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Book Club Kits: High Country Fall

Alamance County Public Libraries offer Book Club Kits for check out to area book clubs. Each kit contains 10 copies of a book and a reading guide.

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Margaret Maron

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Book Summary

No one is more surprised than Judge Deborah Knott by her engagement to her childhood friend Dwight Bryant. Stressed out by the impending marriage, Deborah agrees to fill in for a vacationing judge in the hills of Cedar Gap. With its fresh mountain air and gorgeous fall foliage, it's the perfect place to clear her head...until a local doctor is brutally murdered. Presiding over the probable cause case against the main suspect, Deborah decides the trial can proceed. But when a second person is killed, Deborah begins to look at this case-and her relationship with Dwight-with more critical eyes. And if she fails to notice the fast approaching darkness, she could end up as another corpse in the High Country fall...

Discussion Questions

  • Have your group discuss if they’ve read any of Maron’s books before.  How does High Country Fall compare to the others in the series?  Did it draw you in to read more in her series or were you disappointed?

  • How is the book structured?  What did you think about the plotline?  Did you think about the plotline?  Did you think it was slow or moved too fast, maybe it’s just right?  At some point in the book, Maron uses plot twists.  What are they?  How do they impact the outcome of the story?

  • What is Maron’s “red herring” in the book?  Does she use other red herrings?  What chain of events made it seem the red herring was no longer the killer?  Were you able to predict the outcome before it happened, or did Maron keep you guessing until the end?  After the killer was revealed, what clues indicated this?

  • How well do you think Maron “set the scene” in High Country Fall?  The small Blue Ridge Mountain community of Cedar Gap, NC seems quaint on the outside, but dark and sinister within.  She pointed out throughout the story a picture of a very idyllic place – clean, tidy manicured lawns with lots of wealth; however, nothing is ever perfect on the inside.  What compelled these people to make the unscrupulous decision to kill?

  • If you’ve not read any of the other novels in the Deborah Knott series, do you feel the characters were well introduced?  Maron seems to acknowledge her new readers.  She explains the family tree and personalities for her characters that are ongoing in the Knott series.  Did you find this to be true?

  • Do you think High Country Fall is equally focused on plot and character?  Does Maron develop one more than the other?  What character(s) did you like most in the book?

  • Do you think parts of the plot were not believable?  Which ones, if any?

  • Agatha Christie wrote in her biography about her dislike of mysteries with a romantic subplot.  Do you agree or disagree with her view?  The book’s romantic subplot was with Lucius Burke.  Do you think his character detracted or added to the plot/story?

  • Ask the group if there’s anything that wasn’t covered.  What questions or remarks remain about the book?  Will they continue to read more in the Deborah Knott series?