Content or Writing Related · Southern Living

‘Conspiracy in Corinth’. A Novella…Review

I live in Corinth, Mississippi and I am excited to know there are authors that write about the town and the history. Of course, Corinth is mainly known for the Civil War and most books written about Corinth deal with the facts of that era.

There was a breath of fresh air when I saw a copy of ‘Conspiracy in Corinth’ ( available at Amazon Buy the Book  ). I was unaware of such a book or the author, Phil Hardwick, existed until I saw the spine as I was scanning the library shelf for another title. I came away with three of Hardwick’s titles. I am currently reading ‘Newcomer to New Albany’ (also at Amazon Buy This Title   ). Or if you would like a “lot” of the series as a gift or for your own library you can get it easy enough here Not the Full Set But 8 Titles

Conspiracy in Corinth is an easy read with, simple and short dialog, easy-to-follow plot and some history. The historical facts part of the book is the one aspect I wasn’t thrilled about. The way it was stated seemed to turn the quick-read detective story into a history text book. I almost nodded off as if I were back in that stimey, dank and humid classroom of the 11th grade.

A couple of places where the facts were stated- it was in the form of reading a pamphlet or handout and that was OK. The one off-putting text was during the visit to Gilmore’s restaurant at Shiloh Ridge and the main character is speaking with an older man about how the name ‘Gilmore’ came about. Instead of reading and sounding like a believable conversation it was as if the text and facts were copied-and-pasted into the book from another source.

Can you imagine an elderly man, a stranger at that, being able to spout off the results of an air race held in 1934, down to the second? “International fame would come after he entered the MacRobertson London-to-Melbourne air race in 1934. He and his co-pilot came in second with an elapsed time of 3 days, 21 hours, 5 minutes and 2 seconds, and were the only Americans to finish the flight”. Whew! that is a lot to take in. That conversation from the old guy’s memory and knowledge of Roscoe Turner and Gilmore lasted for 1,001 words.

The thrill of seeing, in print, businesses in your town mentioned and talked about is pretty intense. Of the many places written about in this title I have experienced them myself:

 

I, and my mother, (back in her pre-mother teen years) have worked at Borroum’s Drug Store and Fountain.

I have had a non-speaking part in the play, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ that was in the ‘Pickwick Theater’ (Corinth Coliseum).

I have watched the burial of a War Veteran at the Corinth National Cemetery.

I have eaten slug burgers and attended many Slug Fests, annual Slug Burger Festivals.

I have dined at the General’s Quarters.

I have been to Shiloh Ridge many times and admired the stately homes at the entrance.

I have had, hands-down, the best chicken and dressing at Gilmore’s restaurant prepared by Chef Ben Betts.

I did eat at Martha’s Menu.

I have been to the Welcome Center for Christmas Open-House and to pick up MS travel brochures.

The one business that struck me as odd the main character never visited was the Northeast Regional Library (Corinth Library). This is the main library branch in Northeast Mississippi and it is located across from the General’s Quarters (where the main character lodged). The time period is in the very early stages of home computers and internet. It would have been great to see the main character take advantage of the resources inside the library. Then again, the book is only 118 pages long, it may not have fit in the length-parameters the author had set for himself.

Ha! Leave it to me to complain of a writer not using the resources of the Northeast Regional Library and that is exactly where I found this writer’s works.

This title would be a great addition to the Welcome Center and the Alliance to sell to tourists. The details of the places visited in the book may have been altered slightly to benefit the flow of the story but, for the most part, it is a great inspiration for people to seek out these businesses in person.

The story is simple and anyone with reading comprehension abilities, even very young, will be able to follow along and picture the the city of Corinth that Phil Hardwick painted with his words.

With all that being said, my experiences at some of these businesses may have been a bit different than the ones depicted. I have used Yelp as a place to encourage my writing and I have reviewed several, if not all, the places talked about in this book.

