Book Review | “The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake” (Book No.5 of the Samuel Craddock Mysteries) by Terry Shames

Posted Monday, 12 February, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Borrowed Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction.

I was happily surprised finding “A Reckoning in the Backcountry” arriving by Post; as this is one title I hadn’t remembered requesting. I tried to back-track if I had requested it but never could sort out if this was one title the publisher felt I might enjoy as I read quite a few of their Mystery authors or if I simply had forgotten one of my requests. Either way, I decided to sort out which installment this was in the sequence – finding the series has five titles previously released. Unfortunately, my local library didn’t have a copy of any of them thereby giving me the chance to seek them through inter-library loan. As I pulled together the synopsis of each of the novels, I uncovered a pattern of interest threading through three of them which seemed to speak to the greater whole of the series: A Killing at Cotton Hill (Book One); Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek (Book Three) and The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake (Book Five). I knew I wouldn’t have time to borrow all five and felt by moving in and out of the sequential order with these three I could have a proper overview of the series before moving into the sixth release “A Reckoning in the Backcountry”.

I borrowed the fifth novel in the Samuel Craddock series “The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake” in trade paperback from my local library via inter-library loan through the consortium of libraries within my state. I was not obligated to post a review as I am doing so for my own edification as a reader who loves to share her readerly life. I was not compensated for my thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

on why i am loving reading #samuelcraddock mysteries:

 As I move through the series, I notice different things about Craddock’s character – how tenacious he is to solve crimes using clues which you could almost overlook as ‘clues’ (reminding me of why I love watching Det. Goren, Columbo and Due South‘s lovable Mountie Fraser) whilst he strives to keep his personal views at bay even if there are moments where he struggles with this balance. He also has a lot of compassion for the people involved as life is never cut and dry nor are the circumstances which put people into situations which can alter the course their lives will take. He’s the kind of Chief of police you truly feel empathy for whilst watching how he handles the cases and tries to seek the truth out of complicated crimes. In this way, he does remind me a heap of Jesse Stone who always led with his heart and strove to improve the lives of his community whilst realising sometimes his community will break his heart, too.

There is a truly poignant change of opinion about the previous Chief, the one who was giving Craddock the most angst in A Killing at Cotton Hill and the one where he felt might be a fair share too incompetent to do the work well whilst avoiding his addictive habit as anything more than a secondary interest when it was really overtaking his life. Now, as the tides have turnt against Rodell, Craddock sees how broken he is after he’s had time to address his health. In this, Craddock realises no man is an island – even those who have a harder walk to live and a major crisis of health to overcome have a point where the choices they made eventually catch up to them. The interesting bit is how Craddock reacted to a favour Rodell asked of him and how this proves the truer heart of Craddock of being a man for the people without having a prejudicial heart.

I *knew!* I loved Craddock – yet the way in which he realises a misguided youthful joyride was not befitting the start of a criminal life is what gives your heart a squeeze of joy! He sees people – just as they are and the potential for what they could be – he doesn’t judge out of hand nor does he quickly assess their reasons. He let’s the people he’s speaking to find a way to feel comfortable round him, giving them the chance to lead with something they might wish to impart to the Chief of police but without having to outright put them on the spot. He’s wicked good at his job but it’s how he’s trying to effect change even in subtle ways which makes him a keen role model for his small towne.

-quoted from my review of Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek

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Book Review | “The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake” (Book No.5 of the Samuel Craddock Mysteries) by Terry ShamesThe Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake
Subtitle: A Samuel Craddock Mystery
by Terry Shames
Source: Borrowed from local library (ILL)

Nonie Blake is back home from a mental institution where she has spent the last twenty years, and people are worried. Maybe too worried, for within a week of her return, Nonie is murdered.
Police Chief Samuel Craddock thinks the only possible suspects are members of her tight-lipped family. Ever since Nonie tried to kill her sister when she was fourteen and was sent away to the institution, the family has kept to itself.

Clues are scarce and Craddock is stumped. So he checks with therapists at the mental hospital to see whether they can add anything useful to his investigation. But he discovers that she has not been there for ten years. Now Craddock has to find out where Nonie has been all this time.

