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A Body in the Backyard  By  cover art

A Body in the Backyard

By: Elizabeth Spann Craig
Narrated by: Cathy Schrecongost
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Publisher's summary

It’s just an ordinary day for octogenarian sleuth Myrtle Clover - until her yardman discovers a dead body planted in her backyard. This death isn’t cut and dried - the victim was bashed in the head with one of Myrtle’s garden gnomes.

Myrtle’s friend Miles recognizes the body and identifies him as Charles Clayborne... reluctantly admitting he’s a cousin. Charles wasn’t the sort of relative you bragged about - he was a garden variety sleaze, which is very likely why he ended up murdered. As Myrtle starts digging up dirt to nip the killings in the bud, someone’s focused on scaring her off the case. Myrtle vows to find the murderer... before she’s pushing up daisies, herself.

©2012 Elizabeth Spann Craig (P)2013 Elizabeth Spann Craig

What listeners say about A Body in the Backyard

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

what's a good garden gnome good for anyway?!?!

Octogenarian, Myrtle Clover fills her yard with her favorite garden gnomes as a sign of her displeasure with her across the street neighbor, Red, who is also her son and their small North Carolina's town police chief. He thinks she should live safely in an assisted living facility, and she thinks she should take advantage of the town gossip and her roll as a newspaper reporter, to help solve problems in her town. Unfortunately, someone has decided that one of her gnomes was a good murder weapon, and there's a dead body in her back yard.

This time, the dead body was a scoundrel, who is a distant cousin of her friend and fellow sleuth, Miles. And Myrtle's busybody neighbor announces that Miles must be the murderer. So, once again Myrtle insinuates herself into Red's murder investigation. She's also helped by Red's wife who has taken up photography as her new hobby.

This fun series never fails to amuse me while providing clues to the murder mystery. Wonder which will last longer, Myrtle--now approaching 90, or this mystery series. I'm rooting for both!

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Nice story, narration could have been much better

Would you try another book from Elizabeth Spann Craig and/or Cathy Schrecongost?

I'd try another book by this author but I'd avoid the narrator.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

This wasn't an edge of your seat kind of mystery. It was more a pleasant diversion, brain candy.

What didn’t you like about Cathy Schrecongost’s performance?

There was very little animation. There were parts of this story that would have been laugh out loud funny with the right inflections in the narration. The performance was slow and deliberate. The reading was very obviously just that, reading. It was slow and methodical, no mispronounced words but no emotion. It was a struggle to finish the book.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Probably not.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Laugh city!

cozy-mystery, amateur-sleuth, family-dynamics, humor
Read from May 18, 2014 to September 30, 2016

Crazy fun cozy mystery with truly nutsy characters. Gets you laughing until you can't stop. Great stress buster! The publisher's blurb even gives a hint as to it's comedy.
Kathy Schrecongost gives a decent reading if you have the ability to alter speed to taste.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Myrtle Is Quite the Gal

I love this series! The narrator for this book almost ruined the story for me. Myrtle is always up to something and just loves to snoop. My kind of gal. I wonder what is going to happen with her and Miles, something good I hope. I hope Red doesn't put Myrtle in "the home"! It isn't for everyone.
The narrator is bad, she reads like the book it is a Dick and Jane story. Maddening really, but the story is worth it!

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Please redo this book production!!!

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I like everything about this book series, but I hated this production. While the book is extremely well written and the character of Myrtle Clover is wonderful, the narration makes this production virtually intolerable. The narrator of the previous books in the series was fantastic. The whispery quality of the narrator of this particular book didn't work at all for either the character of Myrtle or the tone of the book. I hope this book can get reproduced with a more appropriate narrator.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

See the review above. The narration ruined this for me.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

I think it would make a much better TV series.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Easy mystery

This time the bodies were in Myrtle's backyard. Mostly consists of Myrtle going around talking to everyone trying to figure out who the murderer is and then her explaining how she figured it out at the end. Some interesting small town characters. If you like small town gossip then you will enjoy the Myrtle Clover mysteries.

The narrator seemed to be whispering the whole time.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Better Pacing in Book 4 of 20+, Myrtle (age 80+)

Myrtle, age 80+, is back to sleuth another murder, this one close to home, in book #4 of 20+ series, marked by colorful characters and better pacing.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Listener received this title free

Different narrator

The books keep getting better as the series progresses. Some laugh out loud moments as this elderly sleuth suspects everyone around her of the murder committed. This gnome loving, horrible cook and her friends find out who "done it" in the end. The narrator was good, just jarring after getting used to the one for the rest of the books.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

not a great narrator

next time get a narrator who can use different voices for the different characters

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Family Drama and Murder

This is the fourth book in the series, and it’s my favorite so far! There are so many twists and turns in this novel, with some family connections revealed that you never, ever would have thought! The mystery is interesting, the characters are fun, and the revelations are shocking.

Myrtle Clover is having a normal day... until her yard man, Dusty, goes to mow her backyard and finds a dead body. Things only get more interesting when Myrtle’s best friend and trusty sidekick, Miles Bradford, reluctantly identifies the body as his cousin Charles. Charles isn’t a resident of Bradley, and he has a bad reputation around town despite being there less than two weeks. As Myrtle drags Miles along on yet another case, their friendship becomes strained. Has Myrtle gone to far and ostracized one of her best friends? And will she be the next one to be found dead?

This book focuses more on Myrtle’s friendship with Miles. They aren’t on the best of terms throughout a good portion of the book, and it is great to see things becoming resolved through solving the mystery. They are a great team, and they are great friends, with no romantic tension at all, which is nice to see. Most people think you can’t have a male-female friendship without romance involved in some way, so it is nice to see that sentiment shared in this series.

If you love Myrtle Clover, pick up this book. But it is not the book to start with. I think you will enjoy the dynamics of this book better if you start with an earlier novel. If you jump in here, you will have no idea who Wanda and Dan are, so some points won’t be as shocking if you don’t know them. The same goes for Elaine and Red, Erma, and Myrtle and Miles. You should know these characters before diving into this book, and the other books are great, so try them first.

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