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From Publishers Weekly
An ingenious plot and sufficient flow of blood keep the pages flying in Harris's ( Sweet and Deadly ) third novel, as a series of killings patterned after celebrated murders is perpetrated on the small community of Lawrenceton, Ga. 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. Harris draws the guilty and the innocent into an engrossing tale while inventing a heroine as capable and potentially complex as P. D. James's Cordelia Gray.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
YA-- Someone is killing the crime buffs of the Real Murders Society in Lawrenceton, Georgia. A librarian, Aurora Teagarden, sets out to catch the brutal murderer after fellow club members end up as victims. The uncanny resemblances to famous crimes challenge Roe and her two admirers, policeman Arthur Smith and mystery writer Robin Crusoe, to pursue the criminal. The lighthearted, witty handling of characters contrasts with the heightening suspense as Aurora seeks clues by searching past mysteries for the killer's identity--until she is caught in the sadistic web of terror herself. Clever pacing along with ample red herrings and judiciously placed clues keep Harris's story moving briskly. Let's hope for another fast-paced mystery featuring Aurora and her friends.
- Mary T. Gerrity, Queen Anne School, Upper Marlboro,
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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This is a fun, short, easy mystery read that I sat down and read in a couple of hours. Roe is a likeable character whom most readers will relate to as being in her shoes at one time of their lives or another. The other characters are also fairly interesting, but not as fully fleshed out as I would like. Charlaine Harris doesn't really present the plot in such a way where you would be able to solve the mystery on your own with the clues presented so the ending has a surprise twist, but it was a nicely paced story. The romantic subplots were a little perfunctory, but added a nice touch to the story. I enjoyed this book, and I would recommend it, but I really loved the Lily Bard series and highly recommend those books. Keep in mind that most of the Aurora Teagarden and Lily Bard books are out of print, but they are worth hunting down - especially the Lily Bard series!
This book is more of a whodunit and it's got a fabulous premise: the Real Murders club is for people who are interested in true crime and get together to learn about various murders of the past together; then people start dying in ways that are obviously intended to re-create famous murders of the past...leading to the conclusion that the murderer happens to be a member of the club.
I don't think that the execution is nearly as good as the hook, however; maybe I don't read enough mystery novels, but I wasn't spotting the clues. The murderer seemed to remain a mystery for most of the novel because there were good reasons to suspect almost everyone and no reason to suspect one person more than another.
That being said, I still thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone else.
The club decides not to meet anymore, but it seems it is too late. Another murder takes place, this time copying another famous killing. Who is doing it? Is it the new neighbor and famous writer Robin Crusoe? Police officer Arthur Smith? Well, considering Roe is going out with both of them, she hopes not. But it could be anyone, and time is running out!
I loved this book, and it kept me guessing till the end. Don't forget to read the rest in this series. Next is A Bone To Pick: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery, Book 2, followed by Three Bedrooms, One Corpse: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery, The Julius House: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery, Bk. 4, Dead Over Heels: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery, Bk. 5, Fool And His Honey: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery, Bk. 6, Last Scene Alive (Aurora Teagarden Mysteries), and Poppy Done To Death: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery, Bk. 8.
Or if you'd like to try a different series by Charlaine Harris, check out the Lily Bard mysteries.(Shakespeare's Landlord (The First Lily Bard Mystery), "Shakespeare's Champion", Shakespeare's Christmas", "Shakespeare's Trollop", and Shakespeare's Counselor")
Or her new supernatural Southern Vampire Mysteries (Dead Until Dark (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Bk. 1), "Living Dead in Dallas", "Club Dead", "Dead to the World", "Dead as a Doornail", "Definitely Dead", and "All Together Dead")
Real Murders is the first installment of Aurora's sleuthing adventures, and it is so 1990s it was giving me all the nostalgic feels. No internet! Phones on CORDS attached to WALLS! Not to mention Aurora's fashion sense. *wink* Aurora (also called Roe) is all of 4'11" with coke-bottle glasses and a mass of hair she usually keeps tame with a braid...quiet and bookish and perfectly ordinary. She's content with her lot in life until her existence is upended with a terrifying splash of murder, the likes of which she's only found in her true crime books. Her passion for history and mystery met its outlet in the Real Murders Club, a diverse group of locals who met once a month to discuss a historical murder case or related crime-solving topic. But when one of the club members turns up dead, the body staged to mimic that meeting's topic -- the Julia Wallace murder -- Roe's amateur passion for murder casts an unwelcome and all too real shadow over her carefully ordered life. Soon the perpetually-single Aurora is juggling not one but two potential boyfriends, all while wondering which member of her criminally savvy fellow club members decided to take their passion for history's more gruesome chapters and bring it to life in her hometown...and where, and how, would they strike next?
If you're craving the mystery equivalent of comfort food, Real Murders contains all the ingredients to satisfy one's craving for a mystery cozy -- a plucky heroine, a quirky small town, a dash of romantic possibility, and a few red herrings. Roe is a likable lead, if not particularly well-rounded, and the supporting players are typical of the assortment that normally populates stories of this ilk -- the flirt, the jock, etc. While not particularly groundbreaking Real Murders is an altogether pleasant way with which to while away a few hours. It may lack some of the finesse of a Christie novel, but it more than makes up for any predictability with its action-packed final act. This series has promise, and its premise makes it perfect material for a series of telefilms, all guaranteeing I'll revisit Aurora's world soon!