Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Devil Amongst the Lawyers by Sharyn McCrumb

The Devil Amongst the Lawyers
Sharyn McCrumb
The Devil Amongst the Lawyers is one of Sharyn McCrumb’s best books yet. According to the acknowledgments in the book, it is a fictionalized version of the 1935 murder trial of Edith Maxwell, which took place in Wise County, Virginia. I was hooked on this story from page one. You follow some of the reporters traveling to Wise by way of Abingdon to cover the trial. The descriptions of Abingdon, the Martha Washington Inn, and the Barter Theater in 1935 are very interesting. They stay overnight in Abingdon, and then head on to Wise, VA. A young lady has been accused of killing her father because of a dispute over her curfew. The story unfolds of the life of the young lady and her family, and their life in Wise.
This story was very entertaining and thought provoking. You follow along and learn what is going on as the reporters learn. The dialogue is easy to follow, and you can keep up with the characters and what is going on with them. The big city reporters describe the scene as a “back of beyond” place, a phrase from the book. Another reporter decides to tell the truth about what he sees. He ends up getting fired from his job for reporting the truth. Between following the trial, learning some of the history of Abingdon and Wise, and having some characters with the Sight, this book was a delight. I would recommend it to anyone who likes trials, history, suspense, or other Sharyn McCrumb books.
I was left with one question while reading the book. When Nora Bonesteel was traveling to Wise, she encountered another woman on the train. Nora says to herself, “There wasn’t any point in telling the woman something that she wouldn’t believe anyhow. She would find out for herself soon enough.” What did the lady find out when she got to Knoxville? It is never revealed.
The side story of Henry, one of the reporters, is very touching. I cried at a couple of places. The descriptions of what he goes through, and how he got to where he was in the book, will touch your heart. I recommend this book wholeheartedly.

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