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

4.5 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

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Triple Threat by James Patterson
"Triple Threat" by James Patterson
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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.


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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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 (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,762,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had read one of the later Myrtle Clover books and liked it so I went back to the beginning.
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.
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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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