| 1. Introduction|
Sycamore Row is a novel by John Grisham. It is a direct sequel to his first novel, A Time to Kill, and again features Jake Brigance as the main character. It was released on October 22, 2013. The novel held the top spot in the US best-seller list.
2. Plot Summary
According to USA Today, "Jake Brigance returns to the courtroom in a 'dramatic showdown as Ford County again confronts its tortured history.'"
Set in fictional Clanton, Mississippi three years after the sensational events in the trial of Carl Lee Hailey (A Time to Kill), an employee of Seth Hubbard is instructed to meet his boss at a location by a sycamore tree at 2PM on a Sunday. The employee finds Mr. Hubbard has hanged himself from the tree because his terminal lung cancer had become too painful. Accompanying the body are very specific funeral and burial instructions.
Jake Brigance, Carl Lee's former attorney, has lost his secretary, home, and dog due to the actions of the KKK who tried to intimidate him during the Hailey trial. Brigance is currently tied up in litigation with his own insurance company after his house was burnt down and has little to no money to show from the Hailey trial. He receives a letter from Seth Hubbard, containing a new holographic will that renounces a will he filed the year before in which he had left all his assets to his daughter and son as well as his grandchildren. In this new will, Mr. Hubbard stipulates that his children will receive nothing, five percent will be given to his church, another five percent will be left to his brother. The remaining ninety percent is to be given to his black housekeeper Letitia (Lettie) Lang. Further instructions stipulate that the will must not be filed until after Seth's funeral so that his children, who rarely visited him during his bout with cancer, can put on a show not knowing that they will ultimately be left with nothing.
Mr. Hubbard notes that his children will certainly contest the new will because they are greedy and that Mr. Brigance has to do whatever it takes to make sure the new holographic will is the enforced will. He says he chose Jake because of the admirable work that Jake did at the Hailey trial. After a hotly contested court battle which yields many twists and turns, the trial looks lost for Brigance and Lang until a sensational deposition given by Mr. Hubbard's brother, Ancil, explains why Mr. Hubbard left the money to his housekeeper and the significance of the sycamore tree from which Mr Hubbard hanged himself.