I am not lazy. At least I’m not as lazy as the editor and owner of our twice a week newspaper claims I am.
As the sheriff of Tennessee’s smallest county, by population, I work hard. It never occurred to me that dealing with the citizens would be so difficult. Seriously. Crime and general bad behavior of the citizens and visitors have turn Park County into a bad joke. It seems to come in waves. Quiet followed by chaos.
Today began peacefully enough. I thought I might even be able to go home early enough to finish painting the babies’ room. Yep, twin girls and they are just starting to crawl. Sorry, I digress.
The first hint of trouble came from a resident complaining of seeing his trophy fish on a friend’s burn pile. My deputy, Wade Claybough, would have quit on the spot if I hadn’t invited him along on the quest for the fish, and justice. I kid you not, it was the ugliest water thing I’ve seen. Even those deep ocean fish with the sharp teeth and unpleasant expressions look better. Wade and I retrieved the fish for the owner. Crime wave averted.
I was starting to sense a storm brewing but stopped by my wife’s quilt shop for a peek at my three favorite females– my wife and twin baby girls. Theo, that’s my wife, is about the size of a fire hydrant while I’m close to being the tallest man in the county. Don’t let her size fool you. I couldn’t, or truthfully, wouldn’t be sheriff without her influence. Getting elected in a county where new arrivals (anyone whose grandparents weren’t born here) struggle to be accepted was greatly helped by her status as a descendant of some early settlers. Theo brought in the local vote. She also helps my work in the community because she is privy to lots of gossip. It runs through her quilt shop like an overflowing stream. People who would never “bother” the police unload their fears, facts and eyewitness accounts over the quilt frame in her classroom.
As I reached my home, I encountered Candy Tibbles. The woman is a serious mess. Her son Alvin does yard work for us. He’s sixteen and emancipated. The court decided he was way more mature than his mother and this way she’s not stealing from him to buy drugs. When I tried to talk to her she scuttled away like some creature frightened by daylight. Alvin looked worried but resigned. I knew I’d end up dealing with her again soon.
I did manage to finish painting the twins room before time to watch, and help coach, my older son’s baseball team. Chris even made the game ending play. They won. A moment of celebration interrupted by my phone. The crime storm begins with a dead man in a tree. Not just in a tree but impaled on one of the branches. He was car surfing? Really? If you’re determined to die, why not just go (to another county please) and do it in a tidy traditional manner. And leave a note.
You can read more about Tony in Murder By Sunlight, the fifth book in the “Quilted” mystery series, published by Five Star. The first book in the series is ” Murder by Serpents”. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.
Barbara is giving away one (1) copy of MURDER BY SUNLIGHT. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway and contest ends November 20, 2013 and open to everyone.
Meet the author
Barbara Graham began making up stories in the third grade instead of learning to multiply and divide. A native Texan, she later lived in Denver, New Orleans and East Tennessee. Inspiration for Silersville (home of her imaginary friends) comes from her Tennessee period. An unrepentant quilting addict, she lives in Wyoming with her long suffering husband and two dogs. Her motto is “Every book needs a dead body and every bed needs a quilt”.
You can visit Barbara at her website