Review of “Real Murders” by Charlaine Harris

This was only Harris’s third book ever, and I think it’s clear she had not yet hit her stride.

Aurora Teagarden (called Roe by everyone, which is a shame with such a pretty name) is a 28-year-old librarian in Lawrenceton, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. She belongs to a book club called Real Murders, which meets once a month to discuss famous crimes of the past. Soon, club members start dying in ways that replicate these famous crimes. Since these book club members are quite interested in such things, those who aren’t getting killed are trying to solve the crimes.

Evaluation: This story has none of the trademark features of Harris’s later writing that make her books so appealing to me: the charming evocation of life in the South; engaging portraits of quirky characters; snappy writing with humorous turns; and romantic interludes that are creatively complicated. Rather, in this book, the characters are dull, and even the living ones are mostly lifeless; the writing seems amateurish; and the romance is a yawn.

On the plus side, I am impressed and amazed at her growth in subsequent books!

Rating: 2.5/5

Published by Walker & Company, 1990

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15 Responses to Review of “Real Murders” by Charlaine Harris

  1. Julie P. says:

    Holy moly! It is interesting to see how authors grow, develop, etc. through the years! I’m sorry this one didn’t work for you.

  2. Barbara says:

    Interesting. I’m happy for her that she grew into the author we all know and love, but I won’t look for this book.

  3. Trisha says:

    I am actually glad to hear this! That way I don’t have to add yet another series to my already overwhelming TBR list. 🙂

  4. Sandy says:

    Well thank God! About time there was a series I don’t have to chase down!

  5. Margot says:

    So, just because it has Charlaine Harris as the author, it doesn’t mean that I have to read it. Good to know I need to be careful.

  6. Darlene says:

    Interesting how one series can be so good and another one not. I was going to listen to these on audio but maybe not.

  7. BermudaOnion says:

    Well, since she’s not my favorite in the first place, I think I’ll skip this one.

  8. ds says:

    Whoa! That is a very strong statement, coming from you. (so i won’t be adding this author to The List) And the plot sounds quite similar to something Muriel Spark wrote, but I can’t remember which (maybe Loitering With Intent?). Thanks for the heads-up.

  9. Jenners says:

    I am so so proud of you! And I imagine this was worth reading to see how far she has come as a writer.

  10. never read anything by her that I can remember and I guess I won’t start with this one..

  11. Ceri says:

    I’ve yet to read anything by Harris. I wondered about reading the Sookie books because of the success of the True Blood series but I’ve been told the series is much better than the books … and I’m not a huge fan of the series to begin with. :S

    I am thinking of the same author, right? 😛

  12. Belle Wong says:

    Wow – it’s amazing to read about how Harris has developed as a writer. It reminds me of the difference between the first book in Deborah Crombie’s series, and the later ones, although Crombie’s first was still quite good, just nowhere near as good as the rest of them.

  13. Staci says:

    Now I have to see which series of hers is the one that I picked up at a library sale..if it’s this one I’m going to put it back on their sale shelf 😀

  14. Cathy says:

    I’ve enjoyed Lily Bard and Harper Connelly; don’t intend to dance with Sookie because vampires have never done much for me; and I tried Aurora and wondered what other folks were gushing about. It was reassuring to read your post and discover that I’m not alone!

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