1965, 1st edition; Little, Brown and Company publishers, Boston, Toronto; hardbound with ebony boards and embossed decor on cover; silver and blue lettering on spine; very good condition of book, appears unread; dust jacket good.
L.B. Jones, a wealthy African American funeral director in fictional Somerset, Tennessee, seeks legal representation from the local law firm run by Oman Hedgepath, and his newlywed nephew, Steve Mundine. Jones is seeking a divorce from his considerably younger wife Emma, alleging she had an affair with white police officer Willie Joe Worth, whom he suspects is the biological father of her unborn child.
In an effort to avoid a public scandal, Worth begs Emma not to contest the divorce, but she hopes to collect enough alimony to allow her to maintain the lavish lifestyle to which she has become accustomed. When she refuses to cooperate, Worth severely beats her, then, with the aid of fellow officer Stanley Bumpas, arrests Jones on false charges after he refuses to withdraw the divorce suit.
Jones escapes and eventually cornered, he confronts the officers and is handcuffed. He quietly and respectfully refuses to cooperate even at gunpoint, and Worth murders him, with Bumpas casually watching. Worth, initially cool, is suddenly horrified by what he has done and then even more so at Bumpas's subsequent, but cold bloodily practical actions in treating Jones's body like it was a side of beef and hanging it from a wrecker hook.
Bumpas slashes the body and removes Jones's shoelaces to make it look like it was done by