Authors Showcase: Death on the Move by Bill Crider
March 9, 2015
The Book: Death on the Move
The Author: Bill Crider
The Story: Someone in Blacklin County, Texas, is being disrespectful of the dead, and Sheriff Dan Rhodes must put a stop to it.
First, there’s the matter of the bodies at Ballinger’s Funeral Home and the apparent misplacing of their valuables; the bereaved are beside themselves. There’d best be immediate action or the bell could toll again, this time for Sheriff Dan’s reputation as the guardian of justice and decency in these parts.
As if that weren’t enough to contend with, yet another body tumbles into Sheriff Dan’s path—out of a closet this time, and trussed up in most unsavory fashion. More disrespect, but obviously a separate case from the funeral home. Or is it?
Meanwhile, with Hack Jensen and his sidekick Lawton (more comic than cop team) minding the jail, thank heavens there’s Deputy Ruth Grady for backup. On the personal front, his fiancée, Ivy Daniel, is supportive as always, but a mystery rears its perplexing head here as well—namely, will Sheriff Dan propose or will he not?
Tough questions on every side, and guess who’s expected to come up with the answers before he gets carried away by Death On the Move?
About Bill Crider:
I was born and brought up in Mexia (that’s pronounced Muh-HAY-uh by the natives), Texas, went to college at The University of Texas and North Texas State University, and taught high school and college classes for many years. In 2002 I retired as Chair of the Division of English and Fine Arts at Alvin Community College, in Alvin, Texas.
I’m married to the lovely Judy, and we have two grown children, Angela, who’s an attorney in San Francisco, and Allen, who’s in the music business in Austin. Other than that, I’m a pretty boring guy.
Review by Connie H. Smith:
Looks like theft is a big problem these days in Blacklin County, Texas. First, the local funeral director complains to Sheriff Dan Rhodes that someone is stealing family jewelry from his “clients” during viewing hours. Then an elderly widow spies a suspiscious moving van cruising at various times throughout the Clearview Lake area. And it’s January, the off season.
When Rhodes and his deputy Ruth Grady investigate, they discover that several vacation homes have been completely cleared out, without even a speck of dust left in sight. That’s when a dead body wrapped mummy-like in duct tape falls out of a closet to the floor, right in front of them. Who was the victim? Why was her body left in that condition? Did it mean the thieves were also murderers, or was the murder a separate crime?
The questions get even thicker when it turns out that the woman had been having an affair with a neighbor behind her husband’s back. Both the husband and the lover were known to have argued with the victim around the time of her death. And then there’s that moving van. When Rhodes tries to find it, he instead stumbles onto a pair of good-ol’-boy drug runners and a minor stash of pot. What in the world is going on in this peaceful plains community? And exactly how much has that lakeside widow seen?
While Rhodes keeps busy enough trying to decipher the clues and find the criminals responsible, he also has to plan for some upcoming changes in his personal life. He and Ivy Daniels have finally set a wedding date. (Ella Click won the courthouse pool, much to the chagrin of Rhodes’ closest colleagues, Hack and Lawton.) Ivy, good sport that she is, has even agreed to help her fiance with one of the ongoing investigations by lying as still as can be, in a coffin. It must be love. Maybe Dan Rhodes won’t have to live on bologna sandwiches and franks and beans much longer.
As usual, our favorite Texas sheriff manages to get into a few scrapes before catching the culprits for good. The flea market scene here is *not* to be missed. Author Bill Crider continues to provide good mystery characters, descriptions, and plots for our amusement. A very satisfying reading experience.