Fans of Sharyn McCrumb’s popular southern historical Ballad saga will welcome with open arms a return to the misty and legendary hills of Appalachia with her long-awaited novel. Nora Bonesteel --- sage, seer and soothsayer who casts her subtle aura as the aging oracle of the hills throughout most of the series --- appears here in a new light. Revered by the residents of her home county, some of whom take her seriously, but respected by all, we have only known her as an elderly and eccentric woman of the hills. In THE DEVIL AMONGST THE LAWYERS, Nora is introduced as the 12-year-old cousin of one of the main characters whose budding talents so far are known only to family members.
The story is based on an actual historic trial that took place in eastern Tennessee in the mid-1930s. The mysterious death of a father, allegedly at the hands of his beautiful young daughter, has captured the imagination of a nation just coming down from the sensational events surrounding the kidnapping, death and subsequent trial involving the Lindbergh baby. America is in the throes of the Great Depression, Prohibition is still felt in parts of the country, and the William Randolph Hearst publishing empire has cornered the market in splashing lurid headlines of train robberies, kidnappings, murders and anything else that they can manipulate into a story that will sell newspapers in hard times. Yellow journalism has been launched and embraced by a nation eager to read about people worse off than themselves.
The image of a pretty young school teacher, returned to her hometown from college to teach, has ignited the imagination of a country hungry for free entertainment. Reporters from Philadelphia, New York and around the country were flocking to the tiny coal town of Wise, Tennessee to report on what was being touted as the new trial of the century. The big city media has already come to its own conclusions about the crime. Worse, they arrive with preconceived notions about the region, its people, how they live, dress, think and talk, and are more than delighted to embellish their purple prose to bolster their concept of hillbillies.
This tale of a trial is not so muc