Her Own Law
by Bert Goolsby
Delaware Huggins, mild-mannered, under-educated, and draft-exempt, leaves his Georgia home, hoping to find work in a shipyard during World War II; but before he can reach the coast, he finds himself coerced into marrying a headstrong, newly minted widow a few years his senior, Tweeve Cumbee. Several months into his marriage, a part-time job at a second-rate movie house results in his being charged with the Saturday night murders of the theater manager and its ticket seller.
At Tweeve's insistence, Delaware rejects the court's offer of appointed counsel and agrees to permit her to represent him. Even though Tweeve lacks legal training and Delaware's status as an outsider makes the job of defending him before a jury more complicated, she exudes confidence. In her view, lawyers are nothing but sales people anyway. She believes all one need possess to try a court case is sales ability and "walking around sense" and she has plenty of both.
But once the trial begins, Tweeve learns there's a little more to it than that as she battles a skilled prosecutor in Solicitor Kilmann and contends with corrupt police officials, Sheriff Hightower and Detective Lieutenant Motley, and three witnesses of doubtful veracity, Booger Blue, Greasy Pea, and Looney Luster.
Though not a romance, Her Own Law is a love story told in a Southern vernacular reminiscent of the style employed by Mac Hyman in his work No Time for Sergeants. As the tale unfolds, it gives a glimpse of small-town life in the South during the middle nineteen-forties and offers the feel of the "us-against-them" ethic of justice that can arise almost anywhere at any time.
- Bert Goolsby, April 2011
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