Soon Craddock finds himself dealing not only with murder, but layers of deception and secrets, and in the midst of it all—a new deputy, one Maria Trevino, sent by the sheriff to beef up security in the small town of Jarrett Creek.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781633881204

Also by this author: A Killing at Cotton Hill, Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek

Also in this series: A Killing at Cotton Hill, Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek


Genres: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 12th January, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 270

Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About Terry Shames

Terry Shames Photo Credit: Margaretta K. Mitchell

Terry Shames is the Macavity Award-winning author of the Samuel Craddock mysteries A Killing at Cotton Hill, The Last Death of Jack Harbin, Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek, and A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge. She is also the coeditor of Fire in the Hills, a book of stories, poems, and photographs about the 1991 Oakland Hills Fire. She grew up in Texas and continues to be fascinated by the convoluted loyalties and betrayals of the small town where her grandfather was the mayor. Terry is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Photo Credit: Margaretta K. Mitchell

The Samuel Craddock Mysteries:

Series Overview: The well-respected, retired police chief of a small Texas town is called upon to solve crimes that the current chief is unwilling or unable to solve.

An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock | Prequel | Synopsis

→ I hadn’t realised this series had a prequel when I first went to gather my ILLs from the library; therefore I missed getting the chance to read the prequel ahead of ‘Cotton Hill’.

A Killing at Cotton Hill | Book One (see also review)

The Last Death of Jack Harbin | Book Two | Synopsis

Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek | Book Three (see also review)

A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge | Book Four | Synopsis

The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake | Book Five

A Reckoning in the Backcountry | Book Six | Synopsis

Converse via: #SamuelCraddock + #Mysteries

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Posted Monday, 12 February, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Crime Fiction, Detective Fiction, Prometheus Books, Small Towne USA, Texas, Vulgarity in Literature

Book Review | “Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek” (Book No.3 of the Samuel Craddock Mysteries) by Terry Shames Otherwise known as the series Jorie is wicked thankful to have become introduced too! (thanks Prometheus!)

Posted Saturday, 10 February, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Borrowed Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction.

I was happily surprised finding “A Reckoning in the Backcountry” arriving by Post; as this is one title I hadn’t remembered requesting. I tried to back-track if I had requested it but never could sort out if this was one title the publisher felt I might enjoy as I read quite a few of their Mystery authors or if I simply had forgotten one of my requests. Either way, I decided to sort out which installment this was in the sequence – finding the series has five titles previously released. Unfortunately, my local library didn’t have a copy of any of them thereby giving me the chance to seek them through inter-library loan. As I pulled together the synopsis of each of the novels, I uncovered a pattern of interest threading through three of them which seemed to speak to the greater whole of the series: A Killing at Cotton Hill (Book One); Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek (Book Three) and The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake (Book Five). I knew I wouldn’t have time to borrow all five and felt by moving in and out of the sequential order with these three I could have a proper overview of the series before moving into the sixth release “A Reckoning in the Backcountry”.

I borrowed the third novel in the Samuel Craddock series “Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek” in trade paperback from my local library via inter-library loan through the consortium of libraries within my state. I was not obligated to post a review as I am doing so for my own edification as a reader who loves to share her readerly life. I was not compensated for my thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

on why i am loving reading #samuelcraddock mysteries:

Straight off the bat, I smiled realising how the series was meant to unfold – the quirky titles for the series are actually a homage to the setting – Cotton Hill, Jarrett Creek and Bobtail are actual ‘places’ within the series itself. I liked how she approached crafting the series together – it reminds me of why I love Southern Lit and being this is set in Texas it does have quite the Southern appeal to how it’s being conveyed. There is the laid-back feel of how time and hours are not generally clicking off the clock at high speed but rather, there are idle hours where a person can appreciate what their doing without feeling the pressure of a deadline. It is here we alight inside the #SamuelCraddock Mysteries – partially reminding me of how I felt when I saw my first Father Brown episode – as this is a small towne where everyone knows everyone else but with an unease about how the sense of safety and security can become shattered overnight by ominous events.

Ms Shames entreats us to pull close to her lead character, Craddock as he regales us with his knowledge and his ability to see past what others are overlooking. He has a keen mind and retirement hasn’t dulled his sense of justice. In this way, he is a winsome character as he’s just a bit unexpected (like Father Brown) but with a genuinely earnest nature to do right no matter what the cost; the kind of character you can rally behind simply because he takes the duties of his job seriously even if he’s not officially in the same capacity to investigate as he had been previously.

I liked how this story evolves forward at a slower pace – similar to the Marjorie Trumaine Mysteries I love so much – whilst recognising this, I can see why the publisher was inclined to think this would be a good match for me! Both authors share a joy of giving us nuanced information about their settings of choice – of tucking into the folds of ordinary days and the slow ache of shifting through the bits and bobbles of clues which cannot be coaxed out easily from whatever is left behind. Either in tangible evidence in the person’s residence or in the living memories of those who knew her best.

