Her eighth adventure finds North Carolina Judge Deborah Knott (Storm Track, 2000, etc.) in a courtroom in Asheboro, not far from her Seagrove home, where she’ll be overseeing the equitable distribution of property between just-divorced Sandra Kay and James Lucas Nordan. He's the son of Amos, owner of the well-known Nordan Pottery. Amos now produces only small pieces, in the wake of a stroke brought on by the strange death of his son Donny several years back. The cardinal-red glaze for which the pottery was famous has long been banned because of lead content, although Amos is still covertly using it. He now has domestic help from June Gregorich, who lives in his house with her retarded son Jeffy, and who also cleans house for Deborah’s longtime friend Felicity Chadwick. Despite the trappings of domesticity, Deborah is still disentangling the Nordans’ property division when James Lucas is found murdered in one of the pottery’s kilns. Though everyone has considered James Lucas’s son Tom as Amos’s heir, Amos has sought to protect Tom, especially in light of his sons’ suspicious deaths, by taking under his wing Donny’s illegitimate son Davis Richmond. Despite his precautions, however, there’ll be yet another death before a crafty, lunatic killer is revealed.
Consistently interesting despite a tangle of characters—some related by blood, some just shedding it—with Deborah playing second fiddle to a spate of pottery lore. Different and diverting, like most entries in this series.