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July 5, 1900, Wilkes County, North Carolina: The beautiful young daughter of tannery owner Jakob Schumann is found dead on the north bank of the Yadkin River, brutally beaten, a skinning knife in her chest.
Who killed Rachel Schumann? And why? Ambitious Wilkes prosecutor Vincent Taliaferro has arrested Virgil Wade, a mixed-race boy, and is convinced the case is open and shut. But local lawyer Ben Waterman is not so sure. Ben's investigation uncovers evidence that undermines the prosecutor's case and points in an entirely different direction. But can he prove it? Can he convince an all-White, all-male jury of Virgil's innocence?
The Tannery transports readers to the turbulent world of the post-Reconstruction South. Reflecting issues prominent in today's headlines, themes of Black voter suppression and intimidation, the violence and depravity of vigilante "justice," and the rise of Jim Crow drive the narrative to its dramatic and surprising conclusion.
Almond will be in conversation with Jeffrey Blount, award-winning author of three novels: Almost Snow White, winner of the 2013 USA Best Book Awards; Hating Heidi Foster; and The Emancipation of Evan Walls, winner of the 2020 National Indie Excellence Award for African American fiction. He is also an Emmy award-winning television director and a 2016 inductee to the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame. During a 34-year career at NBC News, Jeffrey directed a decade of Meet The Press, The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and major special events.