I can see I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next novel in sequence – I might even fancy borrowing the three novels I hadn’t been able to this year when the seventh novel releases! It will be my own quirky tradition of celebrating the series! For now, I’m wicked thankful I’ve had the proper chance to ‘meet’ Craddock and settle into his life! You truly do disappear into Jarrett County, walking beside him and watching how he puts all the pieces together. He’s an interesting character with an artistic hobby and an unwavering admiration for the wife he lost too soon. What makes him inspiring to read is how he refuses to give up living and finds new purpose in his retirement. I truly appreciated how Ms Shames wrote this series and how she’s giving us a new dramatic series to love reading!

-quoted from my review of A Killing at Cotton Hill

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Book Review | “Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek” (Book No.3 of the Samuel Craddock Mysteries) by Terry Shames Otherwise known as the series Jorie is wicked thankful to have become introduced too! (thanks Prometheus!)Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek
Subtitle: A Samuel Craddock Mystery
by Terry Shames
Source: Borrowed from local library (ILL)

The small town of Jarrett Creek is bankrupt. Samuel Craddock thought he was retired but now he’s been asked to return as police chief. Gary Dellmore, heir apparent to the main bank, is dead, apparently murdered. Dellmore supposedly had a roving eye, although his wife says he was never serious about dallying. Still, Craddock wonders: Did the husbands and fathers of women he flirted with think he was harmless? What about his current lover, who insists that Dellmore was going to leave his wife for her?

Craddock discovers that Dellmore had a record of bad business investments. Even worse, he took a kickback from a loan he procured, which ultimately drove the town into bankruptcy. Many people had motive to want Dellmore dead.

Then the investigation turns up another crime. As Craddock digs down to the root of this mess, many in Jarrett Creek are left wondering what happened to the innocence of their close-knit community.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781616149963

Also by this author: A Killing at Cotton Hill, The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake

Also in this series: A Killing at Cotton Hill, The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake


Genres: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 7th October, 2014

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 265

Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About Terry Shames

Terry Shames Photo Credit: Margaretta K. Mitchell

Terry Shames is the Macavity Award-winning author of the Samuel Craddock mysteries A Killing at Cotton Hill, The Last Death of Jack Harbin, Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek, and A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge. She is also the coeditor of Fire in the Hills, a book of stories, poems, and photographs about the 1991 Oakland Hills Fire. She grew up in Texas and continues to be fascinated by the convoluted loyalties and betrayals of the small town where her grandfather was the mayor. Terry is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Photo Credit: Margaretta K. Mitchell

The Samuel Craddock Mysteries:

Series Overview: The well-respected, retired police chief of a small Texas town is called upon to solve crimes that the current chief is unwilling or unable to solve.

An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock | Prequel | Synopsis

→ I hadn’t realised this series had a prequel when I first went to gather my ILLs from the library; therefore I missed getting the chance to read the prequel ahead of ‘Cotton Hill’.

A Killing at Cotton Hill | Book One (see also review)

The Last Death of Jack Harbin | Book Two | Synopsis

Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek | Book Three

A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge | Book Four | Synopsis

The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake | Book Five | Synopsis

A Reckoning in the Backcountry | Book Six | Synopsis

Converse via: #SamuelCraddock + #Mysteries

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Posted Saturday, 10 February, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Crime Fiction, Detective Fiction, Prometheus Books, Small Towne USA, Texas, Vulgarity in Literature

Author Guest Post | The author behind “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” explores the hidden meaning behind the title and talks about how it inter-relates to Natayla herself.

Posted Thursday, 8 February, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Author Guest Post Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

As you might recall, I happily read a novel in January which was set in Russia and captialised on a living person’s life – my latest in finding a compelling Biological Historical narrative which was so wickedly writ to the truth of the woman’s life as to make you feel you had walked a proper mile in her shoes. The author and I staid in touch after my review posted during her lovely blog tour – as I had hoped all along to feature her in a guest post talking about specific points of her story-line (the cross-references to today’s current events) and the curious hidden meanings (if any) behind the choice in ‘title’.

This lead to a wonderfully planned out essay which Ms Laam has written to be shared with all of you – I love how she talks to the purposeful meaning behind what is truly ‘lost’ and how the theme behind the title is played throughout the story, further revealling the homage seen in the title. Whilst I had observed whilst I was reading the novel, there are a lot of carry-overs into today’s society about the rights for women and the further need for our rights to be upheld in all instances (not just in the workplace). Natayla did not live in an age of freedom where she would have more choices than those which were availed to her and in many ways, her story does read like a tragic love story. I personally felt Natayla had been given a bad rap in History – as I sided with the author’s own reflections after I finished reading her rendition about her life.

