Three Bedrooms, One Corpse / Charlaine Harris

Three Bedrooms, One Corpse, An Aurora Teagarden Mystery, by Charlaine Harris, Worldwide Library, 1995

You can't help but like Aurora Teagarden, the "Three Bedrooms, One Corpse." She's practical, independent and down-to-earth, characteristics not shared by everyone in her medium-size Georgia town. With equal aplomb, she deals with whatever comes her way -- deflecting the too-helpful advice of her high-society mother; shopping for clothes to fit her petite frame; or discovering a corpse or two.

In this installment of a series of Aurora Teagarden Mysteries, "Roe," as she's known, finds her first dead body while showing a luxurious home to potential buyers. Or not showing it, technically, since she's still studying for her real estate license and is only filling in for her Realtor mother.

But whatever the status of Roe's real estate efforts, the corpse is quite real, strangled and posed luridly on the bed in the master bedroom. While Roe is shocked and saddened by the murder, her reaction is not debilitating, for several reasons: First, she has lent her sleuthing skills to murder investigations before; second, she knew but didn't particularly admire the deceased; and third, she is distracted by a mad attraction to the client who was touring the house.

All three of those factors play out in the pages that follow. Roe ponders the crime, plays her part in the social rituals surrounding the death and explores her feelings for the client in a variety of creative ways.

And she does all this while conducting her own search for a home -- a clever setting that allows author Charlaine Harris to explore not only the characters and the mystery, but also our fascination with looking at houses and seeing how other people live.

"Three Bedrooms, One Corpse" is an enjoyable, quick read. When I picked it up, I had no idea I'd like it so much.

Now I'm looking forward to reading other Aurora Teagarden books, including the earlier installments, in which she's still working as a librarian. And I also want to try other books written by Harris, who has authored several series set in the South and featuring strong female protagonists.


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