Ghost of a Chance

( 2 )

Overview

In this tenth installment of the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series, the Blacklin County Texas law enforcer is back to solve even more mysteries. Some of the most amusing sequences in Crider's Blacklin county mysteries are set in the jailhouse, and star the ongoing word battles between its two septuagarian denizens, Hack the dispatcher and Lawton, the jailer. This time no one at the jailhouse is laughing and Rhodes has a new problem. Not only is the jailhouse itself rumored to be haunted, but a mysterious corpse is found ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (17) from $1.99   
  • New (3) from $56.45   
  • Used (14) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$56.45
Seller since 2015

Feedback rating:

(366)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
Brand New Item.

Ships from: Chatham, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$58.77
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(215)

Condition: New

Ships from: Chicago, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
$65.00
Seller since 2015

Feedback rating:

(241)

Condition: New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

In this tenth installment of the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series, the Blacklin County Texas law enforcer is back to solve even more mysteries. Some of the most amusing sequences in Crider's Blacklin county mysteries are set in the jailhouse, and star the ongoing word battles between its two septuagarian denizens, Hack the dispatcher and Lawton, the jailer. This time no one at the jailhouse is laughing and Rhodes has a new problem. Not only is the jailhouse itself rumored to be haunted, but a mysterious corpse is found in an open grave in the neighboring town. Rhodes uses his laid back sleuthing skills to find the answers to these puzzling events, which Crider depicts with his usual humor, suspense and small town ambience.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Blacklin County, Tex., which includes the decrepit little town of Clearview, is where Sheriff Dan Rhodes has kept order in nine previous mysteries (Death by Accident, etc.). Clearview is hardly a hotbed of crime, and the middle-aged sheriff's laid-back style seems a perfect fit. Neither the appearance of ghosts, first at the jail, then in a local cemetery; nor the body of a murdered man found in a grave newly dug for another body; nor the uproar over cemetery thefts raised by the Clearview Sons and Daughters of Texas, a historical preservation group, is enough to get Rhodes too worked up. With quiet good humor, courage and a direct approach, Rhodes goes about the business of soothing, questioning or confronting as needs be. Rhodes's septuagenarian aides, Hack and Lawton, provide information as well as critical (and comical) commentary. A pair of petty and incompetent criminals, Rapper and Nellie, resurface to plague Rhodes again. And the county's newly successful romance novelist, Vernell Lindsey, can't seem to keep her goats fenced in or her neighbors from getting nosey. In some novels, two murders, a shootout, thefts and a drug factory would send the violence quotient over the top, but folksy Dan Rhodes handles it all with pleasing and entertaining aplomb. (July) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
Amid rumors that the Blacklin County jail is haunted, someone discovers a body in the neighboring town. In his 11th mystery, Sheriff Dan Rhodes tackles both problems in his own inimitable way. A solid addition to a long-running series Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Blacklin County, Tex., which includes the decrepit little town of Clearview, is where Sheriff Dan Rhodes has kept order in nine previous mysteries (Death by Accident, etc.). Clearview is hardly a hotbed of crime, and the middle-aged sheriff's laid-back style seems a perfect fit. Neither the appearance of ghosts, first at the jail, then in a local cemetery; nor the body of a murdered man found in a grave newly dug for another body; nor the uproar over cemetery thefts raised by the Clearview Sons and Daughters of Texas, a historical preservation group, is enough to get Rhodes too worked up. With quiet good humor, courage and a direct approach, Rhodes goes about the business of soothing, questioning or confronting as needs be. Rhodes's septuagenarian aides, Hack and Lawton, provide information as well as critical (and comical) commentary. A pair of petty and incompetent criminals, Rapper and Nellie, resurface to plague Rhodes again. And the county's newly successful romance novelist, Vernell Lindsey, can't seem to keep her goats fenced in or her neighbors from getting nosey. In some novels, two murders, a shootout, thefts and a drug factory would send the violence quotient over the top, but folksy Dan Rhodes handles it all with pleasing and entertaining aplomb. (July) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
The first sighting was in the jail itself, but before Sheriff Dan Rhodes of tiny Clearview, Texas, can turn ghost-hunter, he's got more corporeal matters to address. For starters, there's a corpse in the local cemetery—unburied and without benefit of casket. That's because the .22 caliber hole in the middle of its forehead is so fresh. Ty Berry, late the president of one of Clearview's two warring historical societies, had not been the most popular man in town: he was too passionate, too single-minded, too insistent on the transcendence of historical preservation to suit laid-back Clearview. But who could possibly have hated him enough to murder him? Easy, says Hank Jensen, Clearview PD's crack dispatcher: Fay Knape, president of the rival historical society. But before Sheriff Rhodes can take her seriously as a suspect, she becomes a second murder victim, leaving the sheriff with a full plate: two murders, a minor but annoying drug operation, cemetery looting, goats and emus running around loose, and of course those pesky hauntings. Too much, a casual observer might think, for a law officer heading a department half a dozen strong; but after ten installments (Murder Is an Art, 1999, etc.), Rhodes scholars know better. Low-key and folksy as usual, but every so often—not quite often enough—a bracing thread of acid seeps through all that drollery.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312208899
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/14/2000
  • Series: Dan Rhodes Series, #10
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Bill Crider lives in Alvin, Texas where he serves as chair of the Division of English and Fine Arts at Alvin Community College. His first Sheriff Dan Rhodes mystery, Too Late to Die, won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

