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Poppy Done to Death: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery [Hardcover]

Charlaine Harris
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 2 2003 Aurora Teagarden Mysteries (Book 8)
On the way to a lunch meeting of her local book discussion group, the Uppity Women, small-town Southern librarian Aurora "Roe" Teagarden is shocked and dismayed to find her sister-in-law Poppy lying bloody and dead right outside her own back door. Poppy had her flaws, certainly-she and her husband were having trouble staying faithful to each other-but she didn't deserve to be so brutally murdered.

Investigating a case like this is never easy, of course, given the gossipy atmosphere of any small town, what with Poppy and her husband's extramarital affairs, the local police detective (who also happens to be a former boyfriend of Roe's) and his seemingly unresolved feelings for Poppy, and the need to protect Poppy's family. But Roe is also coping with a burgeoning romantic relationship as well as the sudden appearance of her teenaged half brother. All in all, it's a lot for one woman to have on her plate, even one as together as Roe.

Longtime readers and new fans alike will delight in Roe's exploits as she employs her impeccable knowledge of small town politics and enchanting Southern charm to solve the crime in this wonderful installment of Charlaine Harris' terrific cozy series.

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From Booklist

Thirtysomething Aurora "Roe" Teagarden is a widow who lives in a small southern town where she works very part-time in the library. It's the sort of place where everyone seems to be divorced from everyone else. Roe finds her stepbrother's wife, Poppy, murdered, and the complicated extramarital escapades of both Poppy and Poppy's husband unfold in an unpleasant fashion throughout the tale. Meanwhile, Roe's teenage half-brother has hitchhiked across the country to Roe to escape his parents' wrangling; Roe's mystery-writer boyfriend, Robin, is bringing his mom to meet her over Thanksgiving; and more and more people turn out to have had reason to wish Poppy dead. Roe is a genuine steel magnolia: even when she suffers from terminal second-guessing of herself, she knows what's proper and what a lady would do--and, mostly, she does it. Entertaining fare, but very different from Harris' darker Lily Bard series. GraceAnne DeCandido
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"A series that just might surpass all her others." Booklist "An author of rare talents." Publishers Weekly "Paranormal mystery at its best." The Romantic Times" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Is Roe Running Out of Steam? June 4 2004
By Sires
Format:Hardcover
If anyone seriously thinks that Harris writes cozy mysteries then they are not paying attention when they read. The author who writes the edgy Lily Bard mysteries and the Sookie Stackhouse stories, has never been one to allow her characters more than time to catch their breath between disasters. Whether it was the death involved with the true crime group she was a member of in the first mystery to her subsequent detective efforts, Aurora has lost friends, neighbors and enemies to the grim reaper. Harris never lets the reader assume that there is a Happily Ever After ending out there. Good things are balanced with bad.
In this case Aurora loses an old friend and a new one, learns things about the murdered person and her family she would just as soon not know and there are still a lot of loose strings after the murderer is revealed to fuel the next book.
I enjoyed the characters and the writing but it almost seems that the mystery was an afterthought. I guessed who the murdered was on first introduction (off stage). Harris gave away the important clues with the very nonchalant air with which she introduces them. The denoument was almost anticlimatic. The death in this case seemed to be more a peg on which to hang the characters and events than the reason for the existence of the book.
Not bad, but she's done (and hopefully will do) better.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific cozy Aug. 5 2003
Format:Hardcover
Lawrenceton, Georgia librarian Aurora Teagarden is adjusting to widowhood just fine now that the worst of her grief is over. She is romantically involved with Robin Crusoe and is now a member of the Uppity Women, a prestigious group of females involved with literacy, and other social and political matters. It is by invitation only and Aurora is delighted that her stepsister-in-law Poppy is going to be inducted into the group.
She is positively mortified when Poppy doesn't show up to the meeting and rushes over to her home to lecture her, but instead finds her murdered body on the Kitchen floor. Poppy had many secrets and Aurora's family is trying to cope with the gossip and scandal. Roe is happy to find that her half brother Phillip is going to stay with her a while even though that puts more stress on her. While his presence takes her mind off the tragedy temporarily, she is pulled into the murder investigation by circumstances beyond her control and almost gets killed in the process.
