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Bill Crider, HALF IN LOVE WITH ARTFUL DEATH

Most writers and editors will tell you that in order to have a good detective series you must have three things:  an interesting protagonist, a memorable setting, and a good plot.  All three of these are present in Crider’s Dan Rhodes mysteries.  Rhodes is sheriff of a county in west Texas and his normal duties include a variety of crimes from dealing with animal complaints to solving murders.  This book, the twenty-first in the series, is no different.  The problems Dan must deal with in the course of this book range from corralling runaway donkeys, to taking down a meth lab, to solving the murder of a man who was unpopular and didn’t like art.

As in all the books in the series that I have read, there is lots of humor in this book and a good sense of what the day-to-day life of a sheriff must be like.  The mystery is also satisfyingly complex with a credible conclusion.  I am always surprised at how Rhodes avoids using any more violence that is absolutely necessary, even when his own safety is threatened.  He serves as an example of good policing.  This is a book you should take a look at, as are all the others in this series.

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