BILL CRIDER ‘Who Killed Cock Rogers?” Sheriff Dan Rhodes. First published in The Mysterious West, edited by Tony Hillerman (HarperCollins, 1994). Collected in The Blacklin County Files (Kindle edition, 2012).

   Here are the first two paragraphs that slide us right into the story with infinite ease:

   Mrs. Janelle Tabor, an attractive widow in her early forties, was spattered with cow manure. It was green, mostly, and it didn’t go well wit her yellow blouse. It didn’t smell good, either.

   “And it’s all your fault, Sheriff Rhodes!” she said. wagging her finger in his face.

   And here are the last three paragraphs, as the author winds up his tale:

   “Too bad for ever’body,” Hack said. “Hard to believe all this was caused by a truckful of cows.”

   “It wasn’t the cows,” Rhodes aid, “It was the manure.”

   Hack chuckled. “Ain’t it always?” he said.

   In between is a tale of murder, that of a radio host whose technique of choice was to boost his ratings by any controversial means he could. Bill’s way with a story stands out, as always: a hint of dry downhome Texas humor (well, more often than not, more than a hint) along with a serious crime to be solved, one that both he and Dan Rhodes take very seriously. This story is no exception.