Thursday, August 30, 2012

"Murder of a Beauty Shop Queen"

Bill Crider's new novel, Murder of a Beauty Shop Queen, is his 19th Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mystery.

He applied the Page 69 Test to the book and reported the following:
I hoped that when I opened Murder of a Beauty Shop Queen to page 69, there’d be an explosion, or maybe a gunfight between Sheriff Dan Rhodes and some super villain come to destroy the earth.

That didn’t turn out to be the case, however. Instead I see that Sheriff Rhodes is in the middle of a conversation with Mikey Burns, one of the county commissioners. Burns is a man given to wearing loud Hawaiian shirts, and he drives a red Pontiac Solstice convertible. He’s also been involved with the murder victim, a young woman about town who had worked in the Beauty Shack until her sad demise.

It’s an awkward situation for Rhodes, since Burns is supposedly dating his secretary, a certain Mrs. Wilkie, who once had designs on Rhodes. She won’t be happy if she knows Burns is sneaking around on her. What if she’s the one who did in the beauty shop queen?

It’s also awkward since the county commissioners are technically Rhodes’s bosses, and things become even more awkward when Rhodes discovers that a different suspect in the murder is the mayor of Clearview, who’s another of the people to whom the sheriff’s department has to answer.

Naturally I hope that this little conversation with Commissioner Burns will make readers wonder about whether he’s really involved in the murder. Or if Mrs. Wilkie is. The browsers might think that since Burns is clearly a continuing character in the series that he’s surely not guilty. But if they think that, [SPOILER ALERT] they don’t remember an earlier book, the details of which I’d better not get into right here. [END OF SPOILER ALERT].

I’d like to think that some of the snappy patter on page 69 would catch a browser’s attention, and I’d also like to think it would cause someone to take more than a casual interest in the rest of the book. Next time I write a book, though, I’m going to make sure there’s an explosion on page 69. Either that or a gunfight.
Learn more about the book and author at Bill Crider's website and blog.

Read the Page 69 Test entries for Crider's A Mammoth Murder, Murder Among the OWLS, Of All Sad Words, Murder in Four Parts, Murder in the Air, and The Wild Hog Murders.

Writers Read: Bill Crider.

--Marshal Zeringue