Five Star, Nov 2003, 25.95, 225 pp.
In The Texas Hill Country ruthless rancher Win Castle feels his mortality after suffering a heart attack. He worries about his legacy as he feels both of his sons are wimps. He decides to host a contest between Chaz and Kyle. Though the siblings are in their thirties, they react differently. Chaz welcomes with glee the chance to inherit the estate while Kyle believes this is stupid.
Chaz wins the competition risking his life with the boar and bringing in the shark. When they land on a deserted isle, Kyle saves the lives of the trio. In Texas, Win informs Chaz and Kyle that they will replace long time loyal managers. However, not long afterward someone murders Chaz followed by his mother. Sheriff Watkins and Ranger Macrory gain the help of septuagenarian Esbeth Walters as they struggle to solve the homicides.
NO MURDER BEFORE ITS TIME is an interesting thriller in which the better person loses the competition because he lacks the zealousness of his sibling. Ironically when they are in trouble Kyle steps to the plate and delivers. The tale ultimately spins into an interesting police procedural amateur sleuth story line that is cleverly designed. Although quite good, that subplot is not quite at the quality level of the Castle championship competition.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner