Since I am eternally on a wait list for the 3rd book of the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mystery Series by Charlaine Harris, I decided to switch over to one of her other series. I picked up Real Murders, book one of the Aurora Teagarden mystery books.
First line: “Tonight, I want to tell you about that most fascinating of murder mysteries, the Wallace case,” I told my mirror Enthusiastically.
Real Murders is set in a small town in Georgia. The heroine, Aurora Teagarden, is the local librarian as well as a member of a unique club called Real Murders. The club meets once a week to discuss famous historical murder cases. One person presents the facts and the rest of the group discusses motive, psychology and validity of the if-rendered guilty verdict. Although the monthly topics seem grim, things aren’t really too horrible until Aurora “Roe” finds one of the club members dead at their meeting hall. Soon someone in the small town starts a murder spree in a copy-cat format of previous, famous killings, while setting up the Real Murders group members as either potential victims or suspects.
I fell in love with Charlaine Harris’ storytelling with the Sookie Stackhouse books, and Real Murders only reinvigorated my joy of her books. Her characters are never too stylized or caricaturish. They are very natural. Even the heroines, Sookie and Aurora, are average women. They have average looks, work average jobs, but somehow find themselves in above average situations. Since this is the first in the series, I think many of the characters were developed just as an introduction, and might be expanded on in more detail in the following books. The writing is sharp and witty. Harris does not use curse words in her work, and this book stayed on the PG-13 side in terms of violent scenes as well as the more romantic scenes. I would feel very comfortable recommending this book to the young adults at the library. This book had a completely different feel from the Sookie Stackhouse series, which I think is a great benefit to the author. Mysteries can become very formulaic after a while, but this series has caught my attention. It helps that the main character is a librarian. I’ve since started looking for mysteries in my hometown, hoping something out of the ordinary would happen, resulting my investigation of clues. No such luck as of yet, but I am keeping my eyes peeled.
FINAL GRADE: AReal Murders, Aurora Teagarden Myesteries, Book 1
by Charlaine Harris Berkeley Prime Crime, 1990 ISBN 0425218716 290 pages