Monday, January 13, 2014

A small death in Texas

I’m always excited to introduce readers to a promising new mystery series. Well, if A Killing at Cotton Hill is anything to go by, the Samuel Craddock series by Terry Shames is going to be really good.

Samuel Craddock is an old man, a small-town widower with lots of time on his hands. When he learns that his longtime friend, Dora Lee Parjeter, has been murdered, he heads over to her place immediately to find out what’s what.

Samuel was the chief of police in Jarrett Creek, Texas, back when it was an elected position. Now the chief is appointed by the county sheriff, and the job has gone to a man Samuel thinks is completely incompetent. Samuel just doesn’t trust anyone to look into Dora Lee’s murder better than he can himself.

And who would kill a little elderly lady like Dora Lee? Samuel soon discovers that Dora Lee’s life was more complicated than it seemed. There’s her grandson, who wanted money to go to art school; her in-laws, who wanted money to pay off their debts; and her shady neighbors, who had been pestering her with lowball offers to buy her land. But is Dora Lee’s little patch of farmland really worth anything? And where is her estranged daughter?

A Killing at Cotton Hill has a folksy, comfortable tone with a clever mystery at its heart. If you like writers like Craig Johnson and Steven Havill, give this one a try, too. The second book in the series, The Last Death of Jack Harbin, will be coming out soon.

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