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Ballad #8: The Devil Amongst the Lawyers: A Ballad Novelby Sharyn Mccrumb
Synopses & Reviews
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 c?l?bre 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, fresh out 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 listener, 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.
This stunning novel, from the author of "The Ballad of Frankie Silver," is set in the mountains of Virginia in 1934, where a young woman is on trial for the murder of her father, and a young journalist sets out to find the truth.
In 1934 all the national publications sent their star reporters to remote Virginia to cover the trial of Erma Morton: a beautiful twenty-one-year-old mountain girl with a teaching degree, accused of murdering her father a a drunken tyrant of a man.
Four seasoned journalists descend upon the small town a nothing sells papers better than a wronged woman on trial, or descriptions of a oebackwardsa mountain life. Yet instead of rundown shacks and horse-drawn buggies, they found gas stations and coal company executivesa ]but the truth can always be manipulated to suit the audience.
Except that among them is Carl Jennings, an eighteen-year-old novice journalist from Tennessee who accurately reports on the trial and the citizens of the town. So when their articles conflict, Carl is condemned for perjury, while the other journalists sell Erma Mortona (TM)s verdict to the highest bidder. Soon, it is not the actual murder that is of interest, but the vultures attracted to the death. In the midst of all this, Carl continues to search for the truth, relying on his younger cousin, Nora a gifted with the a oesighta a for help.
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 McCrumba (TM)s lyrical and poetic writing.
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