As a newcomer to the world of Charlaine Harris, I began reading with an open mind and high expectations due to the excitement that has previously surrounded her novels. The first mystery in the series is ‘Real Murders’. The reader follows the life of a young female librarian, Aurora Teagarden; an unlikely character to have avid interest in historical murders. Aurora is easy to warm to, as her fascination in murder is contrasted with her plain appearance and nervous disposition.
The plot moves slowly and simply through the first part of the book, following the brutal murder of a member of Real Murders; the club that Aurora belongs to in which they exchange stories and views on high profile murders. Harris doesn’t over embellish her writing, often making the chilling subject matter appear comical and light hearted. However, this style makes the storytelling itself seem realistic, in a way that murder mysteries of this kind occasionally are not.
The mood darkens as it becomes clear that the death of the club’s vice president was not an isolated case, and Aurora becomes more involved in solving the mystery. Nothing is left for the reader to realise for themselves, as Harris details every aspect and possibility of the developing plot. This makes for an easy read and certainly not a challenging one. As Aurora comes closer to discovering the member of her small community responsible for the horrifying, copy-cat murders, she enters herself and her family into situations far more dangerous than her character at the beginning of the book could have imagined. The murders she has read about become real life, and are more frightening than the reader expects Aurora to cope with. The ending, as in any mystery worth reading, is an exciting and unexpected conclusion to an enjoyable read.
The Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Omnibus 1, is a series of four stories; Real Murders, A Bone to Pick, Three Bedrooms One Corpse and The Julius House.
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