Too often women in History are misunderstood or their motives are misconstrued in modern eras – in Natayla’s case, I don’t believe any historians had fully given her a chance to have her voice heard much less understood. When you read about what she was facing and what she was going through – your heart softens to her plight. You can definitely feel empathy for her and in the end, what is truly sad is how it all unfolds into such an emotionally charged ending. I am unsure if she’s a victim of the times or a victim of how sometimes you can become a victim of circumstances which are never fully resolved. In her case, love was not something without conditions placed against it and her life was never truly her own.

I hope you enjoy reading Ms Laam’s guest essay about “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” – perhaps inspiring you to pick up a copy of this dearly inspiring Historical narrative or if you’ve already read it – perhaps this will help clue you into things you’ve observed whilst you were reading it. Either way, be sure to brew yourself a cuppa and enjoy ruminating about what the author leaves behind to be pondered!

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Why I was interested in learning more about the hidden meaning behind this title:

There are so many keen moments of beautiful prose in this narrative – of observations on ordinary objects, to the traditions of holidays and the little touches of rooting us within the time-line of History, as Natayla steps further into the foreground of the story. The people she is interacting with are as viable as anything else being described because of the nature of how close certain circles were kept and maintained. It was fitting to find her in such company because her movements in social circles was evidence enough she would cross certain people’s path at some point or another. What lends such a gasp of awe for us who are reading about her for the first time is how her path started to intersect with so many well-known figures of her generation. A bit like the Fitzgeralds in the 1920s who curbed the market for knowing all the latest persons in literature, art, music and the creative arts.

It was not long for me to feel lost inside the world Ms Laam created within the pages of The Lost Season of Love and Snow; for this was a coming-of-age story which created it’s own niche out of what is known and unknown within the fables of history. As we dig further into the life of Natalya, we find a girl who is maturing into her own skin, of sorting out her emotions and of finding she does not fully ascribe to her mother’s sensible beliefs about marriage and life. Within these pages, you get to tuck close to her, watching her as she moves through the hours and attempts to forestall the influence of her sisters and brothers whilst owning to the fact, without being married she is still under her mother’s rules. This is partially what captured my attention most – as in so many ways this story reminded me why I love Little Women.

-quoted from my review of The Lost Season of Love and Snow

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Author Guest Post | The author behind “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” explores the hidden meaning behind the title and talks about how it inter-relates to Natayla herself.The Lost Season of Love and Snow
by Jennifer Laam

The unforgettable story of Alexander Pushkin’s beautiful wife, Natalya, a woman much admired at Court, and how she became reviled as the villain of St. Petersburg.

At the age of sixteen, Natalya Goncharova is stunningly beautiful and intellectually curious. But while she finds joy in French translations and a history of Russian poetry, her family is more concerned with her marriage prospects. It is only fitting that during the Christmas of 1828 at her first public ball in her hometown of Moscow she attracts the romantic attention of Russia’s most lauded rebel poet: Alexander Pushkin.

Enchanted at first sight, Natalya is already a devoted reader of Alexander’s serialized novel in verse, Evgeny Onegin. The most recently published chapter ends in a duel, and she is dying to learn what happens next. Finding herself deeply attracted to Alexander’s intensity and joie de vivre, Natalya hopes to see him again as soon as possible.

What follows is a courtship and later marriage full of equal parts passion and domestic bliss but also destructive jealousies. When vicious court gossip leads to Alexander dying from injuries earned defending his honor as well as Natalya’s in a duel, Natalya finds herself reviled for her alleged role in his death. With beautiful writing and understanding, Jennifer Laam, and her compelling new novel, The Lost Season of Love and Snow, help Natalya tell her side of the story—the story of her greatest love and her inner struggle to create a fulfilling life despite the dangerous intrigues of a glamorous imperial Court.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-250-12188-2

Also by this author: The Lost Season of Love and Snow

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Women's Studies


on 2nd January, 2018

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Posted Thursday, 8 February, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Alexander Pushkin, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Coming-Of Age, Creative Arts, Family Drama, Family Life, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, History, Inspired By Author OR Book, Life Shift, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Passionate Researcher, Russia, Russian History, Second Chance Love, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Women's Fiction, Women's Rights, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writer, Writing Style & Voice