This past week I have had the flu, and the week before my laptop died. So I have had a lot of free time on my hands. With this time I pretty much just slept, watched tv (46 episodes of "How I Met Your Mother" in two days!), played Tetris on my cell phone, and read. Since I was feeling pretty rotten, I did not have the attention span or energy to read anything terribly complex or serious. Over the summer, I spent a couple of weeks devouring Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse/ Southern Vampire series, now better known as the "True Blood" series, the HBO show is (loosely) based on.
I love a good mystery. I grew up reading Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie novels. When on vacation, I still gravitate towards this genre. I previously hadn't read any other of Harris's novels outside the Sookie set, so I thought I'd give one of her other series a try. I selected the Aurora Teagarden series for a couple of reasons. 1) The protagonist is a librarian in a small southern town (just like I hope to be!) and 2) The first book in the series was available at my favorite used book store.
Real Murders begins with the meeting of a group of people who enjoy studying famous murders from throughout history (such as Lizzie Borden or Jack the Ripper) with an academic eye. As the regular monthly meeting is about to begin, Aurora Teagarden notices one member is missing, even though her car is in the parking lot. Upon investigating the rest of the building Aurora finds the missing woman brutally murdered in a manner that replicates the murder the group was meant to discuss that night. A murder spree thus begins, all of the killings mimicking real life murders from the past. Signs point to different group members, leading up to a shocking finale. All the while, Aurora is trying to balance her job, two potential love interests, and her growing fear that she might be the next victim.
I rather enjoyed this book. Harris is a fun and competent writer. I noticed it with the Sookie books, and I breezed through Real Murders in one afternoon. Aurora is a pleasant character. Not perfect, gorgeous or glamarous in anyway, but kind and intelligent. The story itself was nothing revolutionary, but kept me guessing. It was more grisly than I was expecting, though, since I usually tend to read older, less gory mysteries. Also, Aurora is not much of a detective. She happens upon the crime scenes more than she actually investigates. Despite those minor complaints, I would certainly pick up the second book in the series.