My Yelp reviews can be seen and read if you care to:

Chef Ben Betts made the best chicken and dressing at Gilmore’s and he is now making it for relatives’ new restaurant  Chef Ben

The Corinth Historical District is where the Corinth Court House, Borroum’s Drug Store, the Pickwick Theater/Corinth Coliseum and the fictional attorney’s office are located in this story Corinth Historical District

Corinth has a few well-known residents and characters itself. Roscoe Turner was one of those characters. The restaurant, ‘Gilmore’s’, in this story is named after a lion that air ace, Roscoe Turner raised and carried along with him on flights. The Corinth Airport is named after Turner  Roscoe Turner Airport

Borroum’s Drug Store and Fountain has been here since “day one” and it has its own history and lineage to be admired. Ms. Camille Borroum Mitchell is the current pharmacist and is in the drug store daily. Ms. Camille was the first female druggist in the state of Mississippi. She is a character to behold. Someone really needs to get her life down in words. She once told me of her and her father being robbed at shotgun-point when she was a teenager. Both me and my Mom have worked here as waitresses. Yelp Review, Especially the Cornbread Salad

There is video of her telling about Corinth  Ms. Camille   and there is video of other locals’ stories  Locals Tell of Corinth   and this is a wonderful video on the variety that Corinth has to offer. It is an older video and the barber “Moon” Mullins has since passed away and ‘Hamburger Harold’s’ has closed  Tour Corinth Mississippi

The Welcome Center is one of the nicest around. I have used it for resources many times  Corinth Welcome Center  and the Christmas Open House events are really nice and one year it was hosted by local TV celebrity/personality Kay Bain   Open House

In the story, ‘Conspiracy in Corinth’, there is mention of a food item called a slugburger and the annual Slug Fest or Slugburger Festival. It is most definitely not made from snails and garden slugs. The common theory for the name is– when these were created, in depression-era, by mixing eggs, soy grits, flour and seasonings into pork to make the meat last longer. The price for one of these burgers was a nickle and slang for that was a slug. 

I don’t whole-heartedly agree with that. I grew up with elderly people that are from the depression era and they never-ever called them slug burgers. They, and I still do at times, call them a dough burger because you make a meat dough and eat it like a burger. The one aspect of the slug reference, to me, is back before computerized Coke machines you could put a slug (blank piece of metal that resembles a coin but has zero monetary value) into a Coke machine and get a drink. Well, if you eat a slug burger you get the feeling you’ve eaten something, but you haven’t actually gotten the full protein and nutritional value from a beef burger.

The unique method of cooking these dough patties is probably frowned upon by health-conscious people. You press a ball of dough out rather thin and deep fry in oil. I get just fine results using a hot, dry iron skillet. Enough fat renders out to fry itself in the home kitchen environment. But, in bulk and at the festival, they are deep fried  Slug Burger Festival  and you can watch the Vlog of Matt Stonie, the 1st CHAMPION Slugburger Eater. He ate 30!!! That is ridiculous. ***at least two uses of foul language on the following video**  1st Slugburger Eating Champion  but if nothing else scan to the last seconds of the video and look at his expressions.

Like I stated earlier, the experiences in the story vary from my own and Martha’s Menu is a perfect example  Martha’s Menu

The Corinth Coliseum, or as in the story-The Pickwick Theater- is on the corner across from Martha’s Menu and I have been inside a couple of times. I was in a non-speaking part in, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’  The Pickwick Theater/Corinth Coliseum

The ending of the book takes place in the Corinth National Cemetery. I enjoy photography and was at the cemetery one day taking photos. I walked over a small rise and saw a group of cemetery workers with a backhoe and a coffin. There were no family members. I turned off the camera, after taking a shot of that scene, and sat down under the American flag and watched as they buried this person. I thought they deserved at least that much  Corinth National Cemetery

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2 thoughts on “‘Conspiracy in Corinth’. A Novella…Review

    1. It is so weird how I found him. He was in a section of the library I NEVER go in and last week I was looking for books to study writing techniques and I saw the word CORINTH. I had to stop and look. He has written 10 titles based in MS. I am on the New Albany book now and have the ‘Captured in Canton’ to still read. There is a Vicksburg, Flora, Jackson, Columbia and don’t know the other two cities (Letters From Laurel**may be one?).

      It is exciting seeing a local author. I may try to contact him and see if he offers autographed copies. I like autographs anyway.

      Like

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