Real Murders (Aurora Teagarden, Book 1)
by Charlaine Harris
Cover Artist: Judith Lagerman
Review by Gayle Surrette
Berkley Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425218716
Date: 04 December 2007 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Aurora "Roe" Teagarden works as a librarian in her hometown of Lawrenceton, Georgia. She is also the building manager for the townhouse community she lives in that her mother owns. But, Roe has a passion -- it's crime. So, she's a member of Real Murder, a group that meets monthly to discuss a real murder and whether they believe the murderer was indeed caught or who the murderer could be. It's all interesting and harmless intellectual fun until someone starts to murder the members of Real Murders and setting up the scenes to match historical cases. Now it's a case of finding the murderer before he or she kills again.
Originally published in 1990, the Aurara Teagarden Mysteries are being re-released. I, for one, am very glad to see these books again. Unlike many people who read mysteries and can remember tiny details years later, I'm lucky if I remember that I read the book, which explains why I end up with so many of the same book with new covers. So, this was like reading a "new" book.
As with so many of Harris's plots, there are layers upon layers, red herrings, and no one is quite as you, or the major character, believed. It's a bit slower to develop than the more recent works by Harris but well worth the reading. Roe Teagarden is a character that has potential for growth and change. She's definitely a woman of the South in that weird time where women were closer to Mary Tyler Moore's Mary Richards, than X-Files's Dana Scully. Basically, you can relate to her problems of working full time, babysitting her step-brother, wondering what to wear on a first date, and missing her close friend who has recently moved away. She's an every-woman who has found herself in a situation that is out of the ordinary and requires her to call upon strengths she didn't know she had.
So if like me, you can't remember whether you read this when it first came out, or don't remember who did it -- give it a try. And even if you remember everything you've ever read in detail -- visit the 90's and spend some time with Roe, it's time well spent.