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Sunday, November 15, 2009
Sunday Salon: Pretty Is As Pretty Dies by Elizabeth Spann Craig
An octogenarian sleuth may not sound like an interesting story line, but the way author Elizabeth Spann Craig spins this one, you’ll be laughing and asking for more. Elizabeth has created a delightful character in Myrtle that you can’t help but love, despite her crankiness.
So sit back and prepare to be entertained by this cozy murder mystery:
Retired schoolteacher Myrtle Clover is not ready to be shuffled off to an assisted living home in her small Southern town.
Her son Red, who’s also the police chief, decides to sign her up for the Altar Guild and United Methodist Women to keep her busy. But, Myrtle wants nothing to do with that.
Over night a village of a hundred gnomes mysteriously appear in Myrtle’s yard to the horror of Red, who lives across the street. The ceramic gnomes are Myrtle’s way of showing her son she disapproves of what he’s done.
Despite her misgivings, Myrtle stomps off to the church for the United Methodist Women meeting. She’s not looking forward to it because of Parke Stockard, who seems to be taking over everything in town.
Parke is already at the church. But, she’s sprawled on the floor dead.
No one seems to be grieving over the deceased. In fact, Myrtle sees Parke’s death as a way to prove her independence to Red. She’ll solve the murder before he does.
Myrtle begins her investigation (snooping) into the life of Parke Stockard. Soon the octogenarian Holmes decides she needs a “Mr. Watson” to help solve the murder or at least to drive her around. She enlist the help of her new neighbor, who has all the local widows swooning.
Before long the suspect list is growing and the body count is going up as well.
Red’s “red herrings” backfires and Myrtle closes in on the killer.
Author Elizabeth Spann Craig throws together a cast of zany church members, a frazzled daughter-in-law with a rowdy two-year-old, and a French exchange student for the makings of a laugh-out-loud murder mystery. The antics of the 80-something-year-old Myrtle leaves you holding your breath one minute and shaking your head the next.
“Pretty Is As Pretty Dies” is a cozy mystery that will have you guessing “Who dun ‘it” until the end.
Having never been a gnome person before, they now have a quirky place in my heart. Every time I see one, I’ll wonder what mystery Myrtle is solving now.
Grab a glass of sweet tea and a copy of “Pretty Is As Pretty Dies” for an enjoyable read and a wonderful, witty new character to love.
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