Charlaine Harris has another series aside from True Blood and my roommate gave me the first two books in it. Even though I didn’t care for Dead Until Dark, I do like Charlaine Harris’s writing style. I don’t care for first person usually, but hers doesn’t bother me. It seemed like a good idea to give her cozy mystery series featuring Aurora “Roe” Teagarden a try.
Again, I found it to be pretty okay. I liked them well enough, but I’m not so involved in the series that I feel compelled to read the next one in the series (and probably won’t).
Real Murders, the first in the series, kicks off with a real murder at a meeting of Real Murders, a group that gets together once a month and discusses real murder cases from the past, with every member having their “specialty”. As the book progresses, the bodies pile up, each murder done to mimic a murder from the past and incriminating evidence showing up that connects the murders to members of the Real Murders group. Add in Roe Teagarden’s suddenly burgeoning personal life and the librarian’s uncanny ability to be where the action is, and it’s a real page turner to the end.
A Bone to Pick sees Roe inheriting both a house and a mystery from friend and fellow former Real Murders member Jane. After finding a skull in Jane’s window seat, Roe begins her investigation into who it belongs to and why Jane had it…and who killed the owner of it. Naturally, Roe also finds herself dealing with her personal life, including her mother’s new marriage, her former boyfriend’s marriage and impending fatherhood, and a new relationship with a minister as well as a sudden influx of inherited cash and prizes.
I liked the first book better than the second one. The idea of someone copying real murders was intriguing and I felt like I could relate to the group because I recognized the murders that were copied. Sure, most people have heard of Lizzie Borden, but the murder of Julia Wallace isn’t quite as well known. I felt like the first one was more satisfying in the end, too.
The second one did have a Real Murders moment between Roe and her new stepfather who was a former member of the club as well. The case they discussed at dinner was another one that I recognized, but I think most people wouldn’t. My bizarre knowledge acquisitions are finally starting to pay off! But the way this book wrapped up it was kind of like, “Oh. Okay, then.” Really, the whole mystery of the skull sometimes felt like a B-story. Even when Roe was actively thinking about it, it felt weak.
Roe isn’t bad as a lead character for the series. She’s likable and smart and fallible. Her need for a man and desire to be married is a little annoying, but that’s more on me than the character, I think.
Still, they’re both pretty good books and if you’re looking for quick reads in the cozy mystery genre, these would do you right.