Friday, May 27, 2016

Book Review: The Skeleton Takes a Bow by Leigh Perry (Family Skeleton Mysteries #2)



Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great characters, unique plot
Cons: No bones about it, I couldn’t find a con
The Bottom Line:
Skeleton backstage
Hears murder in this unique
And clever cozy




Sid Becomes an Ear Witness

As much as I enjoy the cozies I read (or I wouldn’t keep reading them), it’s fun every so often to find a twist on the genre.  That’s definitely the case with the Family Skeleton mysteries.  The Skeleton Takes a Bow is the second in the series, and it’s a lot of fun.

You see, this series features Sid, a walking, talking skeleton.  He’s best friends with our main character, Georgia Thackery.  Sid walked into her life when she was kid, and he’s still there.  Georgia is an adjust professor and single mother, currently living at her parent’s house while she teaches at a local college.  Want more background on Sid?  That was the subject of the first book in the series.  This book does a good job of not spoiling that book, so you can read them in either order.

It’s Georgia’s daughter, Madison, and Sid who conspire to get the trio into the latest mystery.  See, Madison is in the drama department at her high school, and the spring play is Hamlet.  She figures that Sid would be perfect as Yorick, and Sid is always looking for a way to get out of the house, something he can’t normally do without frightening people.  Georgia is more hesitant, but she eventually goes along.

However, one night early into rehearsal, Madison gets distracted leaving school and accidentally leaves Sid’s skull backstage.  That night, Sid hears two mean fighting, then one gets hit over the head and dies.  Sid doesn’t know who they are, and the body has been moved before school starts the next day.

Fearing that Madison might not be safe at school, Georgia and Sid start to investigate.  Without a body, the police won’t take anything they say seriously.  But who was the victim?  Where is his body?  Can they find the killer?

As I said, there is a nice twist on the cozy formula here since Sid and Georgia have to work out the victim before they can identify the killer.  The plot seems a little slow at the beginning, but as the book goes along, you see that the author was setting things up for later in the book.  The plot gains speed as it goes along until it reaches the logical climax.

One thing I love about these books is that, while we have a living skeleton, Sid has to keep his existence a secret.  He rarely gets to leave the house, and if anyone does happen to spot him, they freak.  This adds a level of believability to the story that I truly appreciate.  It does make it a little harder to keep him part of the action, but the author does a great job of believably making him an important part of the story.

Yet Sid isn’t a skin and bones character.  He is fully fleshed out in a way that makes him so real.  The same goes for the rest of the cast, all of whom are wonderful.

I don’t normally stick my toe in the paranormal end of the cozy spectrum, but this premise intrