When there’s really bad news in a county, people have different ideas of what should be done. The remains of an infant were discovered by two twelve-year-old boys in a slough in post-WWII Cherokee Crossing, Arkansas. Horrifying! As Hick Blackburn, the local sheriff begins to investigate, he’s told by the coroner, Jake Prescott, that it appeared to be a homicide as opposed to a stillborn infant. All they know for sure about the ID of the infant was that she was a girl. Hick knows he has to investigate but he begins wondering what will be solved by finding the girl … the mother. He’s of the opinion that the baby should be allowed to ‘rest in peace.’ He tells Jake, “…if there is someone out there who didn’t want the child … some woman who was in a bind … what good will come out of locking her up?”
The beginning of this was startling and unsettling. Once you begin reading, there’s little chance of getting anything else done until you flesh it out and find out more. I loved the author’s proficiency with presenting very realistic dialect the characters would have spoken. Even though the novel centers on such injustice, readers feel drawn to the place and time. Having served in WWII, Hick was an interesting but broken character. I felt a connection and sympathy for him even though I disagreed with him. I love mystery and historical fiction and this novel fits the bill on both accounts. Rating: 4.5 out of 5.