John Grisham’s “A Time To Kill” is in the same league as “To Kill A Mockingbird” when it comes to a legal thriller dealing with racism in our society and the judicial system. It created a forum for discussions on these topics as does Grisham’s “Sycamore Row”.
In “Sycamore Row” John Grisham takes us back to Ford County where the racial tensions from the era of “A Time to Kill” are the same now as portrayed in “Sycamore Row”.
At church, that Sunday morning, Seth Hubbard was dressed sharp and in a great mood in spite of his lung cancer. Nothing to indicate that later that afternoon he would be found hanging from the estate’s sycamore tree. He had called his employee, Calvin Boggs earlier that morning, told him to meet him at the sycamore tree that afternoon. When Boggs pulled up he noted Mr. Hubbard’s Cadillac was there and the drivers door and trunk was open. Hubbard wasn’t there. He was up the road, hanging from the sycamore tree, still dressed in his good suit.
It was puzzling that there was a six foot ladder laying as if it had been kicked away from him making it look like he had hung himself, yet there was no mud, from the recent rain, anywhere on his clothes or shoes.
Jake Brignance, who is white, became infamous defending Carl Lee Hailey. Hailey is black and was being tried for killing the two white men who raped and brutalized his 10 year old daughter. Brigance was successful at the trial and because of his win he was under siege from the local Klan and their allies for the past three years.
He received a letter and the revised will of Seth Hubbard a couple of days after his death. Hubbard was a very wealthy but sick man, dying from lung cancer. He wrote that he killed himself because he was in too much pain and only had a few more weeks to live and didn’t want to suffer any more.
The will was done according to state regulations. In it he cut out his adult children, their kids and bequeths 90% of his very substantial fortune to his black maid He wrote to Jake that he chose him because of his sterling character and the manner in which represented Carl Hailey. Needless to say that after the terms of the will are made known, all hell breaks loose and Jakes family, the black maid and his friends are once again in danger.
Racism is still alive and ugly in rural Mississippi, just as it is in the rest of our country and all segments of our society. In this legal thriller, John Grisham brings this hate and ugliness to the forefront.
Grisham is one of the best legal thriller authors writing today. He has written bestsellers, one a year for the last 25 years. He is a master storyteller and is expert at characterizations of all the players.
Do yourself a favor, go buy your copy at Amazon.