By Casey Cep
What’s it about? This book is part crime novel, part courtroom drama, and part biography. In the 1970’s, in rural Alabama, Reverend Willie Maxwell has relatives that are dying under mysterious circumstances. Adding to the unease is the fact that all those relatives lives have been insured by Reverend Maxwell shortly before they die. Many relatives breathe a sigh of relief when Maxwell is shot dead before 300 people at his latest victim’s funeral. Robert Burns is arrested for the crime. Who is at Burn’s trial day in and day out? Harper Lee of “To Kill a Mockingbird” fame. She makes no secret that she is writing again and her new book will be titled “The Reverend” .This is the story of insurance fraud, murder, and Harper Lee.
What did it make me think about? This book had three distinct sections. The first part of the book looked at the early insurance industry and how it operated in the deep South. The second part of the book concentrates on the trial of Robert Burns and how the judicial system operated in that time. The last part of the book concentrates on Harper Lee and her struggle to write again after “the bird” takes on a life of its own.
Should I read it? This was an interesting book in many different ways. it really was like three books in one. I especially found the last part of the book about Harper Lee fascinating.Quote- “Money does wonders for misfits.” ” ‘Mockingbird’ had been read as a clarion call for civil rights, but Lee’s real views were more complicated than any editor wanted to put in print.’ “