Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sycamore Row by John Grisham – review

Grisham's sequel to A Time to Kill is a solid courtroom drama about racial prejudice marred by a flawless white hero

Matthew McConaughey as Jack Brigance in the film of A Time to Kill
Too perfect … Matthew McConaughey as Jack Brigance in the 1996 film of A Time to Kill. Photograph: Allstar

When a reclusive Mississippi timber tycoon hangs himself from a sycamore on the edge of his estate, his handwritten will leaves the bulk of his fortune not to his two adult children, but to his black housekeeper. Seth Hubbard loathed lawyers. But he admired a young attorney called Jake Brigance who, three years earlier, had secured the acquittal of a black man accused of murder for killing the racists who raped his daughter – events chronicled in John Grisham's first novel, A Time to Kill, to which this is a belated but direct sequel.
    Hubbard sent his will to Brigance, instructing him to defend it "to the bitter end". He knew it would scandalise a community which, even in 1988, when Sycamore Row is set, could not abide the idea of a black woman inheriting – hell, just having – so much money. What, wonder the gossips, must Lettie Lang really have done for Hubbard to deserve such a gift?
    Just to complicate matters, there is another will – a more conventional one, that rewards the children and excludes Lang. Its existence raises questions about Hubbard's "testamentary capacity" in his final months – was he out of it on Demerol? Hubbard was such an enigma that inferring any kind of motive is tricky. But before he can represent the estate in what promises to be a gladiatorial trial by jury, Brigance must decode him, and fast.


    1 comment:

    Mirza Ghalib Shayari said...

    to tell the truth, i bought this book for my mom and i havent read it. but she has, and she enjoyed it a lot found it very gripping and exciting. She is always on the look out for new stuff from John grisham, but she does nit like the Theodore Boone books. Other than those, she owns every single grisham there is.