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Cricket in the Web: The 1949 Unsolved Murder that Unraveled Politics in New Mexico Paperback – March 16, 2009
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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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There is a good story here - corruption, abuse of power, assorted biases and human failure. Unfortunately, the author did not write that story. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Ellen Loehman
Very detailed book. really makes you feel like your there.Published 5 months ago by Richard Sanchez
I was born in Las Cruces in 1951 and remember several of the people and places in the book. It's a part of History that I knew nothing about, but knew some of the underlying... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Lori
A well written true story of political corruption during the 1940' and 1950's in Las Cruces, New Mexico that names "names." Backed by extensive research.Published 19 months ago by Valste
very interesting story, I either new or heard about some of the people in the book
Las Cruces is 45 miles from El Paso and it is very exact on streets names. Read more
It is somewhat tedious reading at times I gave the four star rating because it is well researched and objectively presented.Published on November 5, 2013 by Shirley Epir
This was an event in New Mexico history that I had never heard of! And, I grew up there. I knew of Happy Apodoca as a judge during my post teen years, and had heard of his... Read morePublished on July 16, 2013 by Debbie