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Mississippi Mud: Southern Justice and the Dixie Mafia Paperback – July 6, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Biloxi, Mississippi, has a "strip" of nightclubs and casinos where prostitution, drugs, and crooked gambling flourish unchecked. An older couple who thought they were retiring to a quiet seaside town got too deeply involved with local politics and the Dixie Mafia and were murdered. The investigation would've sunk beneath the muddy swirl of graft and business as usual but for the tenacious efforts of the victims' daughter. Despite death threats and indifferent law enforcement officials, she hired a private detective and swore to do whatever it took to bring her parents' killers to trial. Horror/suspense writer Peter Straubfinds the story reminiscent of Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen: "Like those writers, Edward Humes can make the wild, amoral, scheming sleazoids he parades before our eyes all but sing and dance on the page. Here is America, fat and happy, both hands crammed into the till." Mississippi Mud was a 1995 finalist for the Edgar Award in Fact Crime. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Vincent Sherry, a circuit court judge in Biloxi, and his wife, Margaret, city council member and a reform mayoral candidate, were fatally shot at their Mississippi home in 1987. The eldest of their four children, Lynne Sposito, hired a private detective. Biloxi had a history as a sin city; some of its cops were corrupt, while others were barely competent, and the police tried to implicate the Sherrys' adopted son in the murder. The individual perceived by Sposito to be most likely to suffer from a reform administration was Mike Gillich, who owned a number of strip joints in Biloxi; he was connected to con man Kirksey Nix, who was subsequently convicted of murder in Louisiana and given a life sentence. Nix's longtime lawyer was Vincent Sherry's law partner, Pete Halat, who may or may not have profited from Nix's many scams. Four years after the slayings, Gillich, Nix and two others were found guilty of conspiracy to commit the Sherrys' murder and given long prison terms. But questions remain, notes the author: "No one has been charged with the actual killings." Humes ( Buried Secrets ) has written an exceptionally fine depiction of a multifaceted case. Photos.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (July 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439186650
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439186657
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #305,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
On September 16th of 1987, the world as I knew it changed. My brother Eric called to inform me he had received a call from a woman in Biloxi who had heard on the news that our parents were dead. Nothing could have prepared me for the next ten years. I shared information with the author of this book from documentation, not imagination, in an effort to not allow the case to be as buried as were my parents... after all, at some point I will see them again. I could never look them in the eye and tell them I loved them and not have done everything possible to bring their killers to justice. I can assure you every tear I shed in reading this, attests to its accuracy in capturing both the event and the emotion.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
At the time I first read Hume's Mississippi Mud I worked in downtown Biloxi, and I found the book so powerfully evocative that each time I passed City Hall I caught myself shuddering.
Superior to the more famous MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL, Humes' MISSISSIPPI MUD paints a portrait of an infamous lonelyhearts scam being run out of notorious Angola prison by a member of Mississippi's good-old-boy crime ring--a scam that ultimately involves a sitting Judge, Vincent Sherry, his mayorial candidate wife, Magaret, and a law partner who has political aspirations of his own, Pete Halat. And the involvement quickly spirals into a double murder that would haunt the city and the entire region for years to come.
The story is extremely convoluted, but Humes tells it with disturbing clarity and in the process captures the atmosphere of a city with a long history of political corruption and social hypocrisy, where strip joints and churches and slums and great mansions co-exist cheek-to-cheek. In some respects the book does a disservice to the respectable citizens of the city, tarring them with the same brush as it does the criminal element, but there is no denying the power of this pitch-black story of life and death on the Biloxi strip, and Humes' book accurately follows the news updates on the case as they so slowly unfolded on the Mississippi gulf coast, as well as drawing material from those most intimately involved in the investigation. In the same league as Capote's IN COLD BLOOD and Alexander's NUTCRACKER, those who read Hume's MISSISSIPPI MUD will find themselves in for a well-documented, increasingly disturbing, chilling, and fascinating time.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After an Oprah-esque beginning focusing on the bereaved family, this is one of the best "true-crime" books that I've read - although the exposed failures of "the system" are truly frustrating.
On September 14, 1987, someone brutally murdered mayor-wannabe Margaret Sherry and her husband, Vincent the Judge, in Biloxi, Mississippi. Through intention, incompetence, obstruction, or neglect, there were investigative blunders. But the persistence of the Sherry's daughter, Lynne Sposito, eventually focused suspicion on Judge Sherry's former law partner and mayor-wannabe Peter Halat, and a cabal of convicts over in Louisiana s Angola prison.
Author Ed Humes steers this saga well - churning through the moral murkiness of Biloxi and far throughout the South - touching such folks as Senator Robert S. Kerr; Jim Garrsion; the Sherriff who walked tall - Buford Pusser; and the Bishop of Biloxi - who tried to intercede on behalf of one of those convicted in this mess.
Reviewers have likened this story to a John Grisham novel. This is not a "Grisham-like" tale. Seems to me like this is a true tale from which Grisham created fiction. The scam at the fetid heart of the 1987 Sherry murder conspiracy, the "lonely hearts" bilking and extortion from gay men, is real similar to the scam in the center of Mississippi-native Grisham's later novel, "The Brethren."
Usually in fiction, the Good Guys "get their man" or woman, or gang of bad folk. The Hardcover edition of Mississippi Mud is stuck with the "ending" that is no end. Why? Maybe because "Pete Halat had his supporters - a majority of voters had elected him mayor, after all. And apart from questions of his guilt or innocence, there was Biloxi's long history of wearing moral blinders.
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By A Customer on January 10, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A Wonderful Book. I lived in Saucier MS, not far from Biloxi, approx. 20 minutes. And everything you read in the book is true to the T. No half-truth's or lies. The state and the towns are still crooked. But what town or state isn't? A great book to read and one that is hard to put down. I remommend: no TV, a quiet room, and a soft light. Sometimes A & E will have a special about the Sherry Murders. Have a wonderful Read!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was involved with the Sherry case in Biloxi, so I know the truth when I read it. This book tells it all. Yes, it does read like a thriller, better than Grisham, in my opinion, but that doesn't mean its not all true. This is journalism at its best. It seems clear that there is one or two people out there cramming this site with repeat bad reviews. Don't be deceived by their phony compalints. They are liars -- probably friends of the crooks who are revealed for what they are in Mississippi Mud, if not the crooks themselves. Read this book if you want the finest in true -- and I mean TRUE -- crime writing.
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