Uncivil Seasons

Uncivil Seasons

3.6 5
by Michael Malone
     
 

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The polite Piedmont town of Hillston, North Carolina, wants to go on believing it is still too temperate to require homicide experts. But when the wife of a state senator is found beaten to death, the inner circle of Hillston's ruling families arranges to have the case assigned to Detective Justin Savile, the charming black sheep of the dynasty that founded the

Overview

The polite Piedmont town of Hillston, North Carolina, wants to go on believing it is still too temperate to require homicide experts. But when the wife of a state senator is found beaten to death, the inner circle of Hillston's ruling families arranges to have the case assigned to Detective Justin Savile, the charming black sheep of the dynasty that founded the town.

Aided by his wise-cracking, working-class partner, Cuddy Magnum, and a young woman from the Carolina mountains whose strength and love rescues him from his own destructive impulses, Savile sets out to unravel the deceit hidden in Hillston's past. His obsessive pursuit of one of this own and his determination to save a petty thief from being railroaded for murder not only lead to other deaths, but bring the detective very near to losing his own life. With striking humor and a rich range of characters, Malone creates a landscape struggling the New South's high-tech lifestyles and the Old South's inherited codes.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780671658380
Publisher:
Pocket Books
Publication date:
05/25/1988
Pages:
336

Read an Excerpt

Two things don't happen very often in Hillston, North Carolina. We don't get much snow and we hardly ever murder one another. Suicide is more our style; we're a polite, college town, and our lives are sheltered by old trees. Maybe once a year a blizzard slips around a corner of the Smoky Mountains and blusters its way east, or a gale swells up from Cape Hatteras and runs across the Piedmont to break up our agreeable liaison with nature; but usually storms lose interest along the way. Whenever one does barge through town, merchants stockpile sleds as recklessly as Carolina blockade-runners once stowed tobacco and cotton. Schools close. Cars spin off the road. People have accidents.

They commit murders, too, but much more often in thought and word than deed. There is some impertinence in being a homicide detective in a town that wants to go on believing it is still too small and too temperate to require such expertise. That I should be the detective obliged to remind them of their susceptibility seems a further affront to Hillston, for I'm one of them. My mother is a Hillston Dollard. Her family has sheltered the town since its founding; they founded it. They sheltered it with pride; defensive, unchallengeable pride in the town, and the Piedmont that circled it, and the state that circled the Piedmont, and the country that circled the state. That's what Dollards did. It was the family business. For me to be searching for killers among us would have struck Hillston as an improper lack of family feeling, except that, of course, as everyone said, we rarely murdered one another.

The trouble was that now Cloris Dollard was dead, had been found dead last Sunday, her skull crushed. She was my uncle's wife.

Meet the Author

Michael Malone is the literate and compassionate voice of the new American South. Critically acclaimed as one of the country's finest writers, his great gift for crafting remarkable and enduring comedies, as he did in Handling Sin, Dingley Falls and Foolscap, is matched only by his ability to deliver riveting suspense and mystery. Now, after a long absence, Michael Malone has returned to the scene of the crime. He has also come home to the South. He now lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina, with his wife, Maureen Quilligan, chair of the English department at Duke University.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Hillsborough, North Carolina
Place of Birth:
Durham, North Carolina
Education:
B.A., Syracuse University; Ph.D. in English, Harvard University

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Uncivil Seasons 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Michael Malone is one of America's most gifted and rewarding novelists. If you enjoyed his latest offering, FIRST LADY, be sure to read its predecessor, UNCIVIL SEASONS, in which many of the people and places in both books were first introduced. UNCIVIL SEASONS too is an absorbing mystery yarn, but its real pleasures lie in the richness and depth of its characterizations, its wit and humor, its sharp dialogue. Malone, who was raised in North Carolina, conveys a South often regretfully looking backwards as it looks forward, but he does so with no hint of 'Poor us, how misunderstood we are.'
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