After my disappointment with the crime e-short, Agatha Raisin: Hell’s Bells by M. C. Beaton, I happily found the cosy-crime fix I wanted over the Christmas break in Progressive Dinner Deadly by Elizabeth Spann Craig. A freebie that has lay forgotten in the deepest, darkest recess of my Kindle’s to-be-read folder for many years! which turned out to be the second Myrtle Clover Mystery – I didn’t realise this when I started reading it, oops!
Oh well, fortunately, this turned out to be a good, standalone mystery, that follows the second amateur investigation of the cantankerous, retired teacher, Myrtle Clover in the small, sleepy town of Bradley, North Carolina. When the hardworking cleaner, Jill Caulfield is found to have been bludgeoned to death in her kitchen by the members of the new, progressive dinner club, who were hoping for dessert not death!
But who on Earth would want to kill the practically saintly Jill? She volunteered at the women’s shelter; worked at the church preschool, cleaned houses for extra money, and actually enjoyed yard work. Plus she cheerfully put up with her unemployed, skirt-chasing, boozer of a husband. Yet our octogenarian sleuth, Myrtle knows that Jill was not the squeaky-clean goody-two-shoes that everyone thought she was, after Myrtle found her rummaging around in her medicine cabinet, when she hired her to clean.
Soon a long list of colourful characters become suspects and Myrtle’s life seems to be in danger, as she unsubtly starts snooping about; asking questions and generally sticking her nose in where it is not wanted! Much to the annoyance of her police chief son, Red and her neighbour, Miles: her reluctant sidekick. As the mystery grows and Myrtle unlocks more clues the story trips along nicely and the tension builds well. Culminating in a dramatic climax, especially as I sussed the murdered just before Myrtle does and I was like ‘nooooo’!
So overall, I thought Progressive Dinner Deadly was the cosy, crime-fiction I was looking for, to escape away to in my quiet moments in all the crazy busyness of the festive period. I should perhaps go back and check out the first book now! Good read.
I’d love to hear your thoughts: Have you read this? Have you read any of the other Myrtle Clover mysteries?
This book ticked off my ‘a meal’ category for What’s in a Name 2019.