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Pretty is as Pretty Dies (A Myrtle Clover Mystery) Paperback – August 8, 2009

63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The amusing first in a new cozy series from Craig (A Dyeing Shame) introduces Myrtle Clover, a sturdy octogenarian who writes a column for the Bradley, N.C., newspaper, the Bradley Bugle. When developer and realtor Parke Stockard, an unpopular busybody, dies from blunt force trauma while messing with church altar flowers, Myrtle helps her police chief son, Red, investigate. Could the killer be rival Bugle columnist Josh Tucker; Parke's drugged-out son, Cecil; or a gossipy book clubber like Kitty Kirk? When Kitty's killed by another blunt force trauma, the plot thickens, and with Bradley's population only 1,500, chances are Myrtle knows the criminal. Myrtle's wacky personality is a delight (she collects garden gnomes that she trots out to her yard whenever she's displeased with Red), but hopefully Craig will add more depth to the snooping in the sequel. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Elizabeth Spann Craig has spoken at the Cape Fear Crime Festival on the topics of Amateur Sleuths and Humorous Mysteries, and she appears with the Carolina Conspiracy mystery writing group in panels and conferences.  She enjoys blogging about mystery writing and life. Like her characters, her roots are in a small, Southern town.  The author grew up in Anderson, S.C., and resides in Matthews, N.C.


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Product Details

  • Series: A Myrtle Clover Mystery (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 206 pages
  • Publisher: Midnight Ink (August 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738714801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738714806
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #733,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Elizabeth Spann Craig is the bestselling author of the Myrtle Clover series, the Southern Quilting mysteries, and the Memphis Barbeque mysteries (written as Riley Adams). She blogs at, named by Writer's Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers. She curates links on Twitter as @elizabethscraig that are later shared in the free search engine Elizabeth makes her home in Matthews, North Carolina, with her husband and two teenage children. To receive a free ebook, updates, and recipes, sign up for her newsletter at ,or by visiting her website.

Elizabeth Spann Craig (Riley Adams)
View the Myrtle Clover Series Description:
Twitter: @elizabethscraig

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Lesa Holstine on August 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
Not only does Elizabeth Spann Craig have one of the most amusing covers of the year for her cozy mystery, but she also has one of the funniest stories and characters. It's going to be hard for anyone to beat Myrtle Clover in Pretty is as Pretty Dies.

Talk about feisty! Nothing is going to slow down Myrtle. Her son, Red, might be the Police Chief of Bradley, North Carolina, but Myrtle isn't going to allow him to put her out to pasture at the age of eighty-five. There are laugh aloud scenes as the two of them spar. And, it only takes the murder of the most disliked woman in town to set Myrtle and Red at each other.

Myrtle was already mad at Red for signing her up for the United Methodist Women's group since he thought she was bored. She took her anger out by placing giant gnomes all over her yard, where her son could see them out the window of his house. Then, she stomped down the street to the Methodist church. Once Myrtle found the body of Parke Stockard at the church altar, she had a new purpose in life. Myrtle was determined to find the killer in the small town of 1,500, before her son and the state police. Now, she just needed a sidekick as all those other detectives had.

It seems as if everyone in Bradley had a reason to hate the realtor/developer, including Myrtle. She lost some of her valuable newspaper column space to the "wicked" newcomer. And, despite Red's best intentions to send Myrtle on wild goose chases, Myrtle needed to prove to her son that she was still sharp, and get back at him for his high-handed treatment.

It's easy to guess the killer in Pretty is as Pretty Dies, but who really cares? Myrtle Clover is a hoot. She's a special character, and it's fun to read about her war with her son.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Martha H. Hampton on August 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
Police chief of Bradley, NC Red Clover doesn't want his octogenarian mother, Myrtle to get bored and continue to write nasty letters to the Charlotte Observer or interfering in his police work again so he volunteers for the United Methodist Women's Circle and Altar Guild at church. Furious, Myrtle drags out her huge garden gnome collection and displays then in her front yard, something she does to not only let Red, but the whole town as well know that her son has done something to displease her.
On her first meeting at the church Myrtle discovers the body of beautiful, but widely disliked, Parke Stockard and this sets in motion her detecting and deducting skills. Without her knowing it, Red and the state police officer send her out on false clues to keep her from interfering with their real work.
Oblivious to their devious red herrings, Myrtle manages to rake in a couple of clues from these treks, but she keeps most of her findings to herself. She wants to solve the crime and hand the murderer to Red with every question neatly tied together to show him that she's not a worn out retired English teacher who has to fill her time with bingo, soaps, and church work.
This second Myrtle Clover Mystery is filled with chuckles as Myrtle spars with her son, his wife, the French exchange student, and the members of the United Methodist Women, Altar Guild and a book club that she thinks is a waste of time.
I highly recommend this fun read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bob Sanchez on January 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Myrtle Clover is a crusty octogenarian with plenty of curiosity and spunk. When widely hated Parke Stockard ends up "popped-over-the-head dead" in tiny Bradley, North Carolina, old Myrtle can't resist snooping around for clues. She's a funny character who can drive her poor policeman son to distraction; she knows when to act like a dotty old lady, but she is sharp.

Pretty Is As Pretty Dies is a witty, well-constructed cozy mystery that will keep readers smiling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth B. Morriosn on September 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a nice book, easy to read. I, however, am a seasoned, (read old!) mystery lover; Agatha, Dorthy, Martha, so I am rather spoiled.

The book was a quick read but I was put off by the author using the same adjectives over and over to describe the charactersitics of the characters.

I am not asking to "Know more" before I read, "caveat emptor" after all.

Mystery Lover/Former Literature Teacher.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Holly TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Meet Myrtle Clover -- a woman "of a certain age" who finds herself trying to solve the mystery of a friend's husband's disappearance. Tired of folks thinking she is too old to be useful, by beating the police to the answer she can show them a thing or two (especially since the policeman in question is her son).

Along the lines of Anne George's Southern Sisters series, this first installment introduces us to Myrtle and her circle of friends, family, and neighbors. There are three other books so far in the series and this one was good enough that I am willing to continue on. Based upon the reviews and product description, I thought I was in for one laugh after the next but, while this book is humorous, it didn't strike me as laugh-out-loud hilarious. There is definitely potential here for the characters to grow and for the reader to become increasingly fond of them so I will continue on. Interesting mystery that serves as the catalyst for the oddball situations in which Myrtle finds herself. Good, not great.
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