Friday, December 28, 2007

Real Murders - Charlaine Harris

Real Murders
The First Aurora Teagarden Mystery
Charlaine Harris
Berkley Prime Crime


At 28, Aurora (Roe) Teagarden has a nice life in her hometown of Lawrenceton, Georgia. Lawrenceton is a growing suburb of Atlanta, but it’s still small enough that everyone pretty much knows everyone else. Roe has turned her love for books into a career as a librarian; and her fascination with mysteries into a monthly get-together with other members of a club called Real Murders. The twelve members each take it in turn to give a talk about a specific historical murder. This month, it’s Roe’s turn, and she’s got the interesting case of William Herbert Wallace and his murdered wife, Julia.

The club meets at the local VFW, with vice president Mamie Wright arriving early to unlock the building and set up the room. The meeting is just about to start, but Mamie is nowhere to be found, despite the fact that her car is parked outside. Roe goes looking for her, and finds her, dead, in the small kitchen. The scene is horrific. And familiar. Someone clearly staged the scene to mimic the circumstances of the Wallace case. This naturally puts the members of the Real Murders under suspicion, especially given the fact that someone called the pay phone in the hallway, looking for Julia Wallace. As more bodies appear, all arranged to mimic a famous past murder, it’s clear that the club members are not only suspects, they’re also potential victims.

What a great set of circumstances for a mystery. A bunch of people who get together to discuss famous crimes begin to fall victim to similar situations. Each of the members is a viable suspect, including Roe’s friend and her date, the mystery writer, who just happened to show up for the meeting. And there’s Mamie’s husband. As the number of victims increases, the pool of suspects grows. Many mystery readers have anticipated the reprinting of this series for years. I can see why.

Rating: 7 ½
December 2007 (reprint)
ISBN# 978-0-425-21871-6 (paperback)


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