Review: A Texas cop solves a woman’s murder with a secret.

“Murder at the Jubilee Rally” by Terry Shames (Severn House)

Samuel Craddock, the friendly police chief of mythical Jarrett Creek, Texas, is good at his job, but he has a lot to deal with in “Murder at the Jubilee Rally,” Terry Shames’ ninth novel in this game-changing mystery series. the gender.

For starters, the annual week-long Jubilee Motorcycle Rally is about to open on the outskirts of town to the delight of the local merchants who profit from it and to the dismay of other townspeople who hate the fuss. that it entails

This isn’t the best time for Craddock to take care of his 16-year-old great-niece, Hailey, a sweet girl who’s suddenly transformed into a terror with a taste for booze and an older, age-inappropriate boyfriend. However, she does so because her parents, exhausted and distraught, need a break.

The novel begins at a contentious town meeting, with half the town demanding that motorcycles be banned during the rally, and the other half complaining that their neighbors are trying to put them out of business. Ever the peacemaker, Craddock settles things by having both sides agree to an 8:00 pm closing time for Jarrett Creek business establishments until the rally disperses.

However, things immediately go awry when Amber Johnson, a store owner who has been the breadwinner for her family since her husband was crippled in a motorcycle accident, is stabbed to death on the first night of the rally.

Then, Craddock has to deal with a devious and hot-headed teenager while conducting a murder investigation. Fortunately, in the first case he receives help from his girlfriend and in the second from María Treviño, the best investigator in his small department. With his combination of common sense and skill as a police officer, he finally manages to bring both of them to a successful conclusion.

The author’s folksy prose and the small-town ways of Jarrett Creek—Craddock’s gossipy neighbor Loretta brings him fresh-baked goodies every morning—give the novel a cozy feel. However, local problems ranging from drug abuse to prostitution, and the hero’s talent for conducting an investigation, give the novel the feel of a modern police procedural.

Despite a series of mistakes, Craddock solves the case when he discovers that the victim has led a double life that led to her death. The result is another entertaining novel in a critically acclaimed series that has been nominated for a number of awards and won the Macavity Award.


Bruce DeSilva, winner of the Edgar Award for Mystery Writers of America, is the author of the Mulligan crime novels, including “The Dread Line.”

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