January 11, 2011

Real Murders (Aurora Teagarden Mystery) by Charlaine Harris


This month my town has seen an all time record low in terms of sunshine exposure. Even the local paper is writing about the poor moral caused by grey skies and damp showers that have broken all regional records. If you're a cozy mystery reader like me, however, this is a great opportunity to turn to your stack of lovable whodunits and soak up the perfect atmosphere for detective fiction. After Lily Bard, I was excited to dive into Harris' Aurora Teagarden series:

Aurora, or Roe as everyone calls her, is a small town librarian in the state of Georgia.  She and a group of mismatched locals meet once a month to share their passion for true crime. Their macabre club, Real Murders, boasts autodidacts of infamous cases including Lizzie Borden, Jack the Ripper and Victorian killings, among others. For residents of sleepy Lawrencetown, heinous acts of murder are about as far removed from everyday life as Hollywood...until the day a local crime scene reveals a historic copy-cat  case that only club members recognize. Suddenly the small town finds itself the center of state news as more murders occur. The police are skeptical of the Real Murders clubbut its members see the patterns that each murder reveals. Aurora Teagarden just can't keep herself out of the investigation and triumphs over nosy coworkers, an atypical social life, intimidating policemen, and finally, the guilty party itself.

Aurora Teagarden is one of Charlaine Harris' most likable heroines. As she struggles with social issues linked to love, family and community (universal themes in Harris' novels), we laugh with her (not at her!) in true Harris style. Although I enjoyed the Lily Bard mysteries, the Aurora Teagarden series boasts a better atmosphere if you appreciate cozy mysteries in a more classic, Gothic sense.  I was impressed that after publishing two stand-alone novels, these mysteries completed Charlaine Harris' very first series. 


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