Saturday, December 23, 2017

Take Out by Margaret Maron – A Book Review

The final book in the Sigrid Harald series

Take Out by Margaret Maron – Book Cover

*Take Out is Available on Amazon

Author Margaret Maron admits in her Author's Note in Take Out that she had not intended to write a final book starring Sigrid Harald.  But.... then there were those pictures left stashed in the basement of the Breul House in Corpus Christmas (Book #6 in this 9 book series) which kept begging to be taken out of that trunk.  And many readers wanted to know if Sigrid would find true peace of mind in the end.  So here is Take Out – the book that wraps up the series.

The Plot

Image of a park bench
Source: Pixabay
Siqrid Harald is an NYPD Detective who heads up a homicide team.  Still grieving after the death of her lover, an acclaimed painter, she is called to investigate the deaths of two homeless men, found dead on a park bench with take out food boxes nearby.  Analysis proves that the men died from what is discovered to be poisoned takeout food.  The subsequent investigation uncovers a fascinating neighborhood history involving a haughty mafia widow and her disgraced godson (one of the victims), a retired opera star with dark secrets, an unsolved hit-and-run and a long-missing painting that will rock the art world.  

The case gets complicated with too many suspects and motives.  Which of the two homeless men was really the intended victim (since they both ended up sharing the take out meals)?  And what is the connection between the mafia widow and the retired opera star who live on the same block in the West Village, the same block where the homeless men died?

While Sigrid is busy working the murder investigation, she can't stop wondering what led her lover Oscar Nauman to California where he died in an accident on a mountain road.  Until she meets a man who may hold the answers she seeks! 

Sigrid Harald

The main character in Margaret Maron's Sigrid Harold series is a Scandinavian woman who is a Lieutenant with the New York Police Department.  She heads up a homicide team.  Sigrid is related to a character in Maron's Deborah Knott Series* through her Southern grandmother. 

*See more information about Deborah Knott below

Deborah Knott Mystery Series

Image of a woman judge
Source: Pixabay
Margaret Maron's other long-running mystery series is the Deborah Knott Series.  Deborah is a North Carolina District Judge married to a Sheriff's deputy in the small Carolina town her family has lived in for generations.  Deborah, her tobacco farmer (and former bootlegger) father, and her 11 older brothers make up a delightfully full group of stories around a rural lifestyle.  Filled with true Southern charm and sprinkled with mysteries to solve interwoven with the 'doings' of this large extended family, Deborah Knott becomes as fascinating in her small town way as Sigrid Harold is in her big city life. Since Author Margaret Maron is soon to publish her final Deborah Knott book, we will be back with more about the Deborah Knott Mystery Series in another review.

Author Margaret Maron

Author Margaret Maron
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Margaret Maron was born and raised in North Carolina on a tobacco farm.  Then marriage to a native New Yorker (Brooklyn) had her spending several years living in NYC, where she eventually began writing novels about NYPD Lt. Sigrid Harald, mysteries set against the New York City art world.

Eventually, the love of her native state and a desire to write from her experiences in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she grew up led to moving 'home' and the creation of her popular character, District Court Judge Deborah Knott.  Margaret's city-born husband has discovered a similar love for this southern rural lifestyle as well. 


If you have never read any books by Margaret Maron, give Take Out a try, or begin with the first book in the Sigrid Harold series (One Coffee With) to be introduced to this interesting character.  If you love Maron's style of writing as much as I do, you will want to continue on to the rest of the Sigrid series, and then move over to Deborah Knott and her 'kinfolk' in the current 18-book series.  Along the way you will learn a lot about the NYC art world and the southern lifestyle of rural North Carolina. 

Interesting note: The North Carolina books feel sunny and light while the New York books are darker and less humorous.  Sigrid Harold is a loner, has almost no family (just a mother, a housemate, and a Southern grandmother) while Deborah Knott has a large sprawling family (her dad and 11 older brothers with spouses and children who meddle in her affairs and try to boss her around..  They DO finally meet through their southern connection in Three-Day Town

I loved reading my way through these two series as both characters are worth getting to know, each in their own way.  Meeting the other characters in each series is fun too.

Now that I have read the final book in the Sigrid Harold Series (Take Out reviewed here) I look forward to the final Deborah Knott book. 

For more book reviews, check out:

(c) Book Review written by Wednesday Elf

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. It is truly wonderful to find an entire series written by a trusted author just waiting to be read. Thank you for the wonderful review and recommendation Elf. I have definitely come to appreciate a great mystery.

    1. Thanks, Mouse. When I find an author I love, I end up collecting all the books they have written. Now with this final book in the Sigrid Harold series, I just need the final Deborah Knott book to complete my set. My reason for collecting all the books is because I reread the series about once a year - it's like visiting old friends to me.

  2. Is there anything better than finding an author you love who keeps you anticipating her next book or series? The very best is to discover that the book you loved is followed by about a dozen more that are equally as good or even better.

    1. I agree, Diana. I love reading favorite authors' series books back-to-back, as once you find favorite characters, you want to stay with them into their subsequent adventures.

  3. I'm always looking for good mysteries to read. Thanks for this review, sounds like this author is one to add to my list of favorites.

    1. It's especially fun to find a mystery series you can continue when you fall in love with the characters.

  4. This sounds like a series I want to read when I have more time. It's on my list now.

    1. I'm sure you will find this series as delightful to read as i have, Barb.


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