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A Killing at Cotton Hill

A Samuel Craddock Mystery by Terry Shames

A Killing at Cotton Hill by Terry Shames

Review: Widower Sam Craddock of Jarrett Creek, Texas is a retired police chief. When Dora Lee Pajeter, an old friend, called him late one night telling him there had been a car parked a little way from her home for a couple of nights and she was afraid, Sam calmed her nerves by assuring her there was probably nothing to worry about. The next morning Sam is shocked to hear that Dora Lee had been stabbed to death in her home. Feeling guilty for taking her fear so lightly, Sam immediately drives to Cotton Hill to see if he could find any clues as to who would kill her and why in A Killing at Cotton Hill, the first mystery in this series by Terry Shames.

The current police chief, Rodell Skinner, is already on site and doesn't need Sam messing up his crime scene. Sam, however, knowing the chief is a drunk and not worthy of the title, stays out of his way but still checks out her home. Dora Lee's grandson, Greg, lives in a shed, converted into a compact little cabin, where he spends his time painting. Chief Skinner immediately arrests Greg for the murder of his grandmother after hearing they had argued recently. Sam, believing Greg to be innocent, calls in a lawyer and has Greg released in his care. As with most small towns where everyone knows everyone else there is a lot of gossip. Why did Dora Lee's daughter leave home when she was young and run off to California? Will anyone be able to find her to let her know her mother has been murdered? And, if they do, will she come home for her mother's funeral? Dora Lee's husband's family is particularly interested in whether she left a will or not. Who would get her land? What secrets will be revealed when the members of the family and close friends finally get together and begin to talk and compare notes?

As good as this mystery is — and make no mistake, it is a very good one — it is the characters, most particularly Sam Craddock that are so appealing here. A soft-spoken gentleman, he is a man anyone would be proud to have as a friend. The victim's grandson and chief suspect Greg is also nicely developed, an artist who prefers to work alone than mix with others. The characters fit perfectly into the creatively drawn small town Texas setting. A very strong start to this series, one worth seeking out.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of A Killing at Cotton Hill.

Acknowledgment: Seventh Street Books provided a copy of A Killing at Cotton Hill for this review.

Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …

Mystery Book Review: Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek by Terry ShamesDead Broke in Jarrett Creek
Seventh Street Books (Trade Paperback), October 2014
ISBN-13: 9781616149963; ISBN-10: 1616149965

Location(s) referenced in A Killing at Cotton Hill: Texas

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A Killing at Cotton Hill by Terry Shames

A Killing at Cotton Hill by A Samuel Craddock Mystery

Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Format: Trade Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-1-61614-799-0
Publication Date:
List Price: $15.95

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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews

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