In the second Judge Jackson Crain Mystery, Joe Junior McBride, beloved barber of Post Oak, Texas, has been murdered. At first glance, the homicide appears to be the work of a prowler, but as the investigation progresses, Joe Junior's second wife, Marlene Ashburn, becomes the prime suspect.
A stranger turns up at the funeral, and something about him reminds everyone of Joe Junior. But Joe's brother, Gerald, claims never to have seen him, and mounting evidence points to Marlene as the murderer.
First line: Jackson Crain pushed open the door of the Post Oak Barbershop, entered and stomped his boots on the rubber mat to dislodge the snow.
My thoughts: This was a homey, quick, cozy read. I loved the Biggie books by this author and thought I'd try out this series. I was attracted to these books bacause Bell writes about living in a small Texas town off where everyone knows their neighbor and their neighbor's business. I liked the characters, especially the judge.
Quote: Jackson got home from work to find Lutie Faye dropping floured chicken pieces into a cast-iron pot. The smell of the frying made his mouth water. He saw a chocolate cake sitting on the kitchen table with fourteen pink candles in the top.
"Umm, fried chicken," he observed. "And cake, too. What's the occasion?"
"It's Ashley's birthday," she said. "She told her mama she didn't care about any party as long as she could spend the night here and have me cook her some fried chicken."
"Lucky for the rest of us." He grinned. "Where are the girls?"