Christmas has come and gone, but there is still a wedding coming. Sheriff Dan Rhodes is finally going to marry Ivy Daniel in just a few days. And he hasn’t even thought about where to take her for the honeymoon.


Of course, he has had other things on his mind. For one, he and just about everyone in the department as well in county government is being sued for a million dollars piece. A former inmate has gotten himself a hotshot lawyer and is claiming neglect and bad jailhouse conditions. The neglect charge is ridiculous. The jail is very old and not in the best of shape so the conditions allegation might have some merit before the right jury.  The lawsuit will stir up the politicians and Rhodes knows that as sheriff, he will be blamed no matter what he did.


The sheriff also gets blamed for all crime. Especially murder. Weird things have happened before at the Sunny Dale Nursing home, but nothing like this. Somebody stole Lloyd Bobbit’s false teeth. Sheriff Rhodes first clue that they were missing was when he met the man on the porch at the home who kept shrieking “ain’t got no teef” (p.1) Initially amusing the case quickly becomes deadly as Lloyd Bobbit is silenced once and for all.


This fifth novel in the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series released in hardback back in 1990 is another comfortable read. Rhodes, Ivy, Hank, Lawton and all the rest have become old friends and folks one looks forward to. The mysteries are always complex and not obvious and that certainly is the case here. The action and dialog are always realistic and then there are the traces of humor that bring a chuckle here and there.


Much like what Philip R. Craig did for the Vineyard, author Bill Crider has done for east Texas. There is that same straight story telling style with a cast of recurring characters that are as real as your family and plenty of mystery in each and every book. If you haven’t read his work, you are missing a real treat.


Evil At the Root: A Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mystery

Bill Crider

Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Press


ISBN# 0-312-04314-7


214 Pages


Review copy provided by the good folks of the Plano Public Library System in Plano, Texas.


Kevin R. Tipple © 2008


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