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Get it? Get it? Judge not, lest ye be judged. Judge Deborah Knott is the heroine of a series of award-winning murder mystery novels penned by Margaret Maron, set in the author's home state of North Carolina.

An attorney, Deborah Knott was particularly upset when a racist Hanging Judge destroyed a man's life over a minor offense (making it impossible for him to drive when his livelihood depended on making house calls). She then ran for judge and, with the help of her notorious bootlegger father, achieved it.

She may be the most active judge in history, as each novel revolves around her solving a mystery, facing life-threatening situations, catching the bad guy, and having lots of sex.

Novels in this series

  • Bootlegger's Daughter (1992).
  • Southern Discomfort (1993).
  • Shooting at Loons (1994).
  • Up Jumps the Devil (1996).
  • Killer Market (1997).
  • Home Fires (1998).
  • Storm Track (2000).
  • Uncommon Clay (2001).
  • Slow Dollar (2002).
  • High Country Fall (2004).
  • Rituals of the Season (2005).
  • Winter's Child (2006).
  • Hard Row (2007).
  • Death’s Half-Acre (2008).
  • Sand Sharks (2009).
  • Christmas Mourning (2010).
  • Three-Day Town (2011).
  • The Buzzard Table (2012).

Tropes used in Judge Knott include:
  • Action Girl: Judge Knott.
  • Author Appeal: The author is a straight woman and doesn't shy away from describing what she likes in her men. One section of a book might well be titled "what I look for in a penis". [1]
  • Body of the Week / Mystery of the Week / Victim of the Week
  • Bury Your Gays: One of the victims of the week was a gay man.
  • Daddy's Girl: Deborah is the youngest child and only daughter of a notorious bootlegger with many sons. He was trying for a daughter and it took him a while.
  • Deep South: Averted. Although there are many criminals (including Knott's father), the portrayal is definitely positive. See also, Sweet Home Alabama, below.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Knott's father is a bootlegger much wanted by the law, but he's very proud of his attorney cum judge daughter.
  • Fair Cop: One of Knott's lovers is an attractive cop with a very nice penis.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Judge Knott has a few lovers, and they're lovingly described. The author, a woman, must have a liking for penises.
  • Hanging Judge: Knott's inspiration for getting into politics. A black man gets arrested for driving drunk and the judge revokes his license, with no care that it will destroy the man's business.
  • Hide Your Lesbians: Two women have been lovers for years, hiding it from everyone, going so far as to always buy two of the same car so no one will notice when one sleeps at the other's home (One in the garage, one in the driveway).
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Seriously, Judge Knott.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: Knott has many older brothers, and they will protect her.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Some of the stories reflect things currently having a serious impact on life in the area, such as the serious conflict between environmentalism and fishing in the barrier islands [2]
  • Sweet Home Alabama: Like the Deep South, mostly averted. It portrays the south as a positive light without demonizing others. Also, it shows some of the darker Truth in Television aspects of life in the south, such as racism and homophobia.
  1. For the record, she likes them long and thin, as I recall.
  2. a string of islands off the American coast in the southeast, stretching from Virginia to Georgia, acting as a barrier preventing, among other things, serious waves from hitting the mainland coast.