Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Seven novels that explore the crooked land deal

Wil Medearis is the author of Restoration Heights. At CrimeReads he tagged seven favorite novels that explore real estate swindles, including:
Attica Locke, The Cutting Season

Belle Vie, once a sprawling Louisiana plantation, is now a tourist attraction managed by Caren Gray, a black woman whose mother was a cook for the family who owns the estate. The staff—most of them also black—perform pageants that perpetuate the standard myths of the Old South, full of happy slaves and genteel, good-hearted masters. Yet Caren maintains a deep affection for the place—a conflict that anyone who grew up in the South will recognize as requiring the kind of mental and moral gymnastics that are routinely expected of black Americans—and it is this affection that drives her suspicion of the sugar-cane company that has been buying up land around the plantation. The narrative is set in motion when the body of a migrant worker is found in the cane fields just across the fence from Belle Vie, but it is the tension of the descendants of slaves trying to make a good life for themselves while the crimes of their history go unacknowledged that drives the novel.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue