It's a long and complicated tale of murder, love, sex, and treachery in the deep south. Randolph Sudderland Shepherdson III is rich, happy, and engaged to Laurie Mae Lytle, a beautiful schoolteacher. Well, Randy isn't really rich. He hasn't yet come into his full inheritance, which is due on his marriage. Unfortunately, his guardian, Judge Ball, has already spent most of the money, so he has to come up with a way to prevent the marriage.
The way he decides upon involves a man named Harry Diadem. Harry is 25 years old and has had his way with (so far) 603 women (Harry keeps good records). The judge wants him to make Laurie number 604.
Throw into this mix a religious, alcoholic, incestuous cop, a dwarf with super strength, a blackmailer, a woman named Sugar Dolly, and a great courtroom scene. The result is a hilarious send-up of Southern Gothic fiction by a masterly writer. Willingham might be better known for his Oscar nominations as a scriptwriter (The Graduate, Little Big Man), but nobody interested in good fiction should pass up his novels.