5 star rating
Designated Daughters 
Deborah Knott #19
By Margaret Maron
ISBN# 9781455545285
Author website :

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt


When Judge Deborah Knott is summoned to her ailing Aunt Rachel’s bedside, she assumes the worst. Thankfully when she arrives at the hospice center she learns that Rachel hasn’t passed; in fact, the dying woman is awake. Surrounded by her children, her extended family, and what seems like half of Colleton County, a semi-conscious Rachel breaks weeks of pained silence with snippets of stories as randomly pieced together as a well-worn patchwork quilt. But the Knott family’s joy quickly gives way to shock: less than an hour later, Aunt Rachel is found dead in her bed, smothered with a pillow.

Who would kill a woman on her deathbed? Was it an act of mercy, or murder? As Deborah and her husband, Sheriff’s Deputy Dwight Bryant, investigate they cross paths with an unlikely set of suspects: Rachel’s longtime minister; her neighbor, the respected local doctor; the friendly single father who often sought her advice; and perhaps the most puzzling party of all, the Designated Daughters, a support group for caregivers that Rachel’s own daughter belongs to.

Soon Deborah and Dwight realize that the key to solving this case is hidden in Rachel’s mysterious final words. Her mixed-up memories harbored a dark secret-a secret that someone close to them is determined to bury forever.


Designated Daughters is the 19th installment in the Deborah Knott series by Margaret Maron. It is another wonderful read with amazing characters, quaint setting and intriguing storylines. Deborah Knott is a judge in small Colleton County. Her husband sheriff’s deputy Dwight Byrant tries to keep their jobs separate as much as he can. Deborah’s large and interesting family keeps things moving and brings so much fun, excitement and down home love to the story. I have read where some people feel the abundance of characters is a problem, but with these characters the more the merrier.

In this book, Deborah’s Aunt Rachel is talking. She has been silent in a hospice center and now she is telling tales and bringing up the past. The family is called to her bedside and Rachel seems to be living in the past. As they leave to gather for the normal get together meal downstairs, Rachel passes. But she had some help. Dwight and Deborah are pulled into this murder mystery that does not seem to make any sense. The stories related in Rachel’s last hours pull the two in many different directions. And home town members become suspects.

Along the way several side stories keep the reader entertained as well. Unscrupulous antique dealers, the stories behind the Designated Daughters, the building of the swim room and more. All of this keeps the reader intrigued and involved in the lives of these wonderful characters. I would recommend this and all the books in this series to any reader that enjoys small town characters, murder mysteries and intelligent writing. I would suggest reading this series in order, but I do believe you can enjoy them as stand alone wonderful reads. Ms Maron’s descriptive writing is as always humorous, thrilling and delightful. The only problem with this series – Ms Maron does not write them fast enough for me.