Monday, March 30, 2009

Murder in Four Parts – Bill Crider

Crider is back with Dan Rhodes. And this one sings!

Anyone familiar with Bill Crider knows that he has a wide range of interests. He loves reading, music, and movies. Dan Rhodes
stories are filled with all of these. But at the top of Crider's list is alligators. Mike Gonzo's "sewer monsters" turned out to be alligators, Galveston private eye Truman Smith encountered gators in one of his outings, and if you visit Bill's Pop Culture Magazine you won't have to scroll too far before encountering a gator link. Is it any wonder that along with the allusion to barbershop harmony in the title is accompanied by a chicken-eating gator?

This time out the victim is the treasurer of the local barbershop chorus and is found dead in his floral shop in the opening sequences of the book. Rhodes, true to his own form, spends the better part of three days plodding along finding pieces of the puzzle. In this edition you get a glimpse of the culture that is barbershop harmony, Texas gambling establishments, and a new game known as geocaching.

The characters are as entertaining as always, including original friends like Hack and Lawton and Dan's beautiful wife Ivy, and some of the newer arrivals like Seepy Benton and Max Schwartz. When I first started reading Dan Rhodes books some fifteen years ago, I thought--Mayberry! After all these years, and all these stories I see a bit of Sparta, Mississippi mixed in with the good folks of Blacklin County Texas.

Pick up a copy of Murder in Four Parts, you won't regret it.
I give Dan Rhodes five reading glasses (to make up for all those pairs he loses in hot pursuit of bad guys).

– Benjamin Potter, March 30, 2009

Personal note: I think you ought to buy this book. You can click the title to find its listing at as always, or you can do like I did and support your local independent book seller. I got my copy at Houston's Murder by the Book (Bill signs 'em there).

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