He Needed Killing

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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? More
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Published: Oct. 18, 2012
Words: 66,620
Language: English
ISBN: 9781301311330
About 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.

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Reviews

Review by: janice morris on Aug. 26, 2013 : star star star star star
Good read easy to get into characters real.
(review of free book)

Review by: Miss Mary on Aug. 02, 2013 : star star star star star
Love the writers' easy style and wit. This free book did the trick, I am hooked and buying the other two in the series. If there are any slow spots, as one reviewer writes, it is to give our brains time to digest what is coming at us so fast!
(review of free book)

Review by: Angela Arroliga on March 03, 2013 : (no rating)
Very well crafted...looking forward to more from this author
(review of free book)

Review by: Strayer on Dec. 21, 2012 : star star star star star
I started reading this and got tired. I had to stop reading it and didn't want to. Ford is great and will carry the series well. I will look for the second book and buy it. Thank you so much for writing this. I love all the homey stuff and you do tech explanations so well. I have nothing negative to say about this book.
I flunked review 101. Or, I was sick the day they taught it.
(review of free book)

Review by: Beverly schneider on Dec. 20, 2012 : star star star star
Thoroughly enjoyable book, good plot and great characters (including the cat and dog).
(review of free book)

Review by: Audrey Driscoll on Nov. 25, 2012 : star star star
He Needed Killing is billed as a "cozy mystery," and it's all of that. Retired university tech guy James Crawford has a delightfully relaxed, friendly narrative voice. Having spent some years on university campuses (in Canada)I could relate to the personality types and situations he describes. (In fact I've sometimes wondered why there aren't more murders in academia, given the intense animosities created by the "collegial system").
My main problem with this book is that it's very slow in spots. I don't object to slow books, but there were extensive sections here that seemed to have little relevance to the story -- detailed descriptions of Crawford cooking meals, for example, and a charming essay on barbecues. The denouement, when it comes, is perfectly satisfying. It turns our that our sleuth's grey cells were working out the mystery while he was cooking, socializing with his cat and dog and doing other everyday activities. Looking back I can see a number of details from these scenes that turn out to be clues later on, but all I could think of in these ruminative sections was "When is something going to happen here?"
The prose style is clean and straightforward, the voice and setting engaging, but the story bogs down too often. If I could give 3.5 stars I would, but since that's not possible I have to settle on 3.
(review of free book)

Review by: Anne G on Nov. 17, 2012 : star star star star star
The first book in the Needed Killing Series is a delight. The narrator and amateur sleuth, one Crawford by name, along with his pets, Tan (a dog) and The Black (a cat), are a wonderful addition to the cozy mystery tradition. Set in the Deep South (which is lovingly, though objectively, portrayed), the novel should be well received by fans of Robert B. Parker and Dick Francis.
(review of free book)

Review by: Dianne Gowanlock on Nov. 11, 2012 : star star star star
A good read. I, being female, could of done without some of the 'guy' stuff, but I enjoyed how Crawford the main character reasoned his way to solving the crimes. His 'little grey cells' were being used even when the reader might think he was just floundering around.
(review of free book)

Review by: Ann Z on Nov. 09, 2012 : star star star star star
Thoroughly enjoyed meeting James Crawford and his pals - looking forward to reading more of his adventures!
(review of free book)

Review by: Marilyn Staffo on Oct. 25, 2012 : star star star star star
Loved this book!! Detective James F. Crawford reminds me of great detectives found in Anne George or Robert Parker mysteries!
(review of free book)

Review by: Mike Evans on Oct. 20, 2012 : star star star star star
Great book, thanks. I just bought the next one. Now I know two people with a dog called Tan, even though one of them is fictional.
(review of free book)

Review by: A. Smith on Oct. 18, 2012 : star star star star star
really good book you are a fantastic writer! hoping to read more! keep up the amazing work!
(review of free book)

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