it's not the same as he remembered. The next time I saw them both, they always gave me a hug and of course Joe and I had to have a Brooklyn chat. She will be missed.

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    1. Oh Dru— I cannot imagine you at a loss for words :-) how adorable. And so much fun that you got to connect with Joe. xxxx

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  15. I remember how sad I was when I learned that Long Upon the Land was the final Deborah Knott book. And, I'll admit to harboring the hope that Margaret would write just one (or two, three...) more right up until I heard of her death this week. I enjoyed the Sigrid Harald books but the Knott series was definitely my favorite. Such vivid characters and settings.

    When I was trying to decide about buying a Kindle in its early days, I wasn't sure that I could make the transition to reading from a screen. I decided to to start with a book that I could be sure would engage me from page one. So I waited until Margaret's newest was out (Christmas Mourning) and I never gave the format a thought after the first few minutes.

    I never had the privilege to meet her or even see her in person. But I am grateful to have known her through her characters and stories.

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    1. Always brilliant to have a good friend nearby when you are trying something new! What a lovely story.

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  16. Loved her books so much...I was/am a huge fan of her Sigrid Harald series, a perfect character arc, and each one a perfect golden age style mystery. A couple of them are my favorite mysteries of all time. What a beautiful legacy.

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    1. Which one would you recommend people start with?

      And somehow this post reminded me – – didn’t she only travel by car and train? She didn’t like to fly?

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  17. From the very beginning Margaret became my favorite author! my mother who read even more than I did was always buying books and passing them on to me. Those books included RD condensed books, which I did not like - I wanted all of the words. I remember her saying that she thought I would really like a particular one of the selections and she was right. I had to get my hands on every one of Margaret Maron's books, preferably in hard cover. When she stopped writing I was sad, but I understood because I definitely did not want to read about Kezzie dying, nor did I want to think about him being 107 either. Best to let us readers imagine how Deborah and Dwight and the rest of them went on about their lives. While I never met her Margaret still felt like family to me; she was so loved and will be so missed!

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    1. Oh that is perfect! Yes, we can imagine them all, and Margaret too.

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    2. Judi, I agree - while on one hand, I would wish for as many Deborah Knott books as possible, there's something deeply satisfying about the author being able to tie up all loose ends and leave everyone where she wants them.

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  18. I am not sure which series I read of hers first but loved them both. I adored though the Deborah Knott books the best. I followed Margaret Maron on Facebook and loved when she’d respond to something I’d write. I remember writing on her page around an election time that it was weird not to see Judge Deborah Knott’s name on my ballot (I, too, live in the NC Triangle area). She responded back saying it wasn’t her time to run again (I paraphrase). Perfect response and I was thrilled she took the time to respond. I know she stopped writing a few years ago but I miss knowing she was in the world down the road.

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    1. So clever of you, and I am sure she laughed out loud!

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  19. I am not sure which series I read of hers first but loved them both. I adored though the Deborah Knott books the best. I followed Margaret Maron on Facebook and loved when she’d respond to something I’d write. I remember writing on her page around an election time that it was weird not to see Judge Deborah Knott’s name on my ballot (I, too, live in the NC Triangle area). She responded back saying it wasn’t her time to run again (I paraphrase). Perfect response and I was thrilled she took the time to respond. I know she stopped writing a few years ago but I miss knowing she was in the world down the road.

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  20. I love both series and reread them regularly. It's like checking in with old friends. I was very sad when Margaret announced that Long Upon the Land would be the last book and that Deborah had come full circle. She was a wonderful writer. And while I am happy that Mr. Kezzie will live forever, I will miss all the interactions with brothers and sisters-in-law and nieces and nephews (Annie and Stevie stand out) and watching Cal grow up. Almost I liked the family time more than the mystery. I will miss Kate and Rob too. Kate's stand alone, Bloody Kin, is a great read also.

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    1. It must be interesting for you, Maureen, to see how many people commenting today feel the same way about the family! And we are all family because of her, too.

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  21. Margaret Maron is one of my all-time favorite authors. I loved reading the Deborah Knott books - they are brilliant and definitely deserve a reread. I was completely drawn in by Deborah and her relationships and dynamics with her very large and complicated, but close, family. She is missed ~

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    1. Yes. It is so touching how much she would have loved to read this all… it reminds us of how careful we have to be to make sure people know we love them.

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  22. Heartbreaking. I've read all of her books, and always eagerly awaited the next one. One of my favorite mystery writers from her first book to the last.

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  23. Margaret was all you've all said, and so much more. She had a wicked sense of humor, and a friendship with other writers like Dorothy Cannell, Joan Hess, and others, and it was grand fun to be around them when they bantered at one another. One of my all-time favorite memories was of Margaret, Dorothy and Joan ("Miss HISSSS") having a ball in a skit they performed at Malice, the last year before Joan herself passed away.

