Murder of a Beauty Shop Queen: Author’s Perspective

Guest Author: Bill Crider

Writers find their subjects in odd places. I found mine in a small East Texas county with several small towns, the largest of which has seen its downtown become almost deserted over the course of the years as all the businesses move out to the highway to be near the local Wal-Mart. I’ve been writing about Blacklin County and the town of Clearview for nearly thirty years now, and I continue to find its citizens and its stories compelling.

 One of the few business establishments operating near the old downtown is the Beauty Shack, which is not just a place to get a haircut or some coloring. It’s also a place where there’s plenty of gossip, and in this case a lot of the gossip happens to be about a young woman named Lynn Ashton, who was one of the beauty operators. “Was” is the operative word, because someone has bashed Lynn in the head with a hair dryer and killed her. As it happens, Lynn was quite attractive and had made any number of conquests among the men of the town. Quite a few of them become suspects in her murder, including the mayor.

Sheriff Dan Rhodes has investigated a lot of crimes in his time in office, and some of them have involved city or county officials. Not a single one of them has appreciated being a murder suspect, and one of them was even convicted. The mayor is determined that he won’t be the second. He gives Rhodes a bad time, and doesn’t do a thing to help with the investigation other than to protest his innocence.

If investigating a murder were all Rhodes had to do, his job would be a lot easier. However, even in a small town there are plenty of other crimes to deal with. They aren’t as vicious as murder, but they’re all part enforcing the law. There are copper thieves, for one thing, and possibly crooked junk dealers who buy from them. And someone is stealing car batteries, too, not to mention the occasional catalytic converter. To top it off, a pregnant nanny goat is terrorizing the town.

Rhodes has a small department, but he’s sometimes helped (or hindered) by Dr. C. P. (Seepy) Benton, an amateur sleuth and college math professor whose idea of a good time is to sing songs about mathematics. Benton fancies himself a crime-buster of the first order, and occasionally does come up with a good idea, much to the sheriff’s surprise. This time, however, it’s not Benton but good old-fashioned investigation that leads Rhodes to the killer, someone no one in town would ever have thought capable of the crime.

Some writers look to put across a message to their readers. Some want to make people ponder life and the universe. And some want mostly to entertain. I’m in the latter group. I want people to read my books and get a smile, to recognize people they might know, and to think a little about the things we do to each other and the way life is in a small town. If I can accomplish that, I’ve done my job.

 Browse the book ” Murder of a Beauty Shop Queenat

 

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Author Bio:    

Bill Crider is the author of more than fifty published novels and numerous short stories. He won the Anthony Award for best first mystery novel in 1987 for Too Late to Die and was nominated for the Shamus Award for best first private-eye novel for Dead on the Island. He and his wife, Judy, won the best short story Anthony in 2002 for their story “Chocolate Moose.”  His story “Cranked” was nominated for the Edgar award for best short story.  Check out his homepage at http://www.billcrider.com/ ,or take a look at his peculiar blog at http://billcrider.blogspot.in/. Connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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