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Sins of the South: Big Secrets in a Small Town Paperback – May 17, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1469907798
  • ISBN-13: 978-1469907796
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #431,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A criminal investigator, Maureen Hughes has written her second true crime book, SINS OF THE SOUTH. Not since THE COUNTESS AND THE MOB has the mafia connection to small communities been exposed in black and white. A 1956 'cold case' ruled a suicide has been proven to be a murder by Hughes. A chilling expose of how small towns stick together to hide the truth. Maureen Hughes, with a degree in criminal justice has made a career of investigating crimes. She also authored THE COUNTESS AND THE MOB. She resides in Nevada and Illinois.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Sins of the South Shall Rise Again Concerning Lester `Shot' Winchester and His Role in the Clate Adams Murder at the Tin Inn on February 23, 1956. The truth will be once again unleashed from the past. There will be no peace now, or forever after for the souls involved in the murder of Clate Adams and Rip that February 23rd night in 1956. The dogs of hell will haunt them till doomsday! Let the cards fall where they may and the findings prove what Lester Shot Winchester was and always will be in the records of the court--A MURDERER AND THE INDICTED MURDERER OF CLATE ADAMS!

I am the granddaughter of Clate Adams, the only surviving eyewitness that remembers the heinous slaughter of my grandfather and Rip, our Great Dane that night inside the Tin Inn! Alfred Leroy Reahm also shot at me while I was clinging to my Grandmother's leg, the bullet lodged in the wall two inches above my head! Reahm shot at my Grandmother, Rose while she was trying to phone the Sheriff. My Papaw, Clate, by this time had already been shot several times! My Grandmother had tossed Papaw a .38 revolver from the top of the refrigerator; in the meantime, my eighteen month old brother had crawled out to my Grandfather's dying body. Bullets still flying, my brother edged himself up onto Papaw's chest, with the last bit of life left in him, Papaw flung my brother; who was covered in blood, to safety. With all his effort, Papaw fired a single shot. The murderers fled out the front door firing a fatal bullet into my Papaw's back! What the book does not tell you is that Reahm shot Clate Adams nine times with a .45 automatic--he reloaded! Rip, who was charging with all his might made a valiant attempt to rush to protect my Papaw, was shot once in the jugular, an instant kill!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Chris Gerrib on September 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I grew up in a small town, and now live in a suburb of a big city. When I tell people in my current community where I grew up, they immediately think of "Mayberry RFD" and seem to think that my local police officer carried a gun with one bullet and the height of his day consisted of dealing with grade-school candy thefts. I smile, and remind myself that, of the 78 kids who graduated in my class in high school, three of them (that I know of) have spent time as inmates in prison. In short, small-town life is not anything like Mayberry.

So, it was with great interest that I purchased Maureen Hughes' book Sins of The South, billed as exposing the "shocking mafia influence in small towns in Illinois." The book primarily tells the story of Lester "Shot" Winchester, a nightclub owner in far Southern Illinois who died of a gunshot wound in April, 1956. I don't think it's much of a spoiler to note that Hughes at least thinks Winchester was murdered.

"Shot" Winchester was no saint, having at age 15 killed a boy for cheating him at a floating craps game. After Winchester got out, Prohibition was in full roar, and so he got a variety of jobs running moonshine, managing speakeasies / whorehouses, and related illegal activities. Perhaps ironically, Winchester was killed over a crime he probably had nothing to do with.

Sins of the South is an interesting book, but alas not a particularly well-written one. Hughes' story wanders in and out from Prohibition to the post-WWII era of legalized gambling in Illinois. Much of the book is a laundry list of the various local mobsters in Alexander and Pulaski counties (both at the bottom of the "V" formed by the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C.C. Ansardi on February 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I grew up near Cairo, Illinois in the time period in which these events happened, and Maureen Hughes' book, Sins of the South brought back both good and bad memories. Cairo was a pretty town back then with lovely homes and streets shaded by large magnolia trees. I remember someone pointing out a service road where a man was found dead in his car, and the rumors of Chicago syndicates and hit men. I once had a job interview with Ben Fischel who was mentioned in this book. Nothing had been published about those days in Cairo, and it is the sole reason I bought this book. While I enjoyed reliving memories and familiar places, Sins of the South reads like a bad first draft. How did that happen? Even novice writers reread and edit (one hopes), and this is not this author's first book. Ms. Hughes, if there is to be another book, please, please hire a good editor.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Doug on December 31, 2012
Format: Paperback
As a native southern Illinoisan, I found the subject matter to be very interesting; however, the book's narrative is meandering, at times ungrammatical, and incorrectly punctuated to the point of distracting the reader from the story.

When relating the scenario of "Shot" Winchester's death, the author includes conversations and details that appear to be speculative, since she doesn't refer to substantiating confessions from the involved parties. The reader may also take issue with the author's statement that "Shot Winchester and others like him fought against the criminal element in the area every day." "Shot" Winchester himself had been involved in various criminal activities throughout his career and he protected himself and his business by turning a blind eye to other criminal activities that were ongoing, including those on his own property, so to cast him as an incorruptible hero who actively fought crime and corruption is antithetical to many of the other facts presented in the book. That said, a reasoned analysis based on the facts shows Mr. Winchester to be an imperfect, fair man who, for the most part, refrained from extreme violence; but to refer to him as someone who was fighting corruption is simply not borne out by the facts presented in the book.

In the final analysis, "Shot" Winchester's story is one that deserves to be told; fortunately, the flaws of the storyteller, while distracting, do not diminish the vibrancy of a fascinating period in southern Illinois history.
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