J.D. Dawkins is awakened one morning by the sounds of sawing and hammering. This alarms him because he’s a groundhog (or woodchuck, as he prefers to be called), and the racket he hears is the sort of racket only people can make. On top of that, it sounds perilously close to the entrance to his den.
J.D. lives in a hole at the edge of an apple orchard. During all the years that he’s lived in the orchard, the house has never had a tenant. The farm itself is abandoned. It is called Darby’s Folly, for some reason that J.D. does not know, and the fields, like the orchard lie fallow and untended. For a long time the only inhabitants of Darby’s Folly have been J.D. and the little creatures of the woods and thickets who are his friends. To them it is an idyllic place, remote from all human activity, and therefore tranquil and safe. But now that is about to change.
Then, Mole mysteriously disappears, followed by Kayo the raccoon and Deacon Jones the opossum. When J.D. learns his friends have been trapped by a hunter, he becomes determined to rescue them. He sets out on an adventure that proves to be even more challenging and perilous than he ever imagined it could be.
Will J.D. and his friends survive? What will become of J.D.’s home once the new tenants move into the farmhouse? And why is the farm known as “Darby’s Folly,” anyway? These questions and more are answered in this whimsical story that will be cherished by children and adults alike.
About the author:
William L. Heath was born in 1924, in Lake Village, Arkansas, and grew up in Scottsboro, Alabama. In 1942 he entered the University of Virginia, but his attendance there was interrupted when he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, in which he served for three years as an aerial radio operator during WWII. He served overseas for seventeen months in the CBI theatre, flying the Hump, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Mr. Heath returned to the University of Virginia after his discharge and completed a B.A. degree in English Literature. During his senior year there, he published several short stories in the school magazine, won the Virginia Spectator Literary Award, and sold his first story to Collier’s. He went on to publish three dozen short stories, which were published in Argosy, Esquire, Collier’s, Cosmopolitan, and other publications of smaller circulation.
His first novel, Violent Saturday, was published in 1955. Later that same year 20th Century Fox made a movie based on the novel with an all-star cast including Victor Mature, Richard Egan, Stephen McNally, Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine.
Mr. Heath’s second novel, Ill Wind, received literary acclaim and established him as a writer with exceptional talents. He followed Ill Wind with six more novels over the course of his career.
Mr. Heath lived in Scottsboro, Alabama, with his wife of more than 30 years, Mary Ann Heath. After her death he moved to Guntersville, Alabama, where he lived until his death in 2007.