Originally published in hardcover by Mysterious Press, 2005.
Agatha Nominee, Best Novel of 2005.
“Every Margaret Maron is a celebration of something remarkable,” writes the New York Times Book Review of this acclaimed Southern writer who has won most of mystery’s top prizes with her Deborah Knott series. In this new novel, her smart, headstrong heroine is on her way to the altar to marry the man of her dreams—when along with the champagne and hors d’oeuvres, murder lands on her wedding plate . . .
Judge Deborah Knott has a severe case of anxiety in the final days before her late December nuptials to Deputy Sheriff Dwight Bryant. Her calendar is booked solid with receptions and parties, last-minute details, and family obligations. There is absolutely no way she can fit a homicide case into her schedule.
Nevertheless, when a friend and colleague is shot on the icy drive home and Dwight becomes the lead detective on the case, Deborah is immediately involved. Issues of ethics and confidentiality suddenly face her . . . right on the next pillow.
Renovations to the house where the newlyweds will live are shockingly behind schedule—and, as the clock ticks down, Deborah has serious doubts her rowdy brothers will finish the new construction in time. Meanwhile, her sisters-in-law are giving her etiquette advice, her maid of honor is so pregnant she may deliver during the ceremony, and somehow, Deborah must find a way to connect with her way young stepson-to-be.
And as if things are not already hectic enough, two law students turn up and demand that she help them stop the execution of an innocent woman—one who is scheduled to die in less than a month.
Now Deborah is in danger of losing sight of what really matters—the big, brown-eyed man who’s about to say “I do.” But just when she thinks she’s finally got order in the court and in her life, fate has one more pulse-pounding surprise in store . . .
Critical Praise for Rituals of the Season
"A pleasure." (New York Times Book Review)
"First-rate . . . Deborah handles all challenges with wit, intelligence, and sensitivity." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
"Maron writes with wit and sophistication." (USA Today)
"Maron is in top form here." (Library Journal, starred review)
This series is like sweet iced tea on an August day in North Carolina—near impossible to resist." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"The considerable strength of Maron's writing lies in giving her sleuth a life . . . Maron does it superbly." (Associated Press)
"Opening a new Margaret Maron is like unwrapping a Christmas gift." (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
"Despite the carnage, there's such bonhomie and sexual warmth that readers may well consider moving to North Carolina to be closer to the Knott family." (Kirkus)