Real Murders, by Charlaine Harris

>> Friday, November 26, 2004

Though I did enjoy Dead Until Dark, the first Charlaine Harris book I read, it didn't inspire me to keep on reading the Southern Vampire series, mainly because I didn't have the stomach for the vampire angle.

However, I'd heard good things about the two mystery series she'd written before that, so I kept an eye out for them. I recently managed to acquire them, and I started with the first book in the Aurora Teagarden series, Real Murders.

Twenty-eight-year-old Aurora (Roe) Teagarden, professional librarian, belongs to the Real Murders club, a group of 12 enthusiasts who gather monthly to study famous baffling or unsolved crimes. As a meeting is to begin, Roe discovers the massacred body of a club member. She recognizes the method of slaughter as imitating the very crime she was to address that night--suddenly her life as armchair sleuth assumes an eerie reality.

The murderer continues to claim victims, each in the style of a different historical killer. Roe herself becomes a target, and also attracts two admirers, Robin Crusoe, a famed mystery writer new to Lawrenceton, and club member/detective Arthur Smith. Death seems to have infused new life into her waning social calendar, an irony not lost on this pensive character.
While this was a quick and pretty easy read, and had an interesting setup, it wasn't nearly as good as I was hoping for. My grade would be a C.

My main problem was that I felt completely disconnected from the characters, especially Roe, even though she was actually the narrator! I even felt zero interest in Roe's love life, in whether she'd end up with Robin or with Arthur. All those dates and kisses only engendered a mild wondering if the one not chosen was going to end up being the murderer, as is so often the case when a heroine has two potential love interests.

I don't know why I felt so cool, really. Harris's all-tell-and-little-show writing style might have something to do with it, but it might also simply be that Roe wasn't too interesting herself.

The murder mystery itself was interesting to me, especially because I've always had a mild sort of fascination with the classic old murder cases. However, I just didn't think we knew enough to make even an educated guess as to who was the culprit, and that's always bad in a mystery novel.

Plus, the very gruesome murders didn't really jive with the tone of the whole thing, which was pretty cozy and light. At first, Roe's reactions were appropriate to the horror of the whole thing, but once things started escalating, I felt she was being a bit too lighthearted.

I have the next one in the series,A Bone To Pick, in my TBR, and it's probably staying there for some time. I'm sure I'll get to it, but Real Murders hasn't made me too anxious to read it...


Post a Comment

Blog template by

Back to TOP