1

SHERIFF DAN RHODES DIDN’T BELIEVE THAT THE BLACKLIN County Jail was haunted. Neither did Lawton, the jailer.

But the dispatcher, Hack Jensen, said that it didn’t make any difference what they believed.

“Those fellas back there in the cells believe it,” he said. “And that’s all that matters.”

Lawton was leaning with one shoulder on the frame of the door that led to the lower cellblock. He had his hands clasped around the handle of the push broom that he held in front of him, right hand high, left hand low. He had a hard round stomach, and his olive-drab coveralls were a little strained across the middle.

It had been threatening rain all day. There was a flash of lightning outside, followed by a roll of thunder that rattled the windows.

“Good day for ghosts,” Lawton said. “I remember that we had some dealin’s with a haint not so long ago. In that college out there at Obert.”

Rhodes wondered just what Lawton meant by we, since the way he remembered it, he was the only one who’d really been involved in that little incident. But Rhodes knew better than to say anything. If he did, he’d just hurt Lawton’s feelings.

Hack, on the other hand, didn’t seem to care whose feelings he hurt.

“Wasn’t a ghost,” he said. “Just a dead man.”

Lawton shifted his weight on his short legs. “Dead man’s just about the next thing to a ghost, I guess. You could look it up on that computer of yours.”

Hack was the dispatcher, and he had argued for years that the jail needed a computer. Now that he had one, he was inordinately proud of the things it could do. Lawton, who wasn’t as enamored of technology as Hack was, liked to tease him about the new machine.

Hack grinned. “That’s right. I could look it up, all right. If I wanted to.”

“Right. It’s all part of the information in that GCIC thing.”

Hack stopped grinning. Rhodes knew why. Hack didn’t like for anyone to make slighting remarks about the computer. At the beginning of the Obert college case, Hack had explained to Lawton about the computer’s link to the National Crime Investigation Center, and Lawton had suggested that they tap into the Ghost Crime Investigation Center for some up-to-date information on what was going on in Obert. Hack hadn’t thought it was funny.

“There’s no such thing as the GCIC,” Hack said now. “And you know it. But I can by God find out about jailhouse ghosts on the Internet.”

The jail’s Internet connection was new. Hack had suggested it to Rhodes, who had seen the value of it and had signed the jail up with a provider.

“All right, let’s see what you can find,” Lawton said, pushing his broom over to Hack’s desk.

There was another rumble of thunder. The windows shook in their frames.

