Saturday, April 11, 2015

Review: A Bone to Pick by Charlaine Harris

A Bone to Pick (Aurora Teagarden #2)
By: Charlaine Harris
Publisher: Berkley


In the months following the series of murders that led to the dissolution of the Real Murders club, Aurora "Roe" Teagarden lost a boyfriend, gained a stepfather, and attended more than her fair share of weddings. Life looked -- perish the thought! -- predictably spinster-ish, until Jane Engle, erstwhile library volunteer and Real Murders enthusiast, dies and leaves the bulk of her estate to Roe. Since Roe never considered Jane more than a casual acquaintance, the unexpected windfall is a shock -- but not an entirely unwelcome one. But Roe's excitement over the options her new, moneyed status opens for her future are quickly tempered by the suspicion that this gift is more than a happy accident of fate. Jane left her everything for a purpose...and when she discovers a battered human skull hidden in Jane's house, Roe realizes that her very survival may depend on uncovering the unassuming Jane's darkest secrets...

After reading the first Roe Teagarden mystery, Real Murders, in preparation for the Hallmark film series, I couldn't resist moving on to the second installment (and the first story adapted for television). While I missed the club that first introduced Roe to crime-solving, this is a solid second outing, if lacking some of the sense of quirky community that existed between Roe and her fellow crime aficionados. But what it may lack in cozy mystery charm, it makes up for with a chick lit sensibility that provides some of Roe's most relatable moments. This is light chick lit, in keeping with the cozy genre, but it works, giving Roe a much needed, sassy single edge to her personality. I just hope that her potential romance with Aubrey, her stepfather's Episcopalian priest, continues because he is ADORBS.

What the mystery of the skull in Jane's window seat lacks in cleverness or depth it makes up for in atmosphere, as this menacing, unwanted discovery forces Roe to re-examine her assumptions about Jane as well as her new neighbors. I found Roe's reluctance to admit to finding the skull -- critical evidence in a murder investigation -- frankly beyond belief, but this isn't a series that exactly relies on logic or due process. Roe's adventures are perfect for when one craves a few hours of escapist entertainment with a few chills thrown in for good measure. I'm sorry to see Roe leave her library job behind after this monetary windfall, but Roe's bookish charm is so thoroughly ingrained in her character I can't foresee her forsaking her love of literature any time soon...or so I hope! Looking forward to seeing more of Roe's adventures on-screen and in print!

About the book: 

Death comes calling on a small-town librarian whose life is passing her by. 

Aurora "Roe" Teagarden's fortunes change when a deceased acquaintance names her as heir to a rather substantial estate, including money, jewelry, and a house complete with a skull hidden in a window seat. Roe concludes that the elderly women has purposely left her a murder to solve. So she must identify the victim and figure out which one of her new, ordinary-seeming neighbors is a murderer-without putting herself in deadly danger.

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