The Necessary Murder Of Nonie Blake is the latest in the Samuel Craddock Mystery Series by Terry Shames. As the title makes clear Nonie Blake had to die. Why and who did it are the main questions that drive much of this book from start to finish.

Winona Blake, or Nonie, is legendary in Jarrett Creek, Texas and nearby areas. It has been twenty years since she left town and eventually wound up in a mental institution far to the north up near Dallas. When she was 14 all those years ago she tried to kill her younger sister. It wasn’t horseplay as she meant for her sister to hang until dead. If it hadn’t been for the quick action of her brother Charlotte Blake would have died that day.

Instead, it is Charlotte Blake, who calls Chief of Police Samuel Craddock to report the latest family tragedy. Her sister drowned in the stock pond behind their house.  The home of the reclusive Blake family located a few miles down a gravel road out past the cemetery on the north side of town is about to be a very active crime scene. When Craddock gets out there it is very evident to him that the main cause of Nonie’s death is certainly not drowning.  She took a significant blow to the head that also crushed her cheek and broke her jaw. The force that was used far exceeds what she could have generated by a simple fall against a tree or the ground before sliding into the water. This was not an accidental drowning by any means. Figuring out who did it and why are the primary points of an investigation that leads Samuel Craddock on a trail of secrets going back decades.

While that is the main plot there are secondary plots building off previous events and ongoing characters/situations in this highly entertaining series. Along with that, author Terry Shames had added a new character in the form of a female deputy, Marie Trevino, sent in by the state to assist as Samuel Craddock sees fit. She has her own way of doing things and that attitude is going to push Craddock to up his game.

The Necessary Murder Of Nonie Blake features yet another engrossing and complicated mystery in this long running cozy style mystery series. Macavity Award Winner for Best First Mystery author Terry Shames continues to deliver in each successive installment of the series much like what Texas author Bill Crider (prominently mentioned on the book cover) has done in his Sheriff Dan Rhodes Series, Terry Shames has created a sense of family with these characters. It doesn’t take a reader long to feel like he has known Samuel, Lorretta, and numerous others for years once one starts reading the books.

A Killing At Cotton Hill started everything off. Five books later, The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake keeps a great series rolling forward at a great pace.

The Necessary Murder Of Nonie Blake: A Samuel Craddock Mystery
Terry Shames
Seventh Street Books
ISBN# 978-1-63388-120-4
Paperback (also available in eBook format)
258 Pages

Material supplied by the publisher in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2016

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