The best thing about Bill Crider's series about Sheriff Dan Rhodes is the three-way bickering between Rhodes, the dispatcher Hack Jensen and Lawton, the jailer. The whole tale starts with Hack and Lawton arguing about ghosts in the jail. Of course the two old men decide that the sheriff is the person to inform the inmates that there are no ghosts.
On the heels of that discussion, someone reports that there is a dead person in a freshly dug grave that is to be used the next day -- but not by the person presently in it. It turns out that there are just as many conflicts between civic leaders in small towns as in large cities. But Rhodes doesn't solve things with forensic evidence or DNA profiles. He solves his cases the old fashioned way -- with smarts and logic.
Rapper and Nellie make a return visit to Blacklin County. You would think they would find an easier locale to pull their stunts but Rhodes is happy to give them another dose of his small-town justice.
This story had some gaping errors in the police procedural portion of this homespun tale. I've observed that the rules about protecting a crime scene and getting backup during an armed conflict are explicit and fairly unshakable. Things did not proceed according to my understanding of the rules.
I happened to have listened to this as a book-on-tape. George Guidall was the reader and he added a star to the story for his fine performance. If you have never heard Guidall narrate a story with aged eccentrics, you owe it to yourself to hear at least one in this series. He also does a masterful job with the Tony Hillerman Navaho stories.
1. Too Late to Die (1986)
2. Shotgun Saturday Night (1987)
3. Cursed to Death (1988)
4. Death on the Move (1989)
5. Evil at the Root (1990)
6. Booked for a Hanging (1992)
7. Murder Most Fowl (1994)
8. Winning Can Be Murder (1996)
9. Death By Accident (1998)
10. A Ghost of a Chance (2000)
Sheriff Dan Rhodes of Blacklin County, Texas, knows that times may change, but people are still people, some good, some bad and most things can be explained with a little common sense, even the ghost haunting his jail. Could it be the same ghostly culprit looting the local cemetery? When the president of the historical society is found shot dead in a freshly dug grave, Rhodes decides the crime is of a more earthly nature.