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.
Praise for prior Samuel Craddock mysteries:
"The lead's folksy tone belies astute detecting, and the plotting will dazzle readers." -Library Journal STARRED REVIEW
"A gritty take on small-town crime." -Booklist
"An amazing read. The poetic, literary quality of the writing draws you into a small town and its interesting, secret-carrying residents." -RT Book Reviews
"Shames has come up with a sleuth for the long haul." -Toronto Star
"Following up on her stellar debut, Shames proves that she isn't a one-hit wonder. . . . [Her] grizzled, world-weary Craddock is a nuanced and artfully drawn character who embodies the positive values of small-town Texas as he gets deeper into a multilayered story of trust and betrayal. Jarrett Creek is much more than a backdrop--it's a complex character in the story. Samuel Craddock is a hero worth rooting for. . . . Highly recommended."
--Sheldon Siegel, New York Times-bestselling author (on The Last Death of Jack Harbin)
"Terry Shames does small-town Texas crime right, and A Killing at Cotton Hill is the real thing. It has humor, insight, and fine characters. Former chief of police Samuel Craddock is a man readers are going to love, and they'll want to visit him and Jarrett Creek, Texas, often."
--Bill Crider, author of Compound Murder, A Dan Rhodes Mystery (on A Killing at Cotton Hill)