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

Books on Tape Aug. 2022. 16:27 hrs. ISBN 9780593590157. $95. CRIME
In 1948, prominent widow Idella Thompson was viciously murdered in her home in Leland, MS, on Deer Creek Drive, the town’s most affluent street. Idella’s daughter, Ruth Dickins, claimed that she and her mother were attacked by an unknown Black man. However, evidence clearly pointed to Ruth, and she was eventually arrested and sentenced to life in prison. Author Lowry (Who Killed These Girls?), who was 10 at the time and living in the nearby town of Greenville, interweaves her own family narrative into her meticulous reconstruction of the crime and aftermath. Ruth eventually served only seven years of her sentence before she was released and pardoned by the governor. The state of Mississippi’s history of racial discrimination (another headline-making story of the time involved the death of Emmett Till) is a prevailing element throughout. As the author notes, present-day residents of Leland, MS, are still reluctant to discuss details about the Thompson murder. Lowry’s narration is clear and authoritative, conveying the knowledge of someone close to the subject.
VERDICT A vivid and descriptive account of a chilling crime and the environment in which it occurred. True crime fans will be captivated.
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