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Pretty is as Pretty Dies (A Myrtle Clover Mystery) Paperback – August 8, 2009
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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.
Amazon readers love this series - over 1500 4 and 5 star reviews
Praise for Myrtle Clover Mysteries:
Publishers Weekly: "Myrtle's wacky personality is a delight."
Mystery News: "Wonderful cozy mystery: solidly written, well-plotted and funny."
ForeWord: "The treat here is Myrtle's eccentricity, brought to life with rich humor and executed ...with breezy skill."
"I hope I'm half as lively as she is when I reach my 80's.." Amazon Reviewer
"Sassy and funny as ever" Amazon Reviewer
"Myrtle is a feisty lady and I enjoy her wit and ability to figure out who done it." Amazon Reviewer
"With all her garden gnomes, horrible cooking and many more cute features I just can't help loving this octogenarian and her mysteries." Amazon Reviewer
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This was a quick, fun cozy mystery. The characters introduced by the author are interesting and ring true, especially to the south. The book is well-plotted, though the identity of the murderer is telegraphed rather early. This is the first in a series, and I look forward to reading more of it.
This was a wonderful laugh out loud book. Myrtle is an octogenarian who has the sharp mind and clever wit of a much younger woman. She establishes herself in this book as a great amateur sleuth. But what I liked most was her feisty personality. I laughed so hard that I was crying and had to stop reading for a few minutes. I especially liked her attitude toward the book club. Her neighbors and friends are great characters too. Myrtle's son is the chief of police who doesn't want his mother "investigating" and as he tries to encourage Mama to back away Myrtle shows her determination but filling her yard with "gnomes" which she knows irritates him. (He lives across the street from her and so is greeted by the gnomes every morning when she puts them out.)
Myrtle's neighbor Erma really gets on Myrtle's nerves and their interaction is one of the most humorous aspects of the Myrtle Clover series. Not only is Erma a pain in the neck neighbor, she also drives Myrtle, a former high school English teacher, nuts at bookclub.
In this volume I loved the all the talk about quality writing and Erma's not really knowing what she is talking about when she comments on "To Kill a Mockingbird". Myrtle knows what she likes and doesn't like being pushed into activities by her son, or the lack of "good" literature read by the book club. I look forward to reading more of Myrle's sleuthing adventures.
Also, living in a VERY small country town, it is so true that newbies are always newbies unless you are born in said town or your parents were. It is the environment of a town within a town where those new to town (even though they have lived here 5-10 years or more) are the outsiders that will never quite fit in no matter what qualities they have to offer.