Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Aurora Teagarden Series Books 5-8

Author: Charlaine Harris
Series: Aurora Teagarden, Books 5- 8
Publisher: Scriber/ St. Martin’s Minotaur
Genre: Mystery
Part-time librarian Aurora "Roe" Teagarden never liked Detective Sergeant Jack Burns, but she also never wanted to see him dead— especially not dropped from a plane right into her own backyard. But when other strange things happen around her, ranging from peculiar (her irascible cat turns up wearing a pink ribbon) to violent (her assistant at the library is attacked) to potentially deadly (her former lover is stabbed), she must decipher the personal message in the madness before it's too late.

Title: Dead Over Heels
Start & Finished: 3/5/08
Published: 1996
Pages: 272

Solving the murders of the people of Lawrenceton is somehow what amateur sleuth/ librarian Aurora Teagarden does best but even this is a new one on her! The fifth book in Charlaine Harris’ series, Dead Over Heels serves Roe with a nasty surprise in the form of a body falling from a plane, then landing practically at her feet and then it gets even more personal.

Taking place two years after the last book in the series (The Julius House), Martin and Roe have finally started to settle into their married life and Roe is getting used to having Angel and Shelby (her friends and bodyguards) living in the apartment above her garage. She also stopped being “a woman of leisure” and has gone back to working for the library part time. Of course that doesn’t mean she can’t find time to solve this new mystery!

I’ve noticed that over the course of the series Harris has slowly left behind the idea of incorporating real life murders into the books; which was part of the main plot of the first book in the series, and now there is no mention of them at all. Just like any person and town things change I guess!

Not a very action-packed mystery, even with the ending but it was believable. The “why” was easy to figure out but the “whodunit” took me until a few pages before Roe did. I still wouldn’t recommend reading this series out of order because then you spoil the whole series for yourself. I’ll try to keep spoilers to a minimum here too.

Sleepless nights, a cross-country chase and a temporary stint at motherhood turn Aurora Teagarden's life upside down. When her husband's niece Regina shows up unannounced on their doorstep with a baby and a secret, Aurora's perpetual curiosity leaps into overdrive - especially when the body of the girl's husband is found ax murdered in her own backyard.

Regina flees the scene, and Aurora is left holding the baby, struggling with the intricacies of bottles, diapers - and a mystery. What was Regina running from? Why was her husband murdered? The answers are hidden back in Ohio, and that's just where Aurora goes, husband, baby and all. But Regina's secrets are very dangerous and Aurora walks right into them - much to her own peril.

Title: A Fool and His Honey
Start & Finished: 3/6/08
Published: 1999
Pages: 256

Another year has gone by in Aurora Teagarden’s life in Charlaine Harris’ A Fool in His Honey and just as Roe starts to get comfortable in her marriage, Martin’s niece shows up from Ohio bringing a whole mess of trouble with her. After taking off in the middle of the night leaving a baby who might not even belong to her and her murdered husband behind, Martin and Roe decide to leave Lawrenceton and solve this new mystery Regina has dumped in their laps.

Harris herself described this sixth book in her Aurora Teagarden series as “probably the most reviled book [she] had ever written” but I understood why it had to end the way it did, unfortunately that didn’t make me like it any more. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I think Harris had been building up to that moment for awhile too and maybe she shouldn’t have ended the story on such a depressing note.

The characters are obviously aging, something that not too many authors; especially mystery authors who have a long running series, do much anymore. I think A Fool and His Honey was when Ms. Harris decided it was time to start wrapping up the Aurora Teagarden series but with the depressing ending aside, this was a well-paced mystery but not as charming as the other books in the series.

Above quote is taken from an interview with the author at CrescentBlues.com

In the first installment of the Aurora Teagarden series, Real Murders, the small town of Lawrenceton, Georgia, was beset by a series of horrific murders. Librarian Aurora "Roe" Teagarden teamed up with true crime writer Robin Crusoe to catch the killer, and the results of their investigation have gone down in Lawrenceton history.

Now Robin is back in town, set to begin filming the movie version of the terrible events of so many years ago. Of course he's not alone-he brings with him a cast and crew the size of which nearly overwhelms the tiny excitement-starved town. Roe is disturbed to discover that the film's crew includes her stepson, who despises her, as well as an actress set to play her in the film. Everyone in Lawrenceton suddenly goes movie crazy, mentally composing awards-acceptance speeches while prancing around the fringes of the set awaiting discovery.

Roe's not so crazy about the whole thing...and neither is a secret, vicious murderer. When bodies start dropping, it's up to Roe to reprise her role as amateur sleuth and stop the carnage before it gets out of hand. It's no problem for the beloved small-town librarian in this wonderfully cozy installment in the adored Aurora Teagarden mystery series.

Title: Last Scene Alive
Start & Finished: 3/6/08
Published: 2002
Pages: 256

Seven years after two serial killers terrorized the small town of Lawrenceton, Georgia by re-creating some of the most famous, heinous crimes and carrying them out, the mystery writer who helped the local librarian stop them meet again in Charlaine Harris’ Last Scene Alive.

