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Cricket in the Web: The 1949 Unsolved Murder that Unraveled Politics in New Mexico Paperback


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Cricket in the Web: The 1949 Unsolved Murder that Unraveled Politics in New Mexico + Murder on the White Sands: The Disappearance of Albert and Henry Fountain (A.C. Greene Series)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 215 pages
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press (March 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826343422
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826343420
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #733,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

After exhaustive research, Paula Moore provides the first objective account of the 1949 murder of "Cricket" Coogler--a case that shook New Mexico politics.

About the Author

Paula Moore is the former executive assistant to the president of New Mexico State University. She is coauthor of One Man's Word: A Seven Decade Personal History.

More About the Author

Paula Moore, a New Mexico native, retired from the position of Executive Assistant to the President at New Mexico State University. Her book, Cricket in the Web: The 1949 Unsolved Murder That Unraveled New Mexico Politics, won four awards: The Dona Ana County Historical Society 2009, the New Mexico Historical Society 2009, New Mexico Press Women 2009, and Friends of Branigan Library Author Award 2009. Her newest book, Matinee and Evening: Abby Lewis and John Seymour, is slated for release in 2013 (E-version) and 2014 (print version)by Brighton Publishing. She began in poetry and fiction but discovered an easy obsession with the true experiences of people, especially if they are great storytellers.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Carol Sandoval on October 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Book provides well researched information that state and national politicians and law enforcement officials were likely involved in the murder of a young girl. Those not directly involved probably knew what happened and chose to keep the information secret. It is true that knowing the Las Cruces, New Mexico area probably enhances one's interest in this book. However, the author provides maps and timelines and separate information on those involved which will make the book understandable to those who are true crime fans and lack knowledge of the area. The information about corruption in New Mexico in the late 1940's and 1950's is horrifying but I guess only different in details from what we have discovered has gone on in our country in more recent times. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joseph R. Calamia on October 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Cricket" In The Web", by Paula Moore is a tale of murder, corruption, and tragedy.
The story relates to high-profile murder case that occurred in 1949 in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

The victim, Ovida "Cricket" Coogler ultimately became as famous (or infamous); to New Mexico History as the "Frohm" murder case of Sierra Blanca, Texas (1938?), or more specifically, California's "Black Dahlia Murder" of 1947. Ms. Coogler ("Cricket") appeared to have much of the same "free-spirited" persona as that of Elizabeth Short (Black Dahlia).

Caught in a tragic web of political and criminal strands, she quickly became a "plaything" for the toxic world of illegal gambling, white-collar crime, and political corruption. Obviously, she placed her self in a precarious position that held too many secrets...dangerous secrets.

The author indicates that Dona Ana County (encompassing Las Cruces) in 1949 had an amazing record of violent death every month. However, she does not elaborate to the gender of other victims, and if, "Cricket" was "E-Pluribus Unum" (One of many). In my opinion, Las Cruces (per capita), still has a very high violent crime rate.

The 1949 murder made national news. The investigative net was cast upon the dark waters of a corrupted sea and upon it's return snared no less than 16 "persons of interest" including the Sheriff, Sheriff deputies, State Police Officials, and high ranking Politico's from Santa Fe. One of the most interesting subjects who eventually went to trial for the murder (but was acquitted), was the professional football player, Jerry Nuzum of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

However, any investigation run by "tarnished badges" and backed by Draconian politicians with illicit funding simply makes for poor results.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Adipocere on August 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A must-read for anyone from New Mexico.

Even if you're not from the area, if you liked reading about other unsolved murders such as California's Black Dahlia case, you'll enjoy this one too.

Note: After you read this book make sure to seek out the book "Murder Near the Crosses" by Peter Sandman for a possible (maybe probable) solution to the crime. Sandman wrote his book based on notes from his father--one of the law enforcement officers in the case who died under mysterious circumstances. Paula Moore's book is a great starter for the detail it provides, and Sandman's book provides the name of the killer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kaye Jordan on November 24, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was reviewed at a book club meeting I attended. I was stunned that I recognized the names of so many players in the story and felt I had to read it. Other than the obvious, Joe Montoya, Dennis Chavez, and Ed Metchem, I don't know why I recognized so many other names, like Happy Apodoca and Tuffy Tafoya. I was a very little girl living in Albuquerque when the event took place. I found the book to be very interesting, but very speculative. As I read, I questioned if an actual picture was being made of Cricket and her family. Afterall, she was allowed to [quit school?] go to work, get drunk regularly and have sexual encounters with men from the time she was 14. I didn't see how the case "unraveled politics" in New Mexico. The book says that the Democrats in power made frequent, very long drives from Santa Fe to "party" in Las Cruces. There probably was illegal gambling going on there at the time, but I would guess elsewhere in the state as well. When I was an early teen (and on), my parents became very active in politics and the Democratic Party. I could not imagine that, although some of those politicans in 1949 may have gone to bed with Cricket, what "secrets" they may have shared with her that would lead to her murder.

My parents are now 92 and 93 years old. I asked if they remembered this case. My mother did because she said that was all that was in papers at the time. She also said that she and my father went to Clovis High School with Jerry Nuzum and remembered how he was accused. At the time of the incident, my father drove a Trailways bus and often had runs to Las Cruces and El Paso. He said he didn't know of any illegal gambling, but said he did know Cricket Coogler because he ate lunch in the cafe where she worked.
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