‘Sycamore Row’ is the sequel to John Grisham’s first novel – ‘A Time To Kill’. Although the stories in the two books aren’t that closely linked, an excellent cast of characters carries across from the first book to this one. Lawyer and main character Jack Brigance along with his wife Carla and daughter Hanna, Jake’s old boss Lucien, his lawyer friend Harry Rex and the sheriff Ozzie. There is even an appearance from Jake’s old courtroom enemy Rufus Buckley.
Seth Hubbard was dying of lung cancer. With only weeks left to live and in great pain, he committed suicide on Sunday afternoon by hanging himself from a Sycamore tree. The following day, Jake receives a letter and will from Seth. This revokes his previous will and leaves 90% of his vast fortune to his black house keeper Lettie Lang with the remainder going to his church and his long-lost brother. Seth has instructed that his two children and his grandchildren receive nothing.
Of course the children – Herschel and Ramona contest the new will claiming the Seth was no longer competent to produce a will and that Lettie exerted undue influence. With the smell of big payments, the lawyers jump on board and the massive legal battle gets underway.
At this point the levels of greed almost caused me to give up on this book!
The battle rages on with both sides digging up a few surprises before we finally find out the reason that Seth left his money to Lettie.
This book was brilliant. I even preferred it to ‘A Time To Kill’. Only an author as talented as John Grisham could bring excitement to a court case such as this.
Once again, the book was very much focused on race relations in Mississippi. If anything, this book was even more heart rending than ‘A Time To Kill’. Even though some sections of the book were dripping with enough greed to make me cringe, there was also a lot of compassion and people trying to do the right thing. I particularly love Herschel’s final appearance near the end of the book.
Book Published 2013