In 1930, attorney P.D. Gardener is committed to the asylum for the Colored Insane after a failed suicide attempt. His doctor is trying out a new kind of therapy involving talking and P.D. reminisces about a unique case of defending a white man for murder where the testimony of his deceased wife was used against him.
Part historical fiction, party murder mystery and part ghost story, The Unquiet Grave is based upon the real murder trial of Zona Heaster Shue. I was pulled in the most by P.D.'s character and his confinement within the asylum as well as his rise to be a Black attorney in West Virginia. P.D. gave insight into the time period as well as context for how people acted and what they believed. Though we didn't know Zona's character for long, her spirit and tenacity was apparent. Zona didn't always make the best decisions in life, but seemed to do better in death by inciting her mother's interest. The point of view switches between P.D. in 1930 and Mary Jane in 1875, both telling the story, in a rather roundabout way, of how Zona came to be murdered and how her killer was finally convicted. The writing is very thorough and did seem to get a little bogged down in the details for me at times, but I was impressed by the amount of historical fact that was put in. I love that Zona's ghost continued to be a character and made sure that her death was not forgotten as well as having a testimony in her own murder trial. Overall, a unique telling of a historic true crime story.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.