Bill Fitts


The Needed Killing Series: Cozy Mysteries with a Southern Flair

Writers do not create their works in a vacuum. Or so I believe. They are influenced, sometimes consciously, often unconsciously, by the world around them—by the people they know, the movies and TV shows they watch, the plays and concerts they attend, and, of course, by the books they read.

From the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew to Perry Mason and Nero Wolfe, I was raised on a steady diet of detective stories. Later, I added to my reading list such authors as Dorothy Sayers, Dick Francis, and Robert B. Parker. They and other writers helped shape my understanding of how to construct a mystery and fueled my love of a good whodunit. Authors outside the genre, notably Robert A. Heinlein, kindled my imagination as a young reader and engendered in me a love of reading that continues to this day. I thank them all for the many wonderful hours I have spent in cloud-cuckoo-land, from the English countryside to the streets of Boston to the far reaches of outer space.

I also owe an odd kind of thank you to the tornado that swept across parts of the South, including Tuscaloosa, Ala., on April 27, 2011. My wife and I came through the tornado physically unharmed, but our lives were changed forever. Like others who have survived an event of such enormity, we began to assess our needs and wants, our hopes and dreams from the perspective of survivors—with the visceral understanding that life is short and the future uncertain.

As a result, I retired from the University of Alabama in September 2011 and took up writing mysteries. I am having a wonderful time, and I hope you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them. It’s too late for me to keep the day job.

If you enjoy the Needed Killing Series, please consider leaving a review at the website where you purchased the book.

Smashwords Interview

Why are you starting your interview with a reference to cats?
My cat Hawk, model for The Black in the Needed Killing Series, was sitting in my lap while I reviewed the answers for this interview. (He often sits in my lap while I'm writing and is pictured on my Smashwords author page and on the back of the paperback copies of the books.)

He noted that there was no mention in my Q&A about cats. More to the point, there was no mention of him. I promised to rectify the situation before publishing the interview.

Satisfied, Hawk?
Why do you write murder mysteries?
When Robert B. Parker and Dick Francis, two prolific and very popular mystery writers, died within a month of each other, I thought their deaths would open up some room in the field. I didn’t realize that another writer was going to take over the Spenser series and Francis’s son Felix was going to take up the family business.

Seriously, I had tried writing other fiction. I finished one book—a fantasy intended as part of a three-book series—actually got an agent for it, but never found a publisher. Then I tried writing a mystery novel. I discovered that mysteries were easier for me to write and—as a bonus—I’m pretty good at it.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Bill Fitts online

Where to buy in print


The Deacon Needed Killing: Book 4 in the Needed Killing Series
Series: Needed Killing, book 4. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 85,450. Language: English. Published: February 25, 2014. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
Alone with a corpse on a back road, Crawford is glad to see the police. “It was actually a deputy sheriff's car but any law enforcement officer was like a gift from heaven. The car stopped and I started toward it. The siren yelped and the headlights flashed. I froze in place. That was not a come-hither signal." This time, Crawford must establish his own innocence before he can help anyone else.
She Needed Killing
Series: Needed Killing, book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 106,240. Language: English. Published: July 17, 2013. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
(5.00 from 3 reviews)
Book 3 in the Needed Killing Series. Newly licensed PI James F. Crawford had never considered taking his cat to the local folk festival. But when a friend wants The Black for a photo shoot, Crawford obliges. That a snake will be part of the shoot is just the first surprise in store for Crawford. Snakes, arson, blackmail . . . this festival will be unlike any other in the history of Jemison County.
He Needed Killing Too
Series: Needed Killing, book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 74,060. Language: English. Published: October 18, 2012. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
(4.75 from 4 reviews)
Book 2 in the Needed Killing series. Dr. Douglas was often described as a man who “needed killing.” When someone takes the description literally and puts a bullet through his head, the provost calls in James Crawford. As Crawford tackles his second case as a private eye, he also wrangles with the particulars of becoming a licensed detective, including the burning question of business cards.
He Needed Killing
Series: Needed Killing, book 1. Price: Free! Words: 66,620. Language: English. Published: October 18, 2012. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
(4.67 from 12 reviews)
Book 1 in the Needed Killing series. When several employees get ill from tainted potato salad and one actually dies, the university issues condolences and goes on with business as usual. But another death cannot be ignored, and university retiree James Crawford is thrust into the role of private eye. Murder, he finds, begets murder. Can he expose the killer before someone else is killed?

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