It's a Mystery Podcast
Mysteries in Small Town Texas with Terry Shames
Jun 1, 2020 · 32 min
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Welcome to a small Texas town with no shortage of big characters.

I loved the performative quality of Terry's reading in this episode. I can hear the Texas characters coming through her voice loud and clear, which made listening to her read very enjoyable.

In the interview we discuss the personal inspiration for Samuel Craddock's character, as well as how the Covid-19 periods of isolation and social distancing have affected Terry's writing.

This episode of It's a Mystery Podcast is sponsored by the brand new mystery novel Lark Underground.

If you like your mystery novels with twists and turns and characters who spring to life you'll love this latest book from award-winning author Alexandra Amor.

Reviewer Sandee said, "This story is an emotional heart-engaging roller-coaster. I enjoyed it from beginning to end. I can hardly wait for the next one."

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This week's mystery author

Terry Shames writes the popular Samuel Craddock series, set in small town Texas. She won the Macavity Award for Best First Novel, and the RT Reviews award for Best Contemporary Mystery, 2016. 

The eighth in the series, A Risky Undertaking for Loretta Singletary came out in 2019.  MysteryPeople has twice named Terry one of the top five Texas mystery authors.

Her latest short story, “Inheritance” will appear in Jewish Noir II, in  September. Terry lives in Berkeley, CA and is a member of Sisters in Crime and on the board of Mystery Writers of America.

To learn more about Terry and all her books visit

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts. And listen on Stitcher, Android, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, and Spotify.

Excerpt from A Reckoning in the Back Country

There are a couple of cars in Gloria Hastings’s driveway, next door to Margaret Wilkins’s place. I’d like to have a word with Gloria’s husband before I go to see Margaret. Yesterday talking to him didn’t seem so urgent, but with still no news of Wilkins, I’m increasingly concerned.

I rap on the door but there’s so much racket inside the house that I doubt anybody can hear me. When there’s a lull, I knock again. The door is flung open by an unseen hand. Gloria is hurrying toward me. “Kids, settle down.” She claps her hands together and two children, a boy and a girl, careen from somewhere in the room and plop onto the sofa, making motorcycle noises.

“Now stop that,” she says, looking back at them. “This man is a policeman. I’d hate to have to ask him to haul you off to jail. I don’t think they have pumpkin pie there.” 

They giggle, but keep an eye on me.

“Remember the wild bunch I told you about?”

“So these are the culprits?” I say.       

“Two of them anyway. My daughter’s kids. That’s Marcie, she’s six, and the four-year-old is Chris. Say hello, kids.”

They both say hello, darting glances at each other and suppressing giggles. 

“My son’s boys are out in the woods. They pretend they’re hunting squirrels, but I don’t know what they’d do if they shot one. They’re older, but I wish they wouldn’t go out there. Snakes and goodness knows what all. They’re just like their daddy. I couldn’t keep him indoors. What am I doing? These two have taken my sense. Come on in and have some coffee.”

“Your husband home?”

“He’s in the back bedroom. I’ll get him.” 

As soon as she leaves the room, Marcie hops off the couch and stands in front of me. “Do you have a gun?” 

“I own a gun, but I don’t carry it. Not too many criminals around here. Have you run into any bad guys?”

She shakes her head solemnly. Her brother slides off the sofa and eases over next to her, watching me as if he’s worried I’m going to grab him.

Gloria comes back out followed by a short, stocky man with ice-blue eyes and a sleepy smile.
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