While my iPad is still awaiting a battery transplant, I started reading Fee's copy of Sycamore Row. This novel takes place about three years after the events in A Time to Kill, and Jake Brigance once again finds himself with a big case.
Seth Hubbard, in the last days of terminal cancer, makes a new and controversial holographic will, which he mails to Jake and tells him to ward off any attempt to have the will thrown out. Seth then drives into the country and hangs himself from a sycamore tree.
The new will cuts out Seth's children and leaves 90% of his large estate to his black housekeeper Lettie Lang. Naturally, the will be contested.
Was Seth in such pain and under such heavy medication that the will could be considered invalid? Was he unduly influenced by the housekeeper? Why would a man who had a perfectly normal will in tact (that protected his estate from 50% taxation) make a new will that would give an additional 3 million dollars to the IRS? Especially an astute businessman like Seth Hubbard.
In a poor Mississippi county in the 1980's an estate of upwards of twenty million dollars was simply astounding. Lawyers and relatives are coming out of the woodwork. The scene is set for a highly anticipated court battle with everyone in the county offering opinions and preparing to be entertained with some high drama.
The book is a little slow, especially at the beginning, but that doesn't mean it is uninteresting. Tensions mount, race is involved, sex implied, greed rules, and lawyers are determined to get as much as they can from the estate.
I have not read Grisham in years and years, but Sycamore Row certainly held my attention. the surprise twist at the end isn't really a surprise if you've noted a couple of throw-away sentences, yet it carries an impact.
Courtroom Drama. 2013. 466 pages.