You'll love her Apr 15, 2008
The chief point of a series like this is very much the characters, especially the principal. Second point is the atmosphere, in this case the landscape and people of a North Carolina county, of which Deborah Knott is a judge--or she becomes so in the course of this first book of the series. Yes, the plot is good and the mystery is in-drawing, but the people are the thing. You like the good people (most of them), hiss the bad ones (or feel sorry for them) and have a wonderful time. Mysteries are very archetypal and stand in for the whole human situation, with the comedic resolution that reassures you of something eventual beyond the failures and disintegration you are only too prone to wallow in.