Deer Creek Drive: A Reckoning of Memory and Murder in the Mississippi Delta
by Beverly Lowry
SYNOPSIS – The stunning true story of a murder that rocked the Mississippi Delta and forever shaped one author’s life and perception of home.
In 1948, in the most stubbornly Dixiefied corner of the Jim Crow south, society matron Idella Thompson was viciously murdered in her own home: stabbed at least 150 times and left facedown in one of the bathrooms. Her daughter, Ruth Dickins, was the only other person in the house. She told authorities a Black man she didn’t recognize had fled the scene, but no evidence of the man’s presence was uncovered. When Dickins herself was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, the community exploded. Petitions pleading for her release were drafted, signed, and circulated, and after only six years, the governor of Mississippi granted Ruth Dickins an indefinite suspension of her sentence and she was set free.
In Deer Creek Drive, Beverly Lowry—who was ten at the time of the murder and lived mere miles from the Thompsons’ home—tells a story of white privilege that still has ramifications today, and reflects on the brutal crime, its aftermath, and the ways it clarified her own upbringing in Mississippi.
MY THOUGHTS – The author shares how she was affected by a murder from her childhood when a woman was brutally murdered not far from where she lived. Lowry was 10 when it occurred. It showed how family connections played a role back then, but is more about the unspoken white privilege that affected many. Shades of Susan Smith in 1994, blaming a black man for her crime. But this victim’s daughter was released by the Governor after people protested by way of petitions. Good story but a bit tedious at times. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
PUBLISHER – Knopf – 368 pages
PUBLICATION DATE – Aug 2nd, 2022
MY RATING – 3/5 STARS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – BEVERLY LOWRY is the author of six novels and four previous works of nonfiction. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Mississippi Review, Granta, and many other publications. She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters. She lives in Austin, Texas.