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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cackling Good Time, September 20, 2010
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This review is from: Murder in the Air: A Dan Rhodes Mystery (Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mysteries) (Hardcover)
If you are like me, you always look forward to a trip to Blacklin County. One reason is that it reminds you so much of your home in East Texas. Another is that the characters and stories that emanate from the mind of Bill Crider are endearing, funny, and readable. And yet another trip to Clearview, the county's seat, brings another tear to your eye--whether from nostalgia, laughter or allergy, I'm not saying.

Dan Rhodes faces another intriguing case when the county's most despised man surfaces face down in a local fishing hole apparently drowned by accident. The problem is, the case is too easy to be closed this way, and something keeps niggling at Rhodes's brain. As it turns out the local chicken baron (Lester Hamilton, also known as the deceased) has met with fowl play (puns always intended in Blacklin County). The local character/fisherman Hal Gillis who found the body, also becomes one because he knows too much. And now Rhodes has two murders to solve--with the help, of course, of ace deputy Ruth Grady, comic relief Hack and Lawton at the jailhouse, and the Carl Burns imitator CP (Seepy) Benton who actually teaches math at the local college (instead of English as Burns does). And they do it all without an M-16 (go read the book).

Interesting notes on this installment of the Dan Rhodes mysteries is the reference to Nick Carter instead of the 87th Precinct boys at the hands funeral director Clyde Ballinger, and the pubisher's final decision for title of the book which seems less appropriate than the author's own choice, which you'll have to drag out of Bill.

Fans of serial murder mysteries will want to grab a copy of this one fast. And while you're reading you'll want to keep an eye opened for the references to nostalgic pop culture like Zero and Dr Pepper, and the book and movie titles and descriptions thrown in for good measure. Another five reading glasses, Bill. Keep them coming. (Of course if it's up to the publishers, then tell them I said so.)

--Benjamin Potter, September 20, 2010
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent police procedural, August 7, 2010
This review is from: Murder in the Air: A Dan Rhodes Mystery (Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mysteries) (Hardcover)
The residents of Blacklin County, Texas are outraged over the odious smell coming from Lester Hamilton's humongous chicken farm. The locals demand County Sheriff Dan Rhodes act now or face unemployment. He insists he has no authority as this is a matter of the state's Environmental Protection Agency, which everyone knows works for the protection of big business.

At a time he prefers to hide from two female authors who wrote novels starring heroic Sage Barton rumored to be him, he suddenly has a suspicious death to deal with when Hamilton is found dead near a popular fishing spot. Although the Sheriff believes it was an accident caused by "noodling," for large catfish with his hand as bait, he investigates anyway as he knows a lot of people are angry with the deceased. As Rhodes investigates the death, he deals with Robin Hood shooting arrows with notes attached to them and women scantily dressed in feathers protesting the fowl factory farm.

Filled with plenty of the trademark humor, the latest Crider police procedural (see Murder in Four Parts) is a wonderful zany Texas thriller. The story line is fast-paced and loaded with an eccentric cast who add to the zaniness of the plot. This is a fun detective tale in which there may not have been a crime beyond noodling.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, light hearted read, November 30, 2010
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This review is from: Murder in the Air: A Dan Rhodes Mystery (Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mysteries) (Hardcover)
This is the first and only book I've read in the Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mysteries. I'd like to read more in this series to become more familiar with the characters. I love reading about Sheriff Rhodes' pets - especially little Yancy. CUTE!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder most foul / fowl, in the seventeenth Dan Rhodes mystery, August 7, 2010
By 
Corinne H. Smith (Lancaster County, PA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Murder in the Air: A Dan Rhodes Mystery (Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mysteries) (Hardcover)
Once again we are permitted to step into Blackin County, Texas, and witness the activities of the sheriff's office. Dan Rhodes is pretty busy for a country, county sheriff. His investigations are unfortunately never quite as high-tech or as clear-cut as those depicted in contemporary TV shows, much to the chagrin of one county commissioner. Mikey Burns thinks the operation needs at least one M-16 to fend off foreign terrorists. In rural central Texas, which contains no real physical or human targets of importance? Sheriff Rhodes has the good sense to ignore the politician's request.

