Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

A Killing at Cotton Hill by Terry Shames

A Killing at Cotton Hill

by Terry Shames

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
488242,697 (4.24)5



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 5 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
And here is how it begins. Earlier this year I read the latest book in the series and really liked it so I backtracked to the first one.

Meet Samuel Craddock - ex-sheriff, ex-oilman, ex-husband. These days he is taking care of his cows (one of which managed to really wreck his knee awhile back) and his art collection. His wife had taught him and he had amassed a pretty good collection - and acquired a taste for it. Being a widower in a small Texas town (Jarrett Creek) means that most of the unattached women close to his age are trying to convince him that he needs a second marriage. By the time the novel opens, he had managed to convince them that just being friends is better. It is important as the women are an important part of the series - as helpers, as emergency feeders, as just being there to pick up the pieces when things go wrong or just to talk.

And then one of his friends, Dora Lee, is killed. Her live-in grandson, an artist who seems to have real talent, is considered a person of interest immediately. And her family comes back in town - a daughter that she had not talked with for years, a brother in law that is more concerned about money than people and his son. Dora Lee called Craddock the night before she was murdered to tell him about someone that seems to be watching her - and he had brushed her off. Which makes him feel responsible. The fact that the local sheriff is more interested in drinking than in policing does not help much. Or that he is ready to go for the first possible theory and just call it a day.

So when the grandson is detained, Craddock arranges for a lawyer for him and decides to look into it. Secrets start emerging - some of the old, some of them new. For such a small town, there is a lot of secrets.

It is a calm mystery - between the small town and Craddock, it sound old-fashioned. In a good way. All the characters have a lot more depth to them than you would expect from a mystery that starts a series - and Craddock is a very interesting character. ( )
1 vote AnnieMod | Mar 31, 2016 |
Shames, Terry. A Killing at Cotton Hill. Seventh Street Books. Jul. 2013. 231p. ebk. ISBN 9781616147990. $15.95. MYSTERY. In the first of four Samuel Craddock mysteries set in rural east Texas, retired police chief Samuel Craddock is startled out of his quiet life when his friend Dora Lee is found stabbed to death in her home. Knowing that the present sheriff “wouldn’t know how to investigate his way out of an outhouse with two doors,” and feeling guilty for not taking Dora Lee’s fears seriously, Samuel sets out to find the killer. As his investigation progresses, Dora Lee’s potential enemies – her aloof and damaged daughter, greedy relatives, and unscrupulous neighbors– come under the scrutiny of Samuel’s highly tuned moral sense. Shames’s original language paints an accurate picture of small-town Texas life and prevents her villains from becoming stereotypes. In Samuel Craddock, Shames presents a feisty Texan with a wry sense of humor who loves justice as much as he loves fine paintings, and who goes those extra miles to help a friend. This straightforward mystery will appeal to readers who appreciate authentic regional language narrated by a down-to-earth hero. Winner of the Macavity Award for Best First Novel of 2014. (Annotation by Maggie Eesley) ( )
  eesleymaggie | Dec 5, 2015 |
I was recommended this series by a friend, so I picked it up. Samuel Craddock is a character that I'd like to read more I think. This is the first book in the series. Samuel is a retired small town Texas sheriff who is drawn into solving a murder when one of his oldest friends is found murdered in her home. The current sheriff in Jarrett Creek leaves a lot to be desired. He's a drunk who doesn't want to work and he always looks for the easiest solutions when trying to deal with a crime. Samuel knows that it's up to him to find out what happened to Dora Lee and why. Samuel is a down-to-earth protagonist who knows his area and the people in it very well. He is at loose ends when this book begins after recently losing his beloved wife to cancer. I love the rural setting and I love the small town residents that will be secondary characters in future books, I'm sure. ( )
  Romonko | Nov 28, 2015 |
I don't remember who recommended this series, it might have been on DorothyL or the great reviewer Lesa Holstine, and I'm very happy that it came to my attention. This is a wonderful "first in a series". Samuel Craddock is a retired sheriff, a widower and someone who takes his friends and family seriously. When a close friend is found dead, Samuel can't help but get involved. For one thing, he really dislikes the current sheriff, a drunk who does no investigating but takes the easy way out, arrest the grandson and be done with it.

There are several great story lines running through this book. The loss of Samuel's beloved wife, the art work they both loved and collected, the life in a small town and the friendship of long time friends.

