Wednesday, September 10, 2014

CURSED TO DEATH by Bill Crider

I needed a break.

Just a couple books ago, I had read one frenetic book where every scene ratcheted up the action and one meandering book where the murder only surfaced near the end. 

And I had another book like that in the chute.

I needed something like I used to read years ago, a clearly-written story with interesting characters. Humor along the way wouldn’t hurt either.

Bill Crider’s Cursed to Death (1988) filled the bill.

A local dentist disappears. Blacklin County, Texas, Sheriff Dan Rhodes suspects foul play.

The dentist owned rental houses. Previously, the dentist called Rhodes to his dental office when an in-arrears tenant cursed the dentist, pronounced a hex on him. The hex was just that the dentist’s teeth would fall out, not that he would be murdered.

But the dentist disappeared. Not long after, someone murdered the dentist’s wife.

Along the way, Rhodes deals with other small town problems, things like a food fight in nursing home because two residents rebel. They want to marry and live in the same room. The straight-laced manager refuses to let it happen.

Rhodes sees no problem with the man and woman marrying and living together. They are both competent adults. Besides, Rhodes, himself a widower, has fallen in love. He is all for love and marriage, but he struggles with whether or not to buy his girlfriend a Christmas present. (I kid you not about this!)

Crider fills the book with small town characters. It didn’t occur to me until near the end, how Crider had set me up for the conclusion.

Along the way, Rhodes deals with what would have been the mortal sin in rural Texas towns in 1988. To top things off, Rhodes has to listen to the two old (I want to say old farts, but you don’t use that kind of language in blogs) the two old deputies whose long-winded police reports bore him to death.

Rhodes finds the perfect way to get back at the two men.

This book was what I needed. Cursed to Death was a story in the old fashioned sense, simply-told and interesting.


Bill Crider said...

Glad you liked it, Joe.

Joe Barone said...

Bill, It was a fun book.

George said...

You can't go wrong with a Bill Crider mystery. Nice review!

Joe Barone said...

Thanks, George.