2004-12-03 / Front Page

Black and White and Blood All Over A spicy novel by Carroll Furman

Book Review by Warner M. Montgomery

Carroll Furman is a crusty old country lawyer who decided to give up parachuting, skydiving, and race car driving when he turned 80 and dedicate his life to croquet and writing. After he wrote a story in The Columbia Star about his trip to the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, I was convinced I had to read the novel he claimed he was working on. If the old codger from Camden could make a trip to the sterile, treeless, economically–deprived French islands sound exciting, then his story of murder, mayhem, scandal, and intrigue would be worth two sleepless nights.

My critique of Blank and White and Blood All Over , Furman’s first novel, is printed on the cover sheet:

“This skillful South Carolina storyteller has really put life into old court records, newspaper stories, and coroners’ reports. His delicious characters create their own rollicking, wicked, and sexy stories. He separates good from evil without screaming or preaching at the reader. It is hard to realize this was written by a small town country trial lawyer.”

H.W.C. Furman was raised in Camden, graduated from The Citadel, received the Combat Infantry Badge and a Purple Heart in WWII, became a paratrooper and earned 28 airborne badges from 19 countries, earned a law degree from the University of Michigan, practiced law in Camden with the future Gov. John West, received the Order of the Palmetto, was inducted into the Fort Benning Hall of Fame, and joined The Explorers Club (where I first met him).

Black and White and Blood All Over follows strange characters Furman first encountered doing research into his own family. A man flees England after committing a heinous crime then becomes a California millionaire. When a San Francisco policeman tries to blackmail him, the plot joins the lives of other unforgettable characters such as a voodoo queen with one blue eye and one brown eye; a vivacious blonde willing to do anything to get rich in San Francisco; a lying, cheating Texas judge; and an ugly, horny Quaker who lost his soul on the way to becoming a wealthy banker.

This is not Carroll Furman’s first publication. In addition to vast volumes of legal briefs, he has written a handbook for girls who were dating Citadel cadets ( Dope for Drags ), the history of a military camp in France at the end of WWII ( Camp Marlboro ), the first Parachutist’s Log Book , a Bridle Map of Camden , the reprint of a 1892 Map of Marlboro County , and the 44–year–old Restrictions Upon Use of The Army by the Posse Comitatus Act which became relevant with the passage of the Patriot Act. All of his books seem to have a bit of his personal perversions, a bit of twisted law, and a lot of tasteful humor.

Carroll Furman will sign autographs at the Happy Bookseller between 11 am and 1 pm Saturday, December 18.

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