The creator of Judge Deborah Knott and Lieutenant Sigrid Harald, Margaret Maron is one of the finest contemporary mystery writers. Maron has a sensitivity about how time and place influence people and events, about how past generations continue to our world, about how the domestic situation can breed both warmth and quiet despair. In short, Maron sees the mystery story as concerned with people as well as puzzles.
Shoveling Smoke contains twenty-two of Margaret Maron's best short stories, from her very first published mystery to her most recent tales. The book includes all of the short cases of Sigrid Harald and Deborah Knott, as well as other mysteries set in Knott's Colleton County. Some of the stories show how crime can emerge from ordinary situations; others recapture the Golden Age delight in twisty plotting with seemingly impossible crimes reminiscent of John Dickson Carr and dying messages harking back to Ellery Queen. But in all the stories, Maron's personal voice, her concern for people, is dominant.
The book concludes with the first publication of a new story about Deborah Knott and a complete checklist of Margaret Maron's mystery novels and short stories.