Southern Scribe
    our culture of storytelling


Mystery Review    



Poppy Done to Death
By Charlaine Harris
St. Martin's Minotaur, 2003
Hardcover, $22.95, (230 pages)
ISBN: 0-312-27764-4

Aurora Teagarden is nervous.  Her stepsister-in-law, Poppy, has left her waiting at the exclusive Uppity Women meeting where Poppy was to be inducted into the membership.  Now, Aurora is humiliated by her absence and storms over to Poppy’s house to find her bloody body lying in a pool of blood on the floor, stabbed to death.

She and her friend Melinda begin to come across small clues that are found in the house, on the grounds and pick up on the small things friends and relatives are letting drop about the goings-on in the household of Poppy and her husband.  There seems to have been some sleepovers involving the Queensland family—namely Poppy, her husband and sundry members of the community of Lawrenceton, Georgia, where they live.

Aurora, (known as ‘Roe’ by those close to her), does not want to hear about the dirt being dug up in the investigation; Lord knows, enough has surfaced in her own more immediate family, and she is only now recovering from a dysfunctional family herself.  Then, her much younger brother arrives from California, after hitchhiking across country to get away from his and Roe’s woman-chasing father.  

To make matters even worse, she thinks she catches her boyfriend flirting with the young librarian where she is working.  ‘What next?’ she thinks. 

The ‘next’ part involves a Thanksgiving weekend to remember as mysteries abound, secrets are let out of the bag, houses are ransacked, marriages fall apart and some new romances begin.  It is a time of discovery of self and her close friends, a testing of personal mettle with her own family members and the actions and reactions of those involved with her crime detection methods.   

Best of all, the spunky, strong-willed Aurora Teagarden is the most entertaining surprise, for she is alternately concerned, comforting, combative and moody. I like her modern-day struggle for survival and her style in doing so. 


Robert L. Hall
Southern Scribe Reviews

© 2004 Southern Scribe Reviews, All Rights Reserved