book cover of The Woman in the Yard
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The Woman in the Yard

(1999)
A novel by

 
 
Acting Sheriff Q. P. Waldeau has returned from his tour of duty in Korea to the small coastal town of Wilmington, North Carolina. Waldeau is eager to build a career in law enforcement, but in the hung-over early hours of New Year's Day 1954, when the brutalized body of a black prostitute washes up on the banks of the Cape Fear, he confronts a professional and political dilemma with the potential to destroy his ambitions. When the first suspect must be released for lack of evidence, Waldeau vows to pursue the case despite the willful disinterest that his colleagues on the police force share with Wilmington's white Democratic establishment.

But even the local elite cannot ignore the murderer when a white woman joins the growing list of victims. As the simmering prejudices and conflicting agendas aroused by the killings threaten to demolish the Old South's fragile racial hierarchy, Q.P. must negotiate a dangerous course between his political instincts, his professional discipline, and his moral duty. When those same tensions explode in outright violence, Waldeau finds not only his career, but also his life and that of the woman he loves, in peril.

Set amidst the darkness that heralded the dawn of the New South, The Woman in the Yard captures the atmosphere, the passion, and the paranoia that charged an era and changed a generation.


Genre: Mystery

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