The story follows “Scout”, the daughter of the lawyer Atticus Finch from a small town in the Deep South of the United States. It is set in the 1930s and roughly follows the course of a period where a black man has been accused of rape and is due to stand trial. The book explores the prejudices of the townsfolk and gives quite an insight into the social dynamics of a society which is quite unlike anything of which we would have experience. As a result, quite a lot of the expressed opinion is quite harsh and unforgiving to the modern ear but it refers to a time when things were very different. There is, for example, copious use of the ‘N’ word and this from virtually all groups represented. This can seem shocking.
Throughout the book there are vignettes into the lives of the various social groups represented in the book and as a whole it is a neat cross-section of small town America in the 1930s.
From a stylistic point of view, the writing is somewhat heavy going but again this reflects a 1950s sensibility.
I can see why this book has become labelled as one of the great works of literature but it is by no means a perfect piece.
I shan’t be interested in reading ‘to set a watchman’