Crider's laid-back, small-town Texas sheriff Dan Rhodes (Evil at the Roof, etc.) is closer to somnolence here, as he investigates the murder--sloppily arranged to look like suicide--of Houston book-dealer Simon Graham, found in the abandoned college building he was supposedly converting to a museum. Graham had big ideas and a load of debt; his current major asset appeared to be a rare, very valuable first edition of Poe's Tamerlane. Now, his sexy secretary, Marty Wallace, and burly business partner Mitch Rolingson waste no time trying to find the volume, also sought by rival dealer Hal Brame. They're all possible suspects to Rhodes, along with local lout Cy Appleby--wife-beating father of hulking sons who'd worked for Graham. There are more deaths before Rhodes gets his killer--in a long, minutely detailed session of hand-to-hand combat. Underanimated, undermotivated story from a writer who's done much, much better.