“Maybe I oughta unplug the computer,” Hack said. “Wouldn’t want to take a chance on it getting hit by lightning.”

“You got one of those lightning spike protectors, don’t you?” Lawton asked.

Hack nodded.

“Then what’re you afraid of?”

“Nothing,” Hack said. “Come on over here and have a look.”

Lawton walked over to the dispatcher’s desk. When the two of them were close together, they seemed to Rhodes to have a strong resemblance to the old comedy team of Abbott and Costello. Hack was tall, with slicked-back hair, a thin gray mustache, and a skeptical look, while Lawton had the smooth round face of an altar boy who was about to snatch the halo off a cherub.

“Just let me call up a search engine,” Hack said.

“Is that like a car engine?” Lawton asked.

Hack didn’t deign to answer. Rhodes got up from his desk and strolled over to the desk to watch Hack type “jail ghost” into the blank on the search engine’s home page.

“Now watch this,” Hack said, clicking on the go button.

He got only one response, a link to something called the Sydney Institute of Technology. Hack clicked on the link and a new screen appeared, revealing that the Sydney Institute was apparently holding classes in the old Darlinghurst Gaol, way Down Under.

“That supposed to be goal?” Lawton asked.

“It’s the way they spell jail in Australia sometimes,” Hack said. “See? It says it right there. J-a-i-1. They have to put that in for people who never took much English in school.”

Lawton looked skeptical. “If they wanted to spell jail, why didn’t they just do it in the first place? Doesn’t make any sense to me.”

“There’s a lot of things don’t make any sense to you,” Hack said. “See what it says there? You can take a class and find out about the convicts and gamblers.” He gave Lawton a significant look. “The gallows, too.”

“Maybe so,” Lawton said. “Don’t see anything about ghosts, though.”

Rhodes figured it was time for him to step in. If he didn’t, the two old men would argue all day.

“It mentioned ghosts on the other page,” he said. “The first one we looked at.”

Lawton shrugged. “Could be. Doesn’t say anything here, though, does it? Besides, who’d want to go to classes in a jail if they didn’t have to?”

“Maybe somebody that wanted to learn something,” Hack said. “Somebody that didn’t want to stay ignorant all his life.”

“Maybe we could offer some classes here,” Lawton said. “Tell ’em about that ghost we got.”

“Good idea,” Hack said. “We could build us a gallows and hang somebody as a demonstration.”

It was pretty clear who he had in mind. So Rhodes changed the subject.

“I haven’t seen any ghost,” he said.

“Me neither,” Lawton said. “I don’t believe in ’em, myself. It’s an ignorant superstition.”

“Doesn’t matter whether you believe in ’em or not,” Hack said, and Rhodes had a strong feeling that this was where he’d come in.

So before Hack could say anything about what “those fellas back in the cells” believed, Rhodes said, “Has anybody seen the ghost lately?”

Lawton straightened up. “Just Lank Rollins.”

Rollins, whose habit of passing hot checks made him a frequent resident of the jail cells, was the one who’d started the whole thing. He claimed to have been sleeping soundly in his bunk when he was awakened by a cold breeze across his face. When he looked up, he saw a dark shadow moving across his cell. He tried to call out, but his throat “closed up like somebody stuck a rag down it.” And when he tried to get out of the bunk, his blanket wrapped itself around him until he was “swaddled up like one of those Egyptian mummies.”

That was the way Lawton had found him in the morning, lying rigidly in his wrappings, flat on his back on the bunk, unable to move.

Rhodes figured that Rollins had simply had a restless night and tangled himself in his blanket, not that it made any difference in the long run.

“Once one of them fellas gets an idea in his head,” Hack said, “you can’t get it out. And then ever’body else catches it.”

Rhodes nodded. It was easy for rumors to get started in a jail, and the other five prisoners had picked up on the idea that a ghost was roaming around in their midst in about ten minutes after Rollins told Lawton the story. Before long, everyone was seeing or hearing the apparition.

One man swore he saw it in the showers. Another said that he heard it moaning in the corner of a vacant cell. And one said that it had walked right through the bars and stared at him.

