cover image Murder at the Jubilee Rally

Murder at the Jubilee Rally

Terry Shames. Severn, $29.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4483-0934-4

The stabbing murder of convenience store owner Amber Johnson on the opening night of the annual Jarrett Creek, Tex., motorcycle rally drives Shames’s entertaining ninth Samuel Craddock mystery (after 2019’s A Risky Undertaking for Loretta Singletary). Amber had a heated argument with Lily Deverell at a city council meeting only a few days earlier because Lily wanted to cancel the rally, but Craddock, the town’s police chief, soon comes to suspect other factors were involved. If, for example, Amber’s family was financially hard up, where did she get the $200 found in her purse when she died? What was she doing in the RV of shady lawyer and suspected drug dealer Grant Butler? And who was the man with whom Amber was seen walking on the night of her murder? The police chief’s methodical weighing of the evidence eventually leads to a well-crafted solution. Craddock’s understated first-person narration, the vivid secondary characters, and a nicely drawn small-town setting more than compensate for a plot that offers little in the way of action or suspense. This entry should win Shames new fans. Agent: Kimberley Cameron, Kimberley Cameron & Assoc. (Oct.)