PRETTY IS AS PRETTY DIES by Elizabeth Spann Craig


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An octogenarian solves a murder to prove a point.

Bradley, N.C., is home to retired schoolteacher Myrtle Clover, who lives across the street from her son Red, the police chief—and to two former New York Times writers, Parke Stockard and Josh Tucker. Josh has returned home to be closer to his parents, Parke to make a bundle as a real-estate developer. Despite her many contributions to town affairs, Parke may be the most disliked woman in Bradley. Even Myrtle is annoyed at her because her newspaper column has been cut in order to give Parke more space. Parke’s pushy business methods bring her no friends, and her interference in church and town politics have made her even more enemies. So it’s only the venue that’s a surprise when Myrtle discovers Parke’s body on the church altar. Tired of being treated like a child by Red, Myrtle is eager to try her hand at sleuthing. When she’s shoved into a pond, she’s merely encouraged to believe that her detective work is annoying someone besides her son, who’s furiously trying to find something to distract her. Myrtle may be old, but she’s not stupid. A combination of luck and talent leads her to the mystery’s solution after the obligatory brush with death.

Craig’s debut is a mildly amusing sample of small-town Southern hospitality, awash with sweet tea and fried food.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7387-1480-6
Page count: 216pp
Publisher: Midnight Ink/Llewellyn
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2009