This is a great read. Non-fiction history is my favorite leisure reading topic, but I tend to read the introductions and particular chapters, and then flip through the rest. That was not the case with Suzanne Lebsock's "A Murder in Virginia: Southern Justice on Trial." She sets the scene, puts the reader in the midst of the action with attention to the prevailing attitudes of the time (not judging the past by present, as some "historians" do), helps the reader keep the many characters straight, and then writes the narrative as a mystery novel.
A particularly moving part that stayed with me (and I later reread and found just as effective), describes the unlikely coalition of white neighbors who created a diversion and helped the accused escape (in custody) from a large crowd gathered -- some with ropes -- at the scene on the evening of the murder.