Deer Creek Drive: A Reckoning of Memory and Murder in the Mississippi Delta

Knopf. Aug. 2022. 368p. ISBN 9780525657231. $29. CRIME
Lowry (Who Killed These Girls??) delves into the murder of society matron Idella Thompson, the sensational trial, and the Mississippi Delta in this powerful book. In 1948, Thompson was gruesomely murdered in her home. Though her daughter, Ruth Dickins, was the only person in the house, and there was no evidence of an intruder, Dickins claimed an unidentified Black man was the perpetrator. When Dickins was convicted of her mother’s murder, she remained insistent that a Black man was responsible for the crime. What follows is a case marked by racism and class that polarizes the community to this day. Lowry grew up nearby and was a child at the time of Thompson’s murder. Reflections on her upbringing add rich context to the story as she revisits her home and memories. Lowry skillfully balances memoir with the complexities of the crime, region, and implications about white privilege. This book will appeal to readers interested in Delta history and is a great addition to any true crime fan’s bookshelf. Readers interested in similar themes may enjoy Karen L. Cox’s Goat Castle: A True Story of Murder, Race, and the Gothic South.
VERDICT An evocative, thoughtful true crime story.
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