The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake

A Samuel Craddock Mystery

Terry Shames
  • 270 pp
  • ISBN 978-1-63388-120-4
  • Paperback
  • $15.95
  • Janurary 2016

Also available in ebook format World Rights

“She was a dangerous girl and people think she’ll be a dangerous woman.”

Nonie Blake is back home from a mental institution where she has spent the last twenty years, and people in Jarrett Creek are worried. Maybe too worried, for within a week of her return, Nonie is murdered.

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 Texas town.

FINALIST: Left Coast Crime Award for Best Novel

Praise for prior Samuel Craddock mysteries:

“The lead’s folksy tone belies astute detecting, and the plotting will dazzle readers.”
-Library Journal STARRED REVIEW

“A gritty take on small-town crime.”

“An amazing read. The poetic, literary quality of the writing draws you into a small town and its interesting, secret-carrying residents.”
—RT Book Reviews

“Shames has come up with a sleuth for the long haul.”
—Toronto Star

“Following up on her stellar debut, Shames proves that she isn’t a one-hit wonder…. [Her] grizzled, world-weary Craddock is a nuanced and artfully drawn character who embodies the positive values of small-town Texas as he gets deeper into a multilayered story of trust and betrayal. Jarrett Creek is much more than a backdrop—it’s a complex character in the story. Samuel Craddock is a hero worth rooting for…. Highly recommended.”
—Sheldon Siegel, New York Times-bestselling author (on The Last Death of Jack Harbin)

“Terry Shames does small-town Texas crime right, and A Killing at Cotton Hill is the real thing. It has humor, insight, and fine characters. Former chief of police Samuel Craddock is a man readers are going to love, and they’ll want to visit him and Jarrett Creek, Texas, often.”
—Bill Crider, author of Compound Murder, A Dan Rhodes Mystery (on A Killing at Cotton Hill)

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.

To read more about Terry Shames, visit her website at

Author Photo © Margaretta K. Mitchell

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