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The Devil Amongst the Lawyers: A Ballad…
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The Devil Amongst the Lawyers: A Ballad Novel (Ballad Novels) (original 2010; edition 2010)

by Sharyn McCrumb

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2333249,595 (3.29)25
Member:pmquilter
Title:The Devil Amongst the Lawyers: A Ballad Novel (Ballad Novels)
Authors:Sharyn McCrumb
Info:Thomas Dunne Books (2010), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Mystery, ballad novel, historical, 1935, murder trial, Japan, Virginia

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The Devil Amongst the Lawyers by Sharyn McCrumb (Author) (2010)

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  1. 00
    Never Seen the Moon: THE TRIALS OF EDITH MAXWELL by Sharon Hatfield (cbl_tn)
    cbl_tn: McCrumb's novel is a fictionalized account of the trial of Edith Maxwell.
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» See also 25 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Rehashing a 1935 murder case didn't do much for me, although a young Nora Bonesteel appears so there's a little bit of spookiness. ( )
  MikeRhode | Feb 21, 2014 |
I had to get the print book to figure out the characters at the beginning. I did enjoy it as I got more familiar with them. A sad picture of journalism as a profession. A little repetitious on that topic. I liked most meeting Nora Bonesteel as a child. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Another excellent book from Sharyn McCrumb's Ballad series. This, unlike her others in the series, is based on a true story. That gives it a different flavor and flair. I really want to take the time to research the basis for one.
  ChrissyChris | Aug 7, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
With The Devil Amongst the Lawyers, Sharyn McCrumb makes a welcome return to her Appalachian Ballad Series of mysteries with somewhat mixed results. The earlier books in the series typically combined a modern mystery with a mystery from the past, one immortalized in a ballad. The modern part of the story featured Sheriff Spencer Arrowood, and his connection to the mysteries from the 19th century was Nora Bonesteel, an elderly woman with second sight. In this eighth book in the series, McCrumb has dispensed with the present-day focus and has decided to focus on Nora Boneseteel as a young woman, setting her mystery in the more recent past in the 1930s. Fans of the series will be delighted to meet the 13-year-old Nora, who is as compelling a character as ever. The story revolves around Erma Morton, a young woman accused of murdering her father. Nora’s cousin Carl Jenkins is one of the journalists sent to cover the story. The mystery of the death of Erma’s father is interesting, and Carl unravels it with the help of Nora’s second sight. If the focus had been strictly on that angle the book might have been more successful, but the focus on the yellow journalism of the time and the side story of journalist Henry Jernigan’s travels in Japan are a distraction. Still, I’m glad to see McCrumb returning to her Ballad series and look forward to the next one.
(Note: This review was based on an advance reading copy. Some material in the finished book may differ.)
  betsytacy | Jun 8, 2012 |
Not up to Sharyn McCrumb's usual standards. It is ostensibly about the trial of a young woman for murder in 1935 Appalachia, and I anticipated the hypnotic creepiness of her other "Ballad novels", but this followed the journalists who had come from New York to cover the story, and was a strange attempt to combine an indictment of sensationalist journalism with a re-creation of the Algonquin Round Table. The journalists - including a woman who is Dorothy Parker under the thinnest of veils - sit around uttering witty bon mots and drinking too much, and then start saying heavy-handed things about how Truth Is What We Tell Our Readers It Is, and Someday A President Will Be Chosen By The Press Coverage, and my eyes roll back in my head a bit. A shame.
  atheist_goat | Mar 2, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
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Book description
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 célèbre 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 reader, 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.

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 McCrumb’s lyrical and evocative writing.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312558163, Hardcover)

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 célèbre 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 reader, 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.

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 McCrumb’s lyrical and evocative writing.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:50:31 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In the wake of a sensationalized 1934 trial involving an Appalachian Virginia teacher's alleged murder of her tyrant father, novice journalist Carl Jennings is denounced by a greedy media determined to portray the defendant as a backwards mountain girl.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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