Paint the Town Dead
St. Martin's, Aug 2008, $23.95
In Post Oak, Texas, someone executes realtor Tom Delgado, whose corpse is found by his office desk with a bullet to his head. The police believe Tom’s wife Dovie killed him when they learn his will leaves his vast estate to Dallas evangelist Sister Mary Dobbs McDermott; Dovie received almost nothing.
However, Judge Jackson Crain has some doubts that the motive was the will and wonders if business dealings could have been the motive for the homicide; Delgado as the king of local real estate had many enemies amongst the pretenders to his throne, especially those who felt he cheated them. The Judge begins his own brand of southern fried chicken investigation along side the police while also dealing with the strange behavior of his teenaged daughter Patty and starting a tryst with artist Roxanne Kruger; in town to spend time with her dying mother.
The third Judge Jackson Texas cozy (see RESTORED TO DEATH and DEATH SPLITS A HAIR) is an entertaining small town regional mystery that brings to life the townsfolk mostly through their relationship with the lead character. Jackson is a delightful main character as his personal life seems ready to engulf him with tsuris, but his calm sense of humor helps him cope and provides the audience with amusing asides. The whodunit pales next to the Judge and the colorful support cast, but sub-genre fans will not care as they will enjoy this funny Texas tale.