The Devil Amongst the Lawyers

The Devil Amongst the Lawyers

A Ballad Novel

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
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In 1935, when Erma Morton, a beautiful young woman with a teaching degree, is charged with the murder of her father in a remote Virginia mountain community, the case becomes a cause celèbre for the national press. Eager for a case to replace the Lindbergh trial in the public's imagination, the journalists descend on the mountain county intent on infusing their stories with quaint local color: horse-drawn buggies, rundown shacks, children in threadbare clothes. They need tales of rural poverty to give their Depression-era readers people whom they can feel superior to. The untruth of these cultural stereotypes did not deter the big-city reporters, but a local journalist, Carl Jennings, freshout of college and covering his first major story, reports what he sees: an ordinary town and a defendant who is probably guilty.This journey to a distant time and place summons up ghosts from the reporters' pasts:  Henry Jernigan's sojourn in Japan that ended in tragedy, Shade Baker's hardscrabble childhood on the Iowa prairie, and Rose Hanelon's brittle sophistication, a shield for her hopeless love affair. While they spin their manufactured tales of squalor, Carl tries to discover the truth in the Morton trial with the help of his young cousin Nora, who has the Sight. But who will believe a local cub reporter whose stories contradict the nation's star journalists? For the reader, the novel resonates with the present: an economic depression, a deadly flu epidemic, a world contending with the rise of political fanatics, and a media culture determined to turn news stories into soap operas for the diversion of the masses.A stunning return to the lands, ballads, and characters upon which she made her name, The Devil Amongst the Lawyers  is a testament to Sharyn McCrumb's lyrical and evocative writing.
Publisher: New York : Thomas Dunne Books, 2010.
ISBN: 9780312558161
0312558163
Characteristics: 320 p. ;,25 cm.

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p
posie12
May 25, 2016

I wish she had spent less time on the reporters who were quite dull, and more time on the actual case which was interesting. The American public, in her estimation were a bunch of flea brains looking for sensation rather than truth. It could have been a much better book.

debrajjackson Oct 03, 2011

By far, the Ballad series from this author are the best.

b
bluenose62
Jun 22, 2011

I was so excited to see this - can't wait to read it. I have missed her Ballad novels! Rosewood Casket remains one of the BEST book - ANY genre that I have ever read.

p
Palomino
Oct 28, 2010

Happy day, finding this at the library! I read it all in one sitting, too.

Reminded me (I know this is cheating) of "She Walks These Hills" by the same author.

I read one of those African writer -- Alexander Macall Smith? -- one of his popular easy-reading books and hated the writing style, I think he was trying for the clean, natural simplicity that McCrumb just does, in all the books in this series. I think the writing's so good you don't even realize it.

Note: yeah, I love history, although I could care less about the supernatural.

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