Monday, November 30, 2009
Dead Weight by Batt Humphreys
Joggling Board Press
Dead Weight is based on factual events with fictional characters mixed in. There is a murder of a Jewish merchant, Mr. Lebelsky. His wife Rose, is away in New York until she is summoned by the city of Charleston that her husband was murdered. She returns to Charleston.
There seems to be a rift between Mr. Levin and Mr. Lebelsky about business being open on Saturday. Jewish law doesn't allow stores to be open on Saturday. Max Labelsky was from the new school to be open on Saturday, but Mr. Levin did not believe this.
Rose Lebelsky opens her clothing shop when she returns. While she is working she gets conked on the head. There is a young black man,Nealy Duncan he is walking away from the scene not running down the street.
He was purchasing items for his wedding. Mrs. Lebelsky was conked on the head. The mob chases after him after they hear Mrs. Lebelsky scream. They chase after him. The mob grabs him and does not look for any other suspects. But they come to the realization he must be Mr. Lebelsky's murderer. This is Charleston, SC the racial divide.
The elements Mr. Nealy Duncan works for a baker named Mr. Gelifiss. He is a white man that teats Nealy like a son. He is about to marry Ida. He makes purchases for the wedding that is what he doing in Jewish Charleston. Observant Jews business owners don't open their business on Saturday. There was a rift between Mr. Lebelsky and Mr. Levin.
SPOILER!!! SPOILER!! If you don't want to know what happens don't read any further.
The trial does not go well for Nealy. It was a unfair trial. it is decied that he will be hanged. There are citizens that want to help including a reporter Hinson.
After the trial he is placed in the jail for two days till the hanging. A group of men wanted to give Nealy his last wish, to see Ida in her wedding dress and married. The group put something in their drink to make the jailers sleep. They have 15 minutes to knock them out and bring Ida to Nealy united in marriage. Be able to escape without anyone's knowledge.
Nealy is hanged by a noose what is called Dead Weight. How they do it on the ships. Even the hanging does go well. You should be able to hear his neck snap and the observers are not sure if it did. They keep him in the noose for a extra 30 minutes.
In the mean time there is a hurricane coming. Ida's mother can not find her. Mr. Hinson goes searching for her. He finds her at Nealy's fresh grave. He realizes that she has shot herself(Romeo and Juliet).
My thoughts on this book. It is a fast easy read. I enjoyed reading the book, Dead Weight. Mr. Humphreys did a lot of research and had a lot of background information about Charleston area and the hurricane. The hurricane just added to the story. I went to Charleston last summer so that added to the feel of the book. Now that I read the book I would like to visit the places that are mentioned, especially the homes and businessses on Kings and Meeting street. The Jewish cemetery where Max is buried. I would like to find Lebelsky's gravesite in the Jewish cemetery.
I have said it before but if any of you live in the Myrtle Beach area or would like to see Batt come to Barnes and Noble at the Market Commons at 1PM on December 6th. He will be doing book signings. Or if you would like to see him as a guest speaker at our Hadassah Tea on December 6th from 3-5. Leave me a comment at the bottom of my post and I will get back with you with details.
I will be having Batt write a guest post in the next few days.