19 MAY 1961, Page 28

Killing at the Big Tree. By David McCarthy. (Heinemann, 13s.

6d.) White woman is killed in small Southern town where, whenever there has been a murder before, a Negro has paid for it. New sheriff is determined to find out who, in fact, did this one, black or white, before a Negro is lynched for it by poor whites, neurotic and bloody-minded because of race-hate and thun- dery heat. Detection neatly worked out, under heavy cloud of steamy malice.