Belle Vie is a historic sugar cane planter’s house in the state of Louisiana, open for tourists, school visits and wedding receptions; the estate manager, Caren, is the great-granddaughter of slaves who worked on the plantation.
A migrant Mexican worker is found in a shallow grave in the cane field next to Belle Vie, her throat cut. In her efforts to save an innocent man from being charged with the crime, Caren finds herself uncovering more and more about the case, and incidentally discovering secrets in her own family history – placing her own life, and that of her daughter, in jeopardy. Billed as crime fiction, this is also a novel about race, politics, and the past. Heavy with atmosphere, it made me feel I know Louisiana well, although I’ve never been anywhere near the place.