Review: Real Murders by Charlaine Harris (Gollancz)

Aurora Teagarden

If I’m being honest I picked up The Aurora Teagarden Mysteries Omnibus 1 (that’s a tittle and a half) as I fancied something cosy and uncomplicated. I know I’ve prejudged but with a title like that you can’t help it.

And I was half right. It is cosy. It’s told by Aurora Teagarden, that really is her name,  as things happen. At the start she’s a librarian preparing to give her talk at this month’s Real Murders club, where each month a club member presents a real life murder to the rest of the group.

To me this kind of club sounds a bit more interesting than an astronomy club or W.I. meeting. The murders they choose are all cold but before she gets chance a murder is discovered that looks like it’s going to change Aurora’s ‘Roe’s’ life.

I’m saying that looking at a book that contains another three books so she has to stick on her detective hat a few more times.

Not that she turns detective as such in this one. She is kind of in the wrong place at the wrong time quite a lot. It’s a small town setting which helps and it helps that the members of the club all have different backgrounds that gives us a wide range of characters for Roe to interact with though mostly she’s falling over bodies and trying to keep two new romances on the go.

I liked it for its romantic element and her awkwardness in nurturing the start of these relationships. And it was quite a nice distraction to have a little bit of domestic drama being played out around some quite brutal deaths.

I didn’t realise how well Harris hat pitched Roe as a character until her reaction to one of the more gruesome scenes. She might appear to be the analytical detective but she really does have a scared fragile centre (as you would in real life).

There is also twists and turns as Roe works out the pros and cons of each suspect in her own way and Harris gives the reader several of their own suspects only to…. well she ended up surprising me in the end.

It’s not the most realistic novel you’re going to read but then it’s a cosy crime novel as I said at the start. What you do get though is a realistic reaction from the characters and you gain a connection to Roe that made my heart knot more than once.

I feel quite lucky that all I have to do with turn the page to start the next one and see what trouble Aurora Teagarden comes across next.

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