1989 1st year edition; Doubleday publishers, New York; hardbound in ebony and blue boards with gilt lettering on spine; very good condition with unmarked pages; dust jacket very good.
This was Grisham's first novel. The novel was rejected by many publishers before Wynwood Press eventually gave it a modest 5,000-copy printing. When Doubledaypublished The Firm, Wynwood released a trade paperback of A Time to Kill, which became a bestseller. Dell published the mass market paperback months after the success of The Firm, bringing Grisham to widespread popularity among readers. Doubleday eventually took over the contract for A Time to Kill and released a special hardcover edition.
In 1996, the novel was adapted into a film of the same name, starring Matthew McConaughey and Samuel L. Jackson. In 2011, it was further adapted into a stage play of the same name by Rupert Holmes. The stage production opened at the Arena Stage (Washington, D.C.) in May 2011 and opened on Broadway in October 2013.
In the small town of Clanton, in fictional Ford County, Mississippi, a ten-year-old African-American girl named Tonya Hailey is viciously raped and beaten by two white supremacists, James "Pete" Willard and Billy Ray Cobb. Tonya is later found and rushed to the hospital while Pete and Billy Ray are heard bragging at a roadside bar about their crime. Tonya's distraught and outraged father, Carl Lee Hailey, consults his friend Jake Brigance, a white attorney who had previously represented Hailey's brother, on whether he could get himself acquitted if he killed the two men. Jake tells Carl Lee not to do anything stupid, but admits that if it had been his daughter, he would kill the rapists. Carl Lee is determined to avenge Tonya and, while Pete and Billy Ray are being led into holding after their bond hearing, he kills both men with an M16 rifle.
Carl Lee is charged with capital murder. Despite efforts to persuade Carl Lee to retain high-powered attorneys, he elects to be represented by Jake. Helping Jake are two loyal friends, disbarred attorney Lucien Wilbanks and sleazy divorce lawyer Harry Rex Vonner. Later, the team is assisted by liberal law student Ellen Roark, who has prior experience with death penalty cases and offers her services as a temporary clerk pro bono. Ellen appears to be interested in Jake romantically, but the married Jake resists her overtures. The team also receives some illicit behind-the-scenes help from black county sheriff Ozzie Walls, a figure beloved by the black community and also well respected by the white community who upholds the law by arresting Carl Lee but, as the father of two daughters of his own, privately supports Carl Lee and gives him special treatment while in jail and goes out of the way to assist Jake in any way he legally can. Carl Lee is prosecuted by Ford County's corrupt district attorney, Rufus Buckley, who hopes that the case will boost his political career. It is claimed that the judge presiding over Carl Lee's trial, Omar "Ichabod" Noose, has been intimidated by local white supremacist elements. This proves true when, despite having no history of racist inclinations in his rulings, Noose refuses Jake's perfectly reasonable request for a change of venue, even though the racial make-up of Ford County virtually guarantees an all-white jury.
Billy Ray's brother, Freddy, seeks revenge against Carl Lee...