Sunday, 8 February 2015
TERRY SHAMES - DEAD BROKE IN JARRETT CREEK (2014)
Jarrett Creek is bankrupt. Gary Dellmore, heir apparent to the main bank, is dead, apparently murdered. Samuel Craddock thought he was retired but now he's been asked to return as police chief. Dellmore supposedly had a roving eye, although his wife says he was never serious about dallying. Still, Craddock wonders: Did the husbands and fathers of women he flirted with think he was harmless? What about his current lover, who insists that Dellmore was going to leave his wife for her?
Craddock discovers that Dellmore had a record of bad business investments. Even worse, he took a kickback from a loan he procured, which ultimately drove the town into bankruptcy. Many people had motive to want Dellmore dead.
Then the investigation turns up another crime. As Craddock digs down to the root of this mess, many in Jarrett Creek are left wondering what happened to the innocence of their close-knit community.
My third trip to Jarrett Creek, the fictional small town in East Texas created by author Terry Shames and another engaging outing with Samuel Craddock, our retired chief of police.
Craddock is likeable, capable and dependable - the obvious man to turn to when the town realises it can't afford a full-time police force in the wake of a revelation that most of the town's funds have been squandered in an abortive investment in a fancy water park. One of the bankers involved in investing the town's funds has been found murdered after a stormy meeting to discuss the bleak financial situation affecting the townsfolk.
Craddock, once again takes up the reins, temporarily leaving his sedentary life as part-time farmer and art lover behind him. With our banker involved in financial shenanigans as well as having a bit of a reputation as a lothario, Craddock has no shortage of possible suspects for Gary Dellmore's murder.
An interesting investigation follows, with Craddock, happy to involve his ailing predecessor in assisting him from his sick-bed - another indication of his all-round decency.
The resolution when it comes struck me as a bit out of left field. I hadn't really considered the culprit in my list of possibles and I have been thinking about how I feel on and off ever since.......did the author get sneaky, had I stopped paying attention, would I have preferred it if one of the more likely candidates had done the deed...... not sure. Probably I'm a bit annoyed at myself rather than Terry Shames.
Overall - another great if not entirely satisfying read.
4 from 5
A Killing in Cotton Hill and The Last Death of Jack Harbin have been read and enjoyed previously.
The next Craddock book - A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge awaits
Thanks to Seventh Street books for my copy.