A Dyeing Shame by Elizabeth Spann Craig is a truly cozy mystery, starring an octogenarian old woman who is a retired English teacher. Small town life isn’t sitting too well on bored old Myrtle, until her hairdresser is found stabbed.
Myrtle Clover lives in a small old house opposite her son’s. Her son is the police chief and she has an infant grandson. Neighbor and friend Miles lives next door and shares her insomnia. Myrtle is too bored with the same old events taking place in her small southern town. The threat of having to live in a retirement community is never too far away. She is bent on proving her independence and mental agility to her son, who is quick to get irritated by her antics. Tammy Smith, hairdresser and owner of the Beauty Box has been indulging a bit too much. She is on a roll, blurting out everyone’s secrets. Her meek employee is trying hard to get some praise. Niece Kat is also fed up with the new cranky Tammy. Myrtle’s friend Agnes is not too pleased that her son is dating this alcoholic woman. Many long dormant secrets are threatened, and more than one person is in fear of losing their hard earned social standing.
Until Tammy is found stabbed to death!
Myrtle gleefully takes on the task of finding Tammy’s murderer, against all warnings from the sheriff. The whole investigation is logical. Other than a few lines describing how Tammy is found dead, there is no blood and gore here. It is all truly cozy. In fact, as you read this book, you might even forget that it is all about solving a murder.
Myrtle seems to have a lot of energy in spite of her age. She is diligent about watching her favorite soap and also finds parallels in her own life. She gets along well with her daughter in law, and is not a meddlesome creature. She quotes Kipling and Stevenson and is adept at producing fainting spells when needed.
A Dyeing Shame is a fun and light read, and the only shame here will be if you don’t read it.