Rhodes had asked what it looked like.

The man said, “A big black shadow,” which was the way that everyone described it.

Rhodes thought they were seriously lacking in imagination.

“One thing I got to give that ghost credit for,” Lawton said, leaning on the doorframe. “It’s got all those fellas readin’ their Bibles like crazy.”

“Even Tobin,” Hack said.

Andy Tobin, who had a drinking problem that landed him in jail fairly frequently, was the current jailhouse lawyer. Before the appearance of the ghost, he had been a consistent troublemaker, the kind of prisoner who spent most of his time filing grievances and going through law-books to prepare suits against the county, against the commissioners, against Rhodes, against Hack and Lawton, and, for all Rhodes knew, against the president and the Congress.

“Tobin’s the worst one of all,” Lawton said. “He hasn’t had his nose out of that Bible for the past five days.”

Rhodes went back to his desk. It was nice to know that the ghost was having a good effect on the prisoners’ spiritual lives, which could probably use some improvement. But he was afraid any improvement that resulted would be only temporary. Before long, they’d find something else to distract them, and the ghost would be forgotten.

“The latest is, they’re sayin’ it’s the ghost of old Ham Walker,” Lawton said.

“Ham Walker,” Hack said. “How in the world do they know about him?”

“Nearly everybody knows about him,” Rhodes said. “I heard about him when I was just a kid.”

It was a story that mothers in Blacklin County had for years told their children in an attempt to encourage better behavior. According to the most popular version of the tale, Walker had been found hanged in a cell only a few weeks after the jail opened more than seventy years before.

There was a persistent rumor that the hanging had not been a suicide. Walker supposedly had been assisted on his way to the afterlife by the sheriff and his deputies, all of whom had alibied each other. Rhodes didn’t believe that part of the story in the least, though the part about Walker having hanged himself was true enough. It was in the jail records.

“Maybe that explains why the prisoners are bein’ so well behaved,” Hack said. “They’re afraid you’ll slip back there some night and hang ever’ last one of ’em.”

“Wouldn’t be a bad idea,” Lawton said. “I’m gettin’ tired of seein’ that Andy Tobin in here all the time.”

He was about to expand on that idea when the telephone rang.

Hack answered and then listened for a while to someone with an excited voice that Rhodes could hear all the way across the room, though he couldn’t make out the words. Hack wrote down all the information he was given and assured the caller that the sheriff was on the way.

“On the way to where?” Rhodes asked when Hack hung up.

“To the cemetery. That was Clyde Ballinger on the line. He says there’s a dead man in one of the graves out there.”

“Now, there’s a surprise,” Lawton said.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Dan Rhodes tale

    The sheriff of Blacklin County, Texas is not having an easy time of it because the five prisoners incarcerated in the jail insist the place is haunted. Sheriff Dan Rhodes and his employees, Hack Jensen and Lawton do not believe in ghosts, but wonder what is going on when the prisoners start studiously read the bible. <P>Dan¿s life becomes a bit weirder when he learns that a dead person has been found occupying a freshly dug grave in the cemetery. The grave was originally dug for Terry McCoy, but the corpse is that of Ty Berry, shot in the head with a .22. Although there are no further clues at the cemetery, Dan sees a couple of fleeting shadows out of the corners of his eyes. Soon the townsfolk begin believing that Ty haunts the cemetery. In addition to catching a mortal killer and other criminals, Dan needs to keep his fellow citizens calm and quiet while he and his staff solve the cases. <P>Bill Crider has so fully developed the characters in the Dan Rhodes mysteries with each new novel, readers feel they are visiting dear long term friends. Of course these buddies are quite eccentric. A GHOST OF A CHANCE, the tenth tale in this down home regional series, is amusing, interesting, and filled with local color. The hero is an amiable Texan who is everyone¿s pal until he makes an arrest. Fans of the sub-genre will enjoy this visit to Blacklin County. <P>Harriet Klausner

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)