Charlaine Harris has taken her heroine in a completely different direction and readers will be happy to see the protagonist find the double dose of happiness she so richly deserves. There is a lot of action in this delightful cozy, and not all of it is directed at solving the homicide. Roe gets a chance to become reacquainted with the brother she was forbidden to see for some time and helps her in-laws and her mother cope with a loved one's death. POPPY DONE TO DEATH is a terrific cozy, one readers will want to put on their keeper shelves.
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4.0 out of 5 stars fun character and entertaining Oct. 24 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
The more I read Charlaine Harris the more I appreciate a quirky sense of style. Great series with a charming main character.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  54 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific cozy Aug. 5 2003
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Lawrenceton, Georgia librarian Aurora Teagarden is adjusting to widowhood just fine now that the worst of her grief is over. She is romantically involved with Robin Crusoe and is now a member of the Uppity Women, a prestigious group of females involved with literacy, and other social and political matters. It is by invitation only and Aurora is delighted that her stepsister-in-law Poppy is going to be inducted into the group.
She is positively mortified when Poppy doesn't show up to the meeting and rushes over to her home to lecture her, but instead finds her murdered body on the Kitchen floor. Poppy had many secrets and Aurora's family is trying to cope with the gossip and scandal. Roe is happy to find that her half brother Phillip is going to stay with her a while even though that puts more stress on her. While his presence takes her mind off the tragedy temporarily, she is pulled into the murder investigation by circumstances beyond her control and almost gets killed in the process.
Charlaine Harris has taken her heroine in a completely different direction and readers will be happy to see the protagonist find the double dose of happiness she so richly deserves. There is a lot of action in this delightful cozy, and not all of it is directed at solving the homicide. Roe gets a chance to become reacquainted with the brother she was forbidden to see for some time and helps her in-laws and her mother cope with a loved one's death. POPPY DONE TO DEATH is a terrific cozy, one readers will want to put on their keeper shelves.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is Roe Running Out of Steam? June 4 2004
By Sires - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
If anyone seriously thinks that Harris writes cozy mysteries then they are not paying attention when they read. The author who writes the edgy Lily Bard mysteries and the Sookie Stackhouse stories, has never been one to allow her characters more than time to catch their breath between disasters. Whether it was the death involved with the true crime group she was a member of in the first mystery to her subsequent detective efforts, Aurora has lost friends, neighbors and enemies to the grim reaper. Harris never lets the reader assume that there is a Happily Ever After ending out there. Good things are balanced with bad.
In this case Aurora loses an old friend and a new one, learns things about the murdered person and her family she would just as soon not know and there are still a lot of loose strings after the murderer is revealed to fuel the next book.
I enjoyed the characters and the writing but it almost seems that the mystery was an afterthought. I guessed who the murdered was on first introduction (off stage). Harris gave away the important clues with the very nonchalant air with which she introduces them. The denoument was almost anticlimatic. The death in this case seemed to be more a peg on which to hang the characters and events than the reason for the existence of the book.
Not bad, but she's done (and hopefully will do) better.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A series to fill the Sookie-void May 15 2010
By Dee18 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Once again Charlaine has a thoroughly ordinary female protagonist repeatedly thrown into extraordinary circumstances. Aurora is perhaps the most outwardly hum-drum of all of Charlaine's protagonists; she is a librarian, complete with modest cardigans and horn-rimmed glasses. But don't let appearances (or occupation) fool you. Aurora is just as interesting and lovable as Charlaine's other leading ladies, maybe even more so because she is aware and makes fun of her outwardly plain-Jane appearances. Like Lily, Sookie and Harper, Aurora is an appealing protagonist because despite self-doubt, when push-comes-to-shove Aurora becomes a brave and ballsy heroine.

