Tuesday, July 20, 2010
"Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom." General George S. Patton
The story is told as a man is nearing the end of his life, reminiscing about the most momentous event of his childhood.
In East Texas, during the depression, twelve-year-old Harry Crane and his nine-year-old sister, Tom, find the body of a black woman, deep in the woods by their farm.
Their father, Jacob, is the town constable. He brings the body to the next town because he is afraid that if he goes to the young doctor in his town, that doctor would get into trouble by working on a negro. The woman is identified as Jelda May Sykes, a harlot who did some conjuring.
Jacob learns, from a former newspaper man, Cal Fields, that two other black women had been murdered recently. There wasn't much publicity because of their color.
Another complication is that the constable in that town, Red Woodrow, wants Jacob to stay out of his jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, Harry and Tom are convinced that a legendary killer is about, the killer, known as Goat Man, follows them home from deep in the woods.
After a period of quiet, another body of a black woman is found. This time the body is found in Jacob's jurisdiction.
The story is told in a warm, visual style as if the reader was sitting in a living room and listening to the events unfold while having a drink of a warm beverage.
Harry and Tom are excellently portrayed and could be children of Atticus Finch in "To Kill A Mockingbird." In fact, Scout Finch and the tomboy, Tom Crane could be twins, they are so much alike. Both stories have negro characters who are wrongly accused and are masterpieces of literature.