The Texas Capitol Murders features romance, murder, a Texas Ranger, a governor afraid of his own shadow, strident anti-abortionists, at least one pervert (depending on your personal definition of “pervert” there could be a couple more), and other unique human beings. In other words, the read easily could be nonfiction, but author Bill Crider is offering this read featuring a cast of characters as a fictional mystery. Originally published in 1992 by St. Martin’s Press, the book has recently been released again in an e-book version with a much better cover than the original. The setting of the late eighties may be twenty plus years old, but the story itself is not dated and could easily be happening right now considering how things work at the state capitol.


Nearly everyone involved in this story is trying to use their job at the state capitol to move up to better things. The usual worst point of the day for many is when “Wayne the Wagger” comes out in view of tourists and staff and the drug addicted homeless man does what comes naturally. That does not ever go over well and the usual response by capitol police is to kick him out of the building for the day.


While they may tolerate Wayne inside the building when he does his thing when he goes outside and decides to use one of the small cannons flanking the entrance – cannons that may or may not have been used in both the Texas Revolution and the Civil War – as a public urinal it gets him arrested. Too bad Wayne can’t remember witnessing the murder of a woman in the capitol building the night before because the police could really use his help. They don’t even yet know there is a dead woman in the building.


Shifting through a large cast of characters, Texas author Bill Crider weaves a story of romance, greed, lust and political agendas run amok. Likeable and respectable characters are few in this wild tale where idiots (certified and otherwise) abound. Far different than his Sheriff Rhodes series where Sheriff Dan Rhodes is the main focus while investigating the latest murder, here author Bill Crider puts a number of characters into motion and unleashes chaos as those involved randomly collide and ricochet off each other while going through their day to day activities.


Occasionally a little raunchy, sometimes sarcastic, The Texas Capitol Murders is an entertaining tale that is quirky and funny while delivering a top flight mystery to its fitting dangerous end at the top of the capitol dome. Like the floor below, nearly everyone is cracked in this story that is well worth your time.



The Texas Capital Murders

Bill Crider


March 2013

E-book (print length 266 pages)




With the print copy unavailable at my local library, the material was purchased via a gift card by this reviewer for use in an objective review.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2013

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