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BOOK REVIEW: MURDER IN FOUR PARTS
BY BILL CRIDER

We hope you enjoy this book review by Caryn St. Clair.



Sheriff Dan Rhodes wonders why everyone keeps mentioning that he's up for reelection next year. And he wonders why he was asked to join the barbershop quartet group when he really can't sing. But mostly, as Murder in Four Parts opens, he wonders how an alligator got in a ditch in Blacklin County, Texas.

Although the county is populated with mostly ordinary people going about their day to day business, there certainly seems to be a lot of strange things going on-things that the sheriff has to investigate. Not only is there an alligator in a ditch, but there are the chicken feathers under it. Are the feathers (and the alligator) somehow connected neighbors feuding over whether chickens should be allowed inside the town limits? And there's the naked guy who keeps popping up causing a traffic hazard. Oh yes, and then there's the murder. While the sheriff is busy trying to deal with the alligator, feuding neighbors, and the naked man, the local florist is found dead in his store. Even though the murder occurred during the day, in a strip mall, no one seems to have seen or heard anything. One of the other store fronts in the shopping strip is a gaming facility which quite possibly is not entirely above board. That place supplies some of the more colorful characters of the book.

The two things that make the Sheriff Rhodes books so good are the easy going sheriff and the slower pace of Blacklin County. Sheriff Rhodes approaches each and every problem in the same laid back manner, giving the people he meets and interviews all the time it takes them to tell their stories. It's through these sometimes long winded meandering tellings, that the clues to the crime slowly emerge. Secondly, Blacklin County is a rural community of people far from the bright lights and excitement of city life. Their lives are centered around their families and community, so when something is amiss, it's an affront to all of the good citizens of Blacklin County.

Finally while readers follow Sheriff Rhodes through the trials of alligators and chickens, gambling and murder, there's another treat in store for them-such as an interesting use for Vick's VapoRub.

REVIEWED BY CARYN ST. CLAIR

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, CARYN ST. CLAIR


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