I guessed the killer pretty early but there were enough other suspects to make me question that, which makes for a good mystery. If you haven't read this yet, give it a try, I plan on moving on to the next in the series, very soon. ( )
  bookswoman | Apr 26, 2015 |

The chief of police of Jarrett Creek, Texas, doubles as the town drunk. So when Dora Lee Parjeter is murdered, her old friend and former police chief Samuel Craddock steps in. He discovers that a lot of people had it in for Dora Lee. The conniving rascals on the farm next door want her land for nefarious purposes; her estranged daughter could be seeking vengeance; her grandson wants money for art school; and then there's that stranger Dora Lee claimed was spying on her. Does Craddock still have what it takes to find the killer? In this debut novel, the strong, compelling voice of Samuel Craddock illuminates the grandeur and loneliness of the central Texas landscape and reveals the human foibles of the residents in a small Texas town-their pettiness and generosity, their secret vices and true virtues.

I was browsing the internet about 5 or 6 weeks ago, hitting links to my usual crime fiction haunts and from there jumping to other sites, when I chanced upon a review of this as yet unreleased offering from Terry Shames. It’s a debut mystery from the author who grew up in Texas, but currently resides in Northern California. On the assumption that if you don’t ask you don’t get, I shamelessly requested a review copy; lo and behold a couple of weeks later a copy turned up.

As my reading over the past week or so, has hit a bit of a slump, I was hopeful that this small town mystery would ease some of the current gloom and get me out of my funk. Well, I’m happy to report it did this and more.

Jarrett Creek is a small Texas town where everybody seems to know everybody else. Samuel Craddock, widower and retired police chief is shocked by the murder of his friend, Dora Lee Parjeter. As well as shock, Samuel feels some responsibility as Dora Lee had been on the phone to him the night before worrying that there was a strange vehicle up the road from her farm and she felt vulnerable. Craddock had tried to placate his friend and brushed off her concerns.

When Craddock visits the scene of the crime, he exchanges a few words with the attending police officers before sneaking in to the scene of the crime. Dora’s artist grandson, Greg who had been staying with Dora in a shed-cum-artist studio located on her premises speaks with Samuel before being arrested by the police. Craddock’s successor Roddell believes he has the man responsible for the murder and Samuel convinced that Greg’s guilt is a little too convenient decides to get involved.

Craddock enlists the aid of Jenny Sandstone, lawyer and neighbour to spring Greg from jail. After speaking with the grandson at length and confirming his own beliefs that Greg isn’t responsible, but will be railroaded by Roddell. Craddock feels Dora Lee’s murder could be connected to the fears she expressed to him the previous evening and the stranger she felt was spying on her. Roddell’s incompetence and fondness of a drink to the detriment of his police duties is a further spur for Samuel to dig.

As Craddock’s inquiries continue, he crosses paths with her estranged daughter and extended family exploring the possibility that the murder could be related to the inheritance of Dora Lee’s estate and a potential land deal for a racetrack. With his investigation starting to ruffle a few feathers, Samuel falls victim to an arson attack on his property. Undeterred, our trusted ex-police chief doggedly pursues his enquiries to a satisfying conclusion.

Interesting and extremely enjoyable, in my opinion Terry Shames has crafted a wonderful piece of mystery fiction. In Samuel Craddock she has created an honest, likeable and intelligent character. Craddock is a widower and the depiction of his continued affection for his departed wife, Jenny and his on-going loyalty to her memory in how he conducts himself is heart-warming. Craddock decent, steady and blessed with humanity is someone I very much want to read more about in future.

Second to Craddock’s starring role is Shames’ portrayal of a small town in Texas which is totally convincing and believable. The supporting cast of grandson, daughter, friends, foes and assorted others are equally well developed and rounded, if perhaps slightly less interesting than Craddock.

My favourite book of the month so far and there’s no hesitation in giving it a 5 from 5. Hopefully it's blown away my reading blues!

As mentioned above I cadged a copy from the author. My thanks are due to both her and her publicist, Meghan. I believe the book is due for release 16th July. Check it out!

( )
1 vote col2910 | Apr 17, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

"The chief of police of Jarrett Creek, Texas, doubles as the town drunk. So when Dora Lee Parjeter is murdered, her old friend and former police chief Samuel Craddock steps in. He discovers that a lot of people had it in for Dora Lee. Will Craddock have what it takes to find the killer?"--… (more)

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
14 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (4.24)
3 1
4 12
4.5 1
5 5

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 117,123,721 books! | Top bar: Always visible