June 01, 2008
The introduction to the book Cricket in the Web by author Paula Moore about the unsolved 1949 murder of Las Cruces, N.M. waitress Cricket Coogler.
by Paula Moore
Editor's Note: The University of New Mexico Press released Paula Moore's Cricket in the Web on March 31, 2008, in conjunction with the anniversary of the notorious and still-unsolved murder of a Las Cruces waitress, Cricket Coogler, in 1949. This excerpt is taken from the introduction to the book, which you can learn more about at www.unmpress.com.
In an old aerial photograph of the City of Las Cruces, New Mexico, the eye is drawn instantly to the largest and most noticeable structure in 1949—the Doña Ana County Courthouse, a gleaming white symbol of justice. Trials and grand jury hearings were held in its courtrooms, and it contained the county jail. The sheriff's small corner office managed to accommodate a desk for state police business.
During the day, Main Street was a center of industry. Neighbors visited on sidewalks or across café tables about everyday concerns, like the cost of living. Levi's jeans were advertised for $3.25 and a Chrysler Royal four-door sedan for $2,411. People worried about the polio epidemic, and a few local cases were reported.