Southern Discomfort, by Margaret Maron

Book 1, 2013

The second book in the Deborah Knott series introduces more of the family, which is awesome.  Much of the action takes place at the site of a house being built by an army of lady volunteers for the benefit of a single mother who has escaped abuse.

Teenage niece Annie Sue is learning to be an electrician like her daddy, so she is all over this project.  After hours one weekend, she was alone on the site and the heinous building inspector assaults her.  When Aunt Deborah goes to check on her, she finds Annie Sue unconscious.  She was beaten and bruised, but Dude didn’t have time to rape her because someone hit him over the head with a hammer first.  But it wasn’t Annie Sue.

At the same moment, Annie Sue’s dad, Herman, collapsed of something heart attack-like.  It was arsenic poisoning.  Double mystery.

The court scenes are fun, the solution to the mysteries are neither too obvious nor out of thin air and the baby steps toward smoochies with Dwight the detective are bearable.  So it is all good.

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