Ruth Dickins was convicted of murder in 1948. A new book re-examines the case.

DEER CREEK DRIVE: A RECKONING OF MEMORY AND MURDER IN THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA by Beverly Lowry, Knopf, 355 pages, $29

Suzanne Berne l For The Washington Post

In 1948, Idella Thompson, an elderly widow from a prominent family in Leland, Mississippi, was gruesomely murdered — stabbed 150 times with a pair of pruning shears. Her daughter Ruth claimed to have encountered an unidentified Black intruder who had just killed Idella in her downstairs bathroom, but almost no one believed her. In fact, Ruth — a former debutante and mother of two who was described by family members as the “perfect daughter” — herself was tried and convicted of the killing. Yet even today, questions linger about what really happened.

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