Originally published in hardcover (left) by Mysterious Press, 2001. Paperback edition (center) published by Grand Central Publishing, 2002. Ebook edition (right) published by Maron & Company, 2014.
Since its inception, the Deborah Knott series has garnered all the top mystery prizes and received overwhelming accolades. In Deborah Knott, Margaret Maron has created an evolving, brilliantly realized, and highly popular character who claims more fans with each book. Now in her newest triumph starring the keen-thinking judge and investigator, Maron presents an engrossing tale of Southern arts and sudden death . . .
The dark earth in the piedmont of North Carolina’s Randolph County is heavy with bright red clay. And it is this same rich soil that attracts many of the South’s most skilled potters. Also drawn to this region is the visiting judge Deborah Knott, who is there for decidedly different reasons. Deborah faces the most exasperating case a judge can handle—overseeing the equitable distribution of marital property. The antagonists are James Lucas Nordan and Sandra Kay Hitchcock, both potters who are bitterly divorcing after almost twenty-five years of marriage.
As creative as it was stormy, the Nordans’ history together produced great artistic achievements. Much of the credit for this stellar legacy can go to Amos Nordan, James Lucas’s father and the proud clan patriarch. At the same time, old Amos is no stranger to tragedy. Two years earlier, his more talented son, Donny, apparently committed suicide . . . in a manner so scandalous that Amos still can’t bear to speak of it.
Suddenly, amid the petty bickering, an even more gruesome death strikes the Nordans again. Violence, seemingly borne out of Providence, stalks the family homestead as the sins of the past catch up with the Nordan family. Judge Knott knows she must summon all her considerable insight into the darkest entanglements of the human heart, if she is to stop a most human specter, well-crafted in the art of murder.
Critical Praise for Uncommon Clay
"Every Margaret Maron is a celebration of something remarkable." (New York Times Book Review)
"Vivid . . .engaging . . . fascinating." (Washington Post Book World)
"Exceptionally gripping . . . far above the ordinary run of mysteries." (starred review, Publishers Weekly)
"Another compelling morality tale . . . leavened with finely tuned language and interspersed with comic interludes . . . Margaret Maron is a state treasure . . . The characters make readers return again and again." (Raleigh Independent)
"Fascinating . . . Maron expertly crafts a fast-paced, suspenseful story." (Orlando Sentinel)
"A writer gifted with the ability to convey an enthralling sense of time and place . . . Maron has concocted a devilish plot that ends with a thoroughly unexpected but appropriate twist. A hugely satisfying read." (Greensboro News & Record)