cover image Murder Most Fowl

Murder Most Fowl

Bill Crider. St. Martin's Press, $18.95 (200pp) ISBN 978-0-312-11387-2

Down-home Texas policeman Dan Rhodes, the sheriff of Blacklin County who was last seen in Booked for a Hanging, finds a corpse in a bullet-riddled portable toilet floating down river. The congregation assembled on the riverbank for a baptism is disturbed; the three young drunks discovered shooting at the toilet claim not to have known anyone was inside. The victim, a former hardware-store owner who had recently chained himself to the local Wal-Mart to protest the discount store's competitive edge, has an illegal cockfighting tool in his pocket. Then the dead man's widow is killed. The inhabitants of Blacklin, including Dan's shiftless deputies who are most interested in watching TV soaps and Oprah, have lots of generally bad advice for their sheriff, who has two murders to solve, two emus to find and a secret cockfighting ring to break up-all on a diet of health food prescribed by his concerned lady friend. Crider's humor is the warm kind, and his cast amiably eccentric. If his plot isn't entirely gripping, at least the image of the silver Sani-can gently bobbing in the water will linger in the reader's imagination. (Sept.)