What he can't ignore are the real crimes going on in the Clearview area. As usual, they range from the truly tragic to the just-plain absurd. Lester Hamilton's body is found in a local lake. Did he drown as he was "noodling" for a catfish? Or was he out-and-out murdered? Many residents have complained about his huge, industrial chicken farm complex in the community of Mount Industry. Maybe someone decided to put an end to both Lester and the fowl odor coming from that neighborhood. At the same time, a modern-day Robin Hood has been shooting arrows at random targets around town. The quivers don't seem to mean any harm until they come into contact with one of the tires on Mikey Burns' sports car. Now Dan Rhodes has two crimes to solve, and anxious folks who want information fast. His wife Ivy acts as a sounding board, as always.

The episodes in Bill Crider's series are quick, easy, and fun to read. They blend interesting and serious murder mysteries with the quirkiness and humor of everyday life in a small town. This installment is a tad more thought-provoking, given its focus on factory farms and their impact on rural communities. "Murder in the Air" is recommended for any cozy mystery fan.

Readers who might be intrigued by the chicken farm scenario may want to then turn to "Twelve by Twelve" by William Powers, a nonfiction book that describes minimalist living in North Carolina. His house site lies near a real industrial chicken farm that employs immigrant Mexicans. Absorb that one before or after Bill Crider's latest novel, and you may never put chicken on your dinner plate again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars light-hearted mystery, September 25, 2010
This review is from: Murder in the Air: A Dan Rhodes Mystery (Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mysteries) (Hardcover)
The air quality in Blacklin County has taken a turn for the worse since Lester Hamilton industrialized his chicken farm, and the neighbors in nearby Clearwater are none too happy.

Their complaints seem to fall on deaf ears until someone takes matters into their own hands and Hamilton is found floating in Murdock's rock pit, the victim of foul play. By the time the second body is found you are whole-heartedly involved in piecing the pieces of the puzzle together.

Crider throws out enough red-herrings to keep you guessing in this light-hearted mystery that will often find you chortling as you scratch your head figuring out who dun it. Throw in a little romance, small town characters and one nosy newspaper reporter and this is a fun, fast read for one of those weekends when you just want to kick back and relax.

Murder in the Air: A Dan Rhodes Mystery (Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mysteries)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, March 12, 2014
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This is another nice cozy in the Rhodes series. This one involves the murder of the owner of a huge chicken farm. All thr locals hate him because the factory produces a very bad smell. His death plus that of the old man who found him bring in the usual cast and this time much about the young journalist and the fight between two professors at the small college nearby. The editor of the local paper tells Rhodes that in 10 years there won't be any more newspapers or books. I wonder if that's what the author believes. As an Ebook reader this statement interested me. There's also quite a bit on the fish sport of noodling in which a huge catfish nearly finishes off Rhodes who is the only sherrif in Texas who doesn't wear a hat. I enjoy this series very much.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just a fun fun read., November 16, 2013
This book and I feel sure the other"Rhoades" books are just p lain fun and written for no other purpose. The author must have had a ball writing these. Most pleasurable!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another solid entry, August 4, 2010
This review is from: Murder in the Air: A Dan Rhodes Mystery (Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mysteries) (Hardcover)
Sheriff Dan Rhodes always gets his man, alligator, or hog, depending on what's running loose in the tiny east Texas town of Clearview. He is ineptly aided by two aging deputies who like vexing the boss by telling stories slower than molasses crawling uphill. This time out, Lester Hamilton, the most hated man in Blacklin County, is found facedown in a local pond, the apparent victim of drowning by noodling, the illegal practice of catching big catfish by allowing them to swallow a hand so the angler can pull the fish out from under a rock. Rhodes, however, isn't convinced that Hamilton's death is an accident.
Local residents are furious over Hamilton's large chicken farm and the stink that hovers over the county like a fog. Anybody could have killed him. Once again, Crider offers up a good yarn with his trademark laid back humor.
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