A Body in the Backyard by Elizabeth Spann Craig

An octogenarian discovers a body in her backyard and investigates.

A body in the backyard

Extreme gardening often involves gnomes and planted bodies…

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.

Genre: FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths

Secondary Genre: FICTION / Mystery & Detective / General

Language: English

Keywords: cozy mystery, senior sleuth, cozy mysteries with cats

Word Count: 58,957

Sales info:

Readers love Myrtle – over 1500 4 and 5 star reviews for the series.

Amazon: 626 customer reviews for the book, 248 were 5-star (verified purchases)

GoodreadsA Body in the Backyard has 1238 ratings and 96 reviews.

Praise for Myrtle Clover Mysteries:

Publishers Weekly: “Myrtle’s wacky personality is a delight.”

Mystery News: “Wonderful cozy mystery: solidly written, well-plotted and funny.”

ForeWord: “The treat here is Myrtle’s eccentricity, brought to life with rich humor and executed …with breezy skill.”

“I hope I’m half as lively as she is when I reach my 80’s..” Amazon Reviewer

“Sassy and funny as ever” Amazon Reviewer

“Myrtle is a feisty lady and I enjoy her wit and ability to figure out who done it.” Amazon Reviewer

Sample text:

Myrtle’s ancient yardman opened up the back door, not bothering to wipe his boots on the mat, and trampled through the kitchen and living room all the way to Myrtle’s front door.

Dusty was completely incompetent as a yardman, but this degree of sloppiness was a stretch, even for him. His wife, Puddin, was equally appalled. She was resentfully slapping a dust rag at Myrtle’s coffee table when she stopped and stared at the red mud tracking in behind her husband. “Hey!” she shouted. “I ain’t cleaning that up, Dusty! You get back here! You can clean up yer own messes.”

Dusty was reaching for the door handle when Myrtle bellowed, “Your shoes, Dusty! And, you haven’t finished the backyard yet! It still looks like a jungle back there.”

Dusty glared at Myrtle, and gave a mumbling mutter in response.

“I wish you wouldn’t use tobacco products on the job, Dusty. For one thing, it means you’ll die and then I’ll have to find myself yet another sorry yardman. For another, I can’t hear a word you say. It sounded like you said ‘dead body,’ for heaven’s sake.”

   He scowled at her before carefully pushing the wad of chewing tobacco to the side with his tongue. “Dead body! In yer backyard. Getting Red.”

Dusty yanked open Myrtle’s front door and started loping across her gnome-filled front yard toward Red’s house. Red was Myrtle’s son, neighbor, and chief of police of the small town of Bradley, North Carolina. He was insufferable when it came to getting into Myrtle’s personal business and he wasn’t at all fond of Myrtle’s hobby of crime fighting.

Considering Dusty would have reported the crime in mere seconds, Myrtle had to act fast if she were to investigate this murder in her own backyard before being pushed out of the way. 

Book translation status:

The book is available for translation into any language except those listed below:

Already translated. Translated by Daniela Maizner and Theresia Fink
Already translated. Translated by Valeria Poropat
Already translated. Translated by Cinta Garcia de la Rosa

Would you like to translate this book? Make an offer to the Rights Holder!