There is a lot of suspended belief in the Aurora series - throughout 8 books we are expected to believe that Aurora just keeps stumbling and unwittingly becoming involved in all the murders around town. But because Charlaine beautifully incorporates the bizarre with the mundane of Aurora's everyday life, and because she constantly makes a joke of the coincidences, you really don't mind the improbability inherent in the series.

`Aurora' is a fascinating series if you're coming to them after reading Harris's `Sookie Stackhouse' books. Aurora is surprisingly similar to Sookie; both are women whom, at the start of their respective series, are really unaware of their femininity and have lived fairly sheltered lives. Sookie has been a loner because of her telepathic `handy-cap', and Aurora because of low self-confidence and a focus on her work. Throughout their series both Aurora and Sookie are put through trials and tribulations that force them to come out of their shells and measure their mettle. But perhaps the ladies biggest connection lies in their romantic lives. As you compare both series you can pinpoint certain consistencies between the romantic entanglements. In both series Charlaine prefers multiple possible partners for her leading ladies, and enjoys keeping readers guessing as to whom they will ultimately end up with. In the `Aurora' and `Sookie' books Charlaine also puts her heroines through the romantic ringer - be warned, there are up's and down's that will tug at your heartstrings as you live vicariously through Aurora.

Unlike Sookie, Aurora has a tight family unit. This is really Charlaine's only series that explores family dynamics and it is refreshing to read Charlaine's funny take on family matters.

Once again, the `Aurora' books are definitely murder-mystery. Charlaine has a very devious mind when it comes to writing crime, and it is a tricky pleasure to try and figure out the `whodunnit' along with Aurora. But `Sookie Stackhouse' fans should once again be warned that there is no element of urban fantasy in Charlaine's debut series.

With a whopping 8 books in the series, Charlaine Harris has said in interviews that she has more ideas for Aurora Teagarden, but can't see herself finding the time between Sookie books to pen a 9th novel. This is a shame. The eighth `Aurora' book (`Poppy done to Death') did have a certain open-endedness to it - not so that it frustrates and leaves readers hanging, but just enough that you'll wish Charlaine would continue with the series.

I don't love the `Aurora Teagarden' books as much as Harris's `Lily Bard', `Sookie Stackhouse' or `Harper Connelly' series'. But I do love them. I love Aurora, I love her leading men and I highly recommend this series to anyone who loves Charlaine's writing and a good murder-mystery.

5/5
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars There will be spoilers here July 27 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This series started incredibly slowly for me, but once I got into it I just couldn't put these books down. I read them all, one right after the other. The last two books were a pretty big disappointment. I'd really started to like Roe, but the whining, why me, woe is me attitude she picks up after Martin's death is tiresome. She gets absolutely everything she wants, every item, every bit of information, and every man. Yet she complains and is unhappy. Martin's character at least, had personality. Robin is so far beyond dull that it's laughable the way Roe reacts to him. Especially after claiming she was so desperately in love with Martin for so long and describing how hard she had grieved for him.

There's absolutely no resolution of the situation with her father and brother, the thing I was most interested to learn in this book. The paternity of Poppy's son is skipped right over once the murderer has been discovered. I personally feel this was a horrible ending to an interesting series. The 'everyone gets a super happy ending' feeling nearly ruined the entire series for me. If there were going to be more installments I'd have rated this book higher, as it is I feel I was short-changed.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and addictive - as always! Aug. 2 2009
By Rebecca L. Walker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
As with all the books in this series - and in Charlaine Harris's other series for that matter! - this book was entertaining and addictive. I stayed up to 2 am to finish it! Luckily it is the weekend so I could do that.

My only concern, there are no more books in this series! I hope her publisher signs her up for a few more because there were 2 very important - oh! make that 3 - story lines started in this book that I want to know what happens next! I always hate it when the reviews give too much of the story away, so I won't spoil the book for you by telling you what they are, but they are certainly surprising!

My recommendation - buy the book, heck buy the whole series! The first book does start a bit slow, but after that you get to know the characters and their quirks plus Ms Harris's humor is wonderful. You will enjoy them all.
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