Aurora Teagarden is still trying to recover from the loss of her husband when her ex-boyfriend comes to town with a group of movie people there to make a film essentially of the first book of this whole series, Real Murders in which Robin and Roe met. Also where he saved hers and her little brother’s life too.

In other words, the Aurora Teagarden series is starting to come full circle. I believe that if this had not have been a series, Robin and Roe would have ended up together after the first book (and I was a tad disappointed that they didn’t) but Harris allowed them both to live a little before she felt it was time for them to see each other again.

I felt like there wasn’t that much of a mystery to Last Scene Alive, and I could have cared less about the victim or the killer. This story served more as a re-introduction of old characters than anything but it was much better than the last two stories, Dead Over Heels and A Fool and His Honey.

On the way to a lunch meeting of her local book discussion group, the Uppity Women, small-town Southern librarian Aurora "Roe" Teagarden is shocked and dismayed to find her sister-in-law Poppy lying bloody and dead right outside her own back door. Poppy had her flaws, certainly-she and her husband were having trouble staying faithful to each other-but she didn't deserve to be so brutally murdered.

Investigating a case like this is never easy, of course, given the gossipy atmosphere of any small town, what with Poppy and her husband's extramarital affairs, the local police detective (who also happens to be a former boyfriend of Roe's) and his seemingly unresolved feelings for Poppy, and the need to protect Poppy's family. But Roe is also coping with a burgeoning romantic relationship as well as the sudden appearance of her teenaged half brother. All in all, it's a lot for one woman to have on her plate, even one as together as Roe.

Title: Poppy Done to Death
Start & Finished: 3/6/08
Published: 2003
Pages: 240

The mystery series starring Aurora Teagarden that started over a decade ago (although only eight years have passed in the actual books) and put Charlaine Harris on the map finally comes to an end in Poppy Done to Death.

Set a little over a year after Last Scene Alive, Roe has wrangled a very sought after an invitation for her step-sister-in-law Poppy to the exclusive Uppity Women’s Club that most of the women of Lawrenceton would kill to join so when the scatterbrained Poppy doesn’t show up, Roe drives over to confront her. Once she’s there it quickly becomes apparent that someone else confronted Poppy earlier that day too... and left her dead.

I've found over the course of the books that I like the little Georgian town and what happens to it's citizens but not so much all of the characters. This was another story in the series that showcased the changing personality of Arthur (who had a very good chance of being “The One” for Roe in the first book) and also how little I cared whether or not the killer was caught. Can’t say I was very surprised when I learned the killer’s identity since I guessed part of the motive early on

Finishing a series satisfactorily to it’s fans is not the easiest thing in the world but other than a few hitches here and there, Harris pulls it off. I was happy with all of the re-introductions of people from the previous books and the ending in general. I’ll miss Aurora but the author has several other series that I enjoy more than this one and it was time for it to end.

The Aurora Teagarden Series: Real Murders, A Bone to Pick, Three Bedrooms One Corpse, The Julius House, Dead Over Heels, A Fool and His Honey, Last Scene Alive, Poppy Done to Death


  1. "Aurora "Roe" Teagarden never liked Detective Sergeant Jack Burns, but she also never wanted to see him dead— especially not dropped from a plane right into her own backyard."

    This is why I love this author...lol!

  2. great reviews! I have got to read this author, I feel like the only one left that hasnt read her books.


  3. Thanks for the great reviews, Jen! You sure do know how to tempt me . . .

  4. This does sound like an interesting series. I like that she ages her characters as some seem to keep them forever young! THanks for the review, I can't wait to try her vampire series this year.

  5. Good rundown on the Teagarden series-I've only read Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire books(and am a little behind on those!)but this series sounds great as well:)

  6. I've read all of Charlaine's books (yeah, I like to think I'm cool and on a first name basis LOL) and unfortunately, this one is my least favorite. I LOVED Lily Bard, and it was neat to see her make an appearance in one of the Sookie books, but even though I read them all, this series is my least favorite. I still like it, but it just felt like it was missing something.

  7. aww this series was so cute and quirky but i wish she ended up with jack burns or anyone except Robin!!

  8. I usually burn through a Harris series in a week or 2. I'm unable to put down any of her books once I start them. But I couldn't connect with Aurora or get through any of the books in the series, she is not as likable as Harris' other main characters. I will probably give this series another try sometime in the futre...

  9. I too found Aurora a wee bit on the difficult side to get into but as the books progressed they got better and easier to read. Surely it can't end there though. Any idea if there will be anymore?

  10. Just finished listening to the audio books, definitely worth a listen.

  11. I've only read the first book, Real Murders, but so far so good! I really liked it and am looking forward to reading the rest!

  12. I've only read the first book, Real Murders, but so far so good! I really liked it and am looking forward to reading the rest!

  13. I have read this series several times I like that much. is a film going to be made about them or has it already been made?

  14. I have read this series several times I like that much. is a film going to be made about them or has it already been made?

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    Thanks again.



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