All The Little Liars
Even though it has been nine years since Charlaine Harris published her last Aurora Teagarden novel, this ninth book in this series flows seamlessly from the previous storyline and I really enjoyed revisiting this character. Since book eight, Roe Teagarden has made it to the television screen in two Hallmark movies that have made the character a little too insipid for my liking. As with many literary purists, I much prefer the original; the grittier, less angelic and realistic Aurora of the books is more to my liking. For those readers who have not read the previous books in the series, it is possible to read this one as a standalone, but I would recommend reading the entire series first.
Aurora Teagarden is a librarian who works in the small town of Lawrenceton, Georgia – a suburb of Atlanta. In the very first book in this series, Roe belonged to a “Real Murder” club whose members attempted to solve crimes that remained unresolved. That led to a murder in Lawrenceton that Roe had to solve without dying herself in the process. She has since been through three boyfriends, a husband and is now married to husband number two (who was a boyfriend in a previous book). She is also pregnant for the first time at the age of thirty-seven and she and her true crime author husband Robin Crusoe are looking forward to the event. Aurora is a child of divorce and has a very strained relationship with her father (who cheated on her mother). She has a younger half-brother – Phillip – who feels the same way about their mutual father and has come from California to live with Roe and Robin. Shortly before Christmas break, Phillip and three other kids simply vanish. While the police take the case seriously, Roe cannot help but try and find her brother herself. She and Robin begin their own investigation which leads to the death of another local teenager and the discovery of a vicious bullying ring.
Charlaine Harris does mystery extremely well and All the Little Liars is no exception. I never saw the ending coming until just before the mystery was solved. The only problem I had with this book was that it is just a little thin at 240 pages and I felt it needed to be fleshed out in order to achieve a more well-rounded result. Aurora’s mother is a hoot and is a fierce Mama Bear toward her only child. She has played a fairly prominent role in the previous books in the series, yet gets little screen time in this story and I think that had a detrimental effect on the book overall. Roe and Robin are newly married and expecting a baby, and while attention is paid to their relationship, it is not enough to satisfy. It feels as though the book has been cut down to the bare essentials. Having said that, I still really enjoyed it and hope Harris continues this series or if I can be a fangirl, then I’ll request another Lily Bard book too! Once again Charlaine Harris has a winner.