Published in 1961, this story is set in a small town in southern USA. The overt story concerns race, justice and to some extent mortality, though there are plenty of other threads. However, it's the examination of the protagonists' views on race that are most interesting and, to some extent troubling, especially to the modern reader as the N word and variants are used quite often, albeit as a noun/statement, rather than necessarily as an insult.
It plays with one's sympathies very effectively. For instance, the old judge is a very traditional white southern patriarch. He is keen to retain segregation, yet strives to be generous to the black people who work for him. Is he bad, a product of his time, or both?
As with all her writing, this is distinctively McCullers, with a lovely, lyrical feel (she was a trained musician).
I expect there are some that would like such a book to be buried and forgotten, but I think the fact that it would be hard to write it now is all the more reason to keep and read it. McCullers' is clearly on the side of equality for the African-American community, but she makes it plain that it is not a straightforward issue of right and wrong or good and bad - and that message is at least as relevant now as it was when segregation was the norm.