Margaret Maron has won the hearts of a vast readership and the continuing praise of critics. Her Deborah Knott series started with Bootlegger’s Daughter (1992), which won the Edgar, Anthony, Agatha, and Macavity Awards for best novel. To win all four major mystery and detective fiction awards in the United States was an honor that no other writer had accomplished. She has continued to receive awards for many of her works, including an Agatha Award in 2000 for Storm Track. Before the Deborah Knott series, Maron was already known for her mystery short stories and her Sigrid Harald series. She has also published nonseries detective novels and collections of short stories. She is known especially for her sharp creation of characters, her effective use of dialogue and regional dialect, and her insightful depiction of rural North Carolina.
Maron has been a significant influence on other mystery writers. Following her creation of Judge Deborah Knott, several other series featuring a female protagonist and by southern female writers have appeared. They have benefited from Maron’s model of an independent professional woman who is competent and likeable. Maron also incorporates important social issues in her works, a trend increasingly followed by other writers.
Maron has been an active leader in promoting the mystery genre. She was a founding member of the Carolina Crime Writers Association, serving on its steering committee (1988-1998); president of the international organization Sisters in Crime (1989-1990); president of the American Crime Writers League (1997-1998); and president of the Mystery Writers of America (MWA) in 2005. She has encouraged other writers and worked to increase the visibility and prestige of the genre.