    I first "met" Margaret on the wonderful, but defunct, Lipstick Chronicles blog that Nancy Martin began so many years ago. Margaret was one of the authors of the blog, and she wrote some of the funniest blog entries. There was also a rotating cast of imaginary characters who blogged, written by Kathy Sweeney, including a gay hair stylist who often gave beauty tips. I mentioned a kissproof lipstick I'd found and Margaret asked me to send the information to her. That was the beginning of a long correspondence that eventually included sharing flower seeds and calendars.

    I was so lucky to get included in some super fun cocktail hours at three or four Malice Domestics with the Marons, the Cannells, and Sarah and Steve Shaber, who were and still are very dear friends of one another. They were so very sweet to invite me to join their party, and it always was exactly that.

    Deborah Knott is an enduring and brilliant character, a strong woman who stands up for the law. And Margaret oh, so subversively imbued Deborah with her own political views, but without preaching, and in such a charming way. Margaret said her only regret about that series was in giving Deborah such an enormous family! All those brothers were a lot to keep track of over such a long-running series.

    We were lucky to have her while we did. I'm pretty sure, if there's a heaven, she and Joan Hess are up to no good right this minute. May her memory be a blessing.

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    1. So perfect! Yes.
      And some good news – – Karen, you won THE VINES! Email me your address so I can send it to Shelley. Xxxx

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    2. Karen, I love your memories. They were part of a whole generation of women who burst onto the crime fiction scene with funny or cozy or traditional mysteries with female protagonists at the center. They broke the hold of the 1970s "guy with a gun" narrative and opened our genre up to so many different types of stories.

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    3. Oh, how fun! Thanks, Hank!

      And yes, Julia, those grande dames of mystery were among my favorite writers. They changed it up for everyone.

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    4. What great stories, Karen. I know we all envy you your friendship with Margaret.

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    5. Nothing to envy, Debs. Others had much closer friendships. I consider my own a fairly casual one.

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  24. She has left us with a great legacy of wonderful stories.

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  25. When I first read her, I thought “this is American Literature”, not just a mystery. I need to reread everything she wrote now.

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  26. Thank you all for these wonderful memories. She always seemed wonderfully supportive of other women writing crime fiction (as you all are!) I just ordered some of the Deborah Knott books I haven't read yet and can't wait to dive in.

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    2. You two would have been instant friends. She would have loved you, and you her---you are both wise, thoughtful, and incredibly talented. And devoted to family. And wonderful fun.

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  27. At age 74, I am losing too many of my favorite authors!!! I truly loved all of Margaret's books---both the New York stories and those set in North Carolina and I was so very sad when the Deborah Knott series ended---it was like losing a part of my family. Condolences to all who will miss this lovely and talented lady.

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  28. I loved the 2015 Bouchercon in Raleigh. I could write an essay on all the great moments that happened for me there. One of those moments was meeting Margaret Maron. As Margaret was being honored as GOH at that Bouchercon, when I had the opportunity to speak to her and meet her, I felt like I would probably be intruding on her time with people she really needed and wanted to spend time with. But, when I introduced myself, I was met with such kindness and graciousness. I was gobsmacked. She was just the loveliest person ever. I’m so happy I worked up the courage to speak to her. I bought all the Deborah Knott books and got most of them signed by Margaret. Somehow my reading of them got interrupted, and I must get back to them now.

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  29. I was introduced to Deborah Knott by a co-worker in the fall of 1994. Loved Bootlegger's Daughter, so I blitzed my way through all the books as they were published. I grew up in North Carolina (though not in Deborah's neck of the woods) so I recognized a lot of the people and places Margaret wrote about. I was so sad when she announced she wasn't writing any more, and then to see the news in yesterday's Raleigh newspaper.

    I met Margaret at Bouchercon in Raleigh, and let me tell you, it was hard deciding which author's table I wanted to sit at for the event where you sit at a table with an author. Would it be Hank? Would it be Debs? Sooooo hard to decide, but I opted for Margaret, and was able to sit with her and chat with her during the meal and after. I will miss her greatly.

    And if you haven't read her actual obituary, please Google "margaret maron obituary" and read it.

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    1. I loved how she attended all those institutions, and "never managed to graduate from any of them". That is SO Margaret.

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  30. I loved all of Margaret Maron's books. I am not sure exactly where I picked up the first one, but once I read The Bootlegger's Daughter, I was hooked. I looked forward to each one coming out, and learning new things about Deborah's family and the part of NC where she lived. I got my daughter hooked on them also, and when my son was stationed at Fort Bragg, we were able to see her part of the country. A light in the writing world has gone out.

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    1. How perfect that you got to experience it firsthand!

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  31. Loving reading all your memories of Margaret and her books. She was a den mother to those of us who were Agatha Best First nominees, gathering us together in a huddle and encouraging us to "shine," crafting the perfect questions, guiding us through that terrifying experience of our first Malice panel. She treated us like colleagues and daughters, and always wanted to know, when she saw us in later years, what we were writing and how we were doing. Plus, as I learned at an amazing SinC retreat, she was a heck of a Scrabble player!

    We all love the novels, but she was also a terrific short story writer. "Deborah's Judgment," which introduced Deborah Knott, well before she became a judge, still knocks my socks off.

    God speed, my friend.

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    1. She left us all sockless, right? Den mother is SO perfect.

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  32. I don't remember how I first heard about Margaret's Deborah Knott series. I was hooked after reading the first book. I loved that big family that pulled Dwight in, the pig pickin's, the music, the extended family, the community, all of it. I was sorry when it ended but understood the reason behind it. I never had the pleasure of meeting Margaret but the world she created would have left me tongue-tied if we had met.

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  33. I never had the good fortune to meet Margaret Maron, but her books have been a gift of wonderful reading through the years. It is wonderful to read all of these fabulous memories and to realized she was exactly the person I had always thought (and hoped) she would be.

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    1. Oh, so lovely of you...yes, another way to spread the word. xx

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  34. I keep a folder of book quotes and one of my favorites, that I mention frequently, is from The Bootlegger's Daughter: Every time we start thinking we're the center of the universe, the universe turns around and says with a slightly distracted air, "I'm sorry. What'd you say your name was again?" R.I.P. Margaret and my sympathies to Joe.

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  35. This is a wonderful post and a tribute to Margaret Maron. I loved reading your comments. I still cannot wrap my brain around the news that Margaret Maron passed away. I found out when Charles Todd posted on their social media that the esteemed author died.

    Yes, I was so fortunate to meet Margaret Maron at my first Malice Domestic in 2016. My Mom and I loved her Deborah Knott mysteries for years before I went to the conference. She left us a wonderful legacy of her novels. Our condolences to Joe and her family.

    Diana

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  36. Margaret Maron blurbed my first novel. When I found out, I fell out of my chair and then danced around the house. I was dazzled and grateful and so honored. And then I had the chance to thank her in person at the Raleigh Bouchercon. It will always be one of my most treasured memories.

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  37. Thanks for gathering our memories of Margaret, Hank. It's so inspiring to see how universally loved she was - an excellent reminder to us all on how to treat others in an industry that can be very cruel.

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  38. I'm having a hard time imagining a conference without Margaret. I was such a fangirl and to be able to sit on an Agatha panel with her twice still makes me a little dizzy and very grateful. I'll miss her.

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  39. I'm not a writer, but an absolutely fantastic reader. One of the things I read every day, without fail, is Jungle Red Writers. I'm in California, and by the time I get to JRW in the afternoon, y'all have turned out the lights and put the cat out, so I don't often comment. Today, though, is special. In my long reading life (80+ years), two of my favorite mystery writers were Margaret M.s: Millar and Maron. What loss that both those pens are stilled. My first two Sigrid Harald books were from the library, but I was a fan from the beginning, and bought them both and never missed buying another Margaret Maron book. Sigrid and Deborah: two protagonists who could not differ more, but both brilliantly brought to life. How can an author do that? It was so satisfying when they finally met, not once, but twice. MM's books take up a shelf and a half in my permanent mystery library, and if anyone sees this and has not read every one of her written words, why not? (The year 2020 has been an ideal time to re-read every . single . one.) Lenita

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  40. Margaret joined us on Lipstick Chronicles for a while, and we frequently exchanged emails behind the scenes. One day Margaret was injured in a car accident, but she pulled herself together to appear at an event at a bookstore. We were appalled that she’d been hurt, but impressed that she pushed on. I made the mistake of calling her “feisty.” She bit my head off. “Only old ladies are feisty!” I never use that word without thinking of her.
    Nancy Martin

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  41. Margaret moderated my Best First Agatha award. I was so nervous. She wanted to know why I, a native New Yorker, wrote about the South. I got the impression she wasn't too happy about that! I explained I was a Tulane alum, and fell in love with Cajun Country during my college days. Then I gave an analogy about historical authors who wrote about a period of history they didn't live in but fascinated them. I used Rhys as an example. BUT - back to those nerves - instead of saying Rhys Bowen, I said Rhys Witherspoon. I was mortified. But Margaret was very kind to me after that.

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  42. Agatha Award PANEL. I was not the lucky winner that year. The always-fabulous Art Taylor took home the teapot. :-)

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  43. I was so sorry to hear of her passing. She blurbed one of my first novels (years ago, under a different name). I still remember meeting her in person, in a line at a conference, perhaps a buffet line? No matter, I was awkward and bumbling, meeting this amazing, gracious writer, whose work I so admired. And she was kind and gracious. What I remember is how kind she was, no matter how awkward I was!

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  44. p.s. Ellen Byron--you went to Tulane? My husband did too! So I got to live in New Orleans for awhile. And I fell in love (and remain in love) with the city!

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  45. Such a loss for the mystery community. She was so inspirational to me. I spent a lot of time with her and Dorothy Cannell at a SinC event in 2014, and she invited me to sit with her and Parnell Hall at her table at the Agathas. We all needed more time with her.

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