Summer Reading B2G1 Free

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    Original Essays | July 15, 2015

    Frank Wilczek: IMG You Are... Who?

    Writing a book is an unnatural act of communication. Speaking to a person, or even to an audience, is an interaction. Very different styles are... Continue »
    1. $20.97 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

Qualifying orders ship free.
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Beaverton Mystery- A to Z

The Devil Amongst the Lawyers: A Ballad Novel


The Devil Amongst the Lawyers: A Ballad Novel Cover



Reading Group Guide

1. In this novel, national reporters stereotype the rural mountain community. In what ways do the media or people from other regions misunderstand your hometown or your culture?

2. The Devil Amongst the Lawyers is set in 1935. How do the issues of that time compare with today's problems in health crises; national disasters; international relations; the economy, etc.?

3. How does the prologue (about the hanging of the elephant) relate to the Erma Morton trial?

4. Reread the story of Urashima Taro, told in Chapter Five of the novel. Does this folk tale remind you of similar stories in the folklore of other cultures? Why do you suppose so many cultures independently developed some form of this story?

5. Carl Jennings, Harley Morton, and Shade Baker are all young men with rural origins. How are they alike and in what ways are they different?

6. Henry Jernigan is condescending and prejudiced against the Appalachian culture. He is prejudiced in favor of the Japanese. Discuss this disparity.

7. Nora Bonesteel is a young girl coming to terms with the Sight. Have you or anyone you know had experiences similar to hers?

8. The chapter headings in The Devil Amongst the Lawyers are taken from Oku No Hosomichi, a 17th century Japanese poem by Matsuo Basho. (The title in English is: A Narrow Road to a Far Province.") How does the journey of Basho through the mountains of Japan compare with Henry's journey in southwest Virginia?

9. The year 1935 came amidst the Great Depression. Would you rather have lived in that era in a large city or a rural area? Why?

10. Author Sharyn McCrumb has said "Cities are judged by their richest inhabitants and rural areas by their poorest." Is this true? What evidence can you show to support or refute this statement?

Product Details

A Ballad Novel
Mccrumb, Sharyn
aryn McCrumb
McCrumb, Sharyn
St. Martin's Griffin
Legal stories
Trials (Murder)
Mystery & Detective - General
Historical - General
Romance - Adult
Literature-A to Z
Mystery & Detective - Historical
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Ballad Novels
Publication Date:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
9.25 x 6.13 in

Other books you might like

  1. A Question of Belief (Commissario... Used Hardcover $9.50
  2. The Black Cat (Richard Jury Mysteries)
    Used Mass Market $4.95
  3. The 9th Judgment Used Mass Market $1.95
  4. Faithful Place
    Used Trade Paper $6.50

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z

The Devil Amongst the Lawyers: A Ballad Novel Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$15.50 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Thomas Dunne Books - English 9780312558161 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In 1935, the case of an Appalachian schoolteacher arrested for murdering her father becomes a national news story, seized on by the press for its sensationalism and the opportunity to mock the rural inhabitants involved. Competing with a brigade of city journalists is novice Tennessee newspaperman Carl Jenkins, whose obsession with the truth leads him to call in his cousin Nora, gifted with second sight — but what, exactly, can he report with no concrete evidence? The latest in McCrumb's Appalachian Ballad series (after 2003's Ghost Riders) is decidedly mixed; McCrumb's grasp of setting and character instantly immerses readers in the worlds of both the sympathetic locals and the cynical city press. Her plot, part mystery and part cautionary tale, is passable, but leaves nothing for readers to work out on their own. Dialogue, which stretches for authentic, often feels awkward and stilted; though fans will be familiar with the style, new readers will likely be frustrated. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,

“Ms. McCrumb writes with quiet fire and maybe a little mountain magic. . . . She plucks the mysteries from peoples lives and works these dark narrative threads into Appalachian legends older than the hills. Like every true storyteller, she has the Sight.”—The New York Times Book Review

In 1935, a beautiful young schoolteacher is accused of murdering her coal-miner father in

a Virginia mountain community.

National journalists descend on Wise County, intent upon exonerating the defendant, and on stereotyping the mountain community to satisfy their Depression-era readers.

            But local cub reporter Carl Jennings writes what he sees: an ordinary town and a defendant who is probably guilty.

The novel resonates with the present: an economic depression; a deadly Japanese earthquake; the rise of political fanatics; and a media culture turning news stories into soap operas for the diversion of the masses.

The Devil Amongst the Lawyers is a literary tour de force, examining social issues that go well beyond the fate of one defendant. It is a testament to Sharyn McCrumbs lyrical and poetic writing about the mountain South.

  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at