Myrtle Clover is a compulsive sleuth, despite her policeman son’s disapproval, and when a body is found in her backyard, clubbed to death with a Viking garden gnome, Myrtle cannot resist the opportunity to investigate, especially when the victim turns out to be the black sheep of her friend Miles’ family.
Despite the murderous nature of the subject matter this is a very light hearted novel, quite humourous in places, and a cosy, easy read.
Craig’s strength lies in the characterisation and the dialogue. I very much enjoyed meeting the lazy cleaner and yard man, Dusty and Puddin, Myrtle’s annoying neighbour, Erma Sherman, the mad psychic from the hills and a rich selection of folk from Myrtle’s neighbourhood.
The one thing that jars (and I note that other reviewers have mentioned this) is the seemingly very large age gaps between Myrtle, her son Red, and his little boy. Myrtle is – as is made clear several times – nearly ninety and her grandson seems to be about 3 or 4, which means that the good folk of North Carolina like to spawn at the last moment. I guess that’s not unusual, but I think the author missed a trick in not slotting another generation in.
Honestly, it’s not going to win the Booker Prize, but it’s entertaining, kept me amused and kept me reading. I can’t say fairer than that.