Book Review: Pretty Is As Pretty Dies by Elizabeth Spann Craig

Pretty Is As Pretty Dies is the first book in the Myrtle Clover cosy mystery series by Elizabeth Spann Craig.

Quick Review (read on for full review)

A captivating first book in a series, with a fabulous main character in Myrtle and an interesting mystery. Entertaining, fast-paced and fun.  5 / 5

Summary (from Wattpad)

Pretty on the outside may not mean pretty on the inside.

Parke Stockard was certainly sitting pretty.  Blessed with good looks and business sense to boot, she should have been content.

Instead, Parke makes trouble in her small town.  When retired octogenarian schoolteacher Myrtle Clover discovers her body, no one in Bradley is particularly upset.

Myrtle decides to show up her police chief son and investigate the crime herself.  And, just in time to play detective, she meets a widower newcomer who proves the perfect sidekick.

Favourite Quote

Telling yourself to go to sleep wasn’t any good when you weren’t used to following orders.

(Pretty Is As Pretty Dies by Elizabeth Spann Craig, Chapter 10)


The Myrtle Clover series of books is one of my favourites.  I love Myrtle – she’s like Miss Marple, but far more cheeky and a lot less subtle in her sleuthing.

Unusually for me, I am reading these books out of order.  So, after reading books four, five and six, I have decided to go back to the beginning and read book one.  The fact that I am happy to read these stories out of sequence tells me that these books work perfectly well as standalone reads as well as part of a series, a point I always think it is worth making.  Not everyone has the time to dedicate to a new-to-them book series.

Pretty Is As Pretty Dies is a captivating first book in a series.  I enjoyed going back to see how Myrtle began her sleuthing, and to discover how she found the perfect sidekick in Miles.  The supporting characters, from Myrtle’s neighbour Erma to Crazy Dan and the psychic, Wanda, make this a well-rounded, and always amusing, read.

I love the way Myrtle chooses to show her displeasure towards her son, Red, when he’s done something she doesn’t like: she fills her front garden with dozens of gnomes.  And, seeing as though he lives across the street, it’s a bold statement he cannot avoid seeing.

The mystery was interesting and entertaining; you will probably guess whodunnit before the reveal, but the getting there is fun.  The story is also fast-faced as we move along with Myrtle’s investigation and watch as she deals with the red herrings that Red deliberately puts in her path.

This is light-hearted escapism at its best.  If you like your cosy mysteries fast paced and fun, but you’ve yet to meet Myrtle Clover, I can’t recommend this series to you highly enough.



4 thoughts on “Book Review: Pretty Is As Pretty Dies by Elizabeth Spann Craig

  1. Pingback: Bookish Reflections – July 2019 | Sammi Loves Books

    • I’m terrible for impulse book-buying. It’s far too easy…

      And I’ve recently lost my own list. Usually it’s in a mini notebook I keep in my bag so I’ve always got it with me, but somehow I’ve managed to lose it. Where? I have no idea. So I’ve got to remember what was on it…I don’t fancy my chances at recalling them all 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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