Death in the Delta - Molly Walling
Released October 2012
University Press of Mississippi
Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth
Death in the Delta: Uncovering a Mississippi Family Secret is a non-fiction mystery/autobiography that unwinds slowly as the author attempts to uncover the truth behind the death of two black men. She never knew her father had been arrested for killing two men, and many in the family would rather forget the situation. Everyone has a different story and Molly Walling wants to uncover the truth.
After serving in the military, Molly's father became an esteemed newspaper editor. One night in 1946, her father stood accused of killing two black men in the Mississippi Delta. With an all-white grand jury and the respect of many in the town, the case never got past a grand jury. Death in the Delta details the author's exploration of the case as she interviewed family members, witnesses, and sought newspaper accounts.
Death in the Delta moves slowly, yet it has to be that way. While you're reading, you actually feel like your part of the investigation. You learn new facts and try to put the pieces together. This makes it a very unique read. It stands out as being unlike anything I've read before for that reason.
Moving beyond the mystery, it's also an intriguing look at American history and racial tension in the 1940s. My biggest concern once I started reading was how much enjoyment I'd get out of an autobiography for a person I'd never heard of. As an autobiography, there's a strong personal side to this story that can make it hard to connect because none of the characters are people you know and the case was seemingly buried long ago, but there's just enough mystery to keep you involved. It's that tinge of mystery and wanting to know the details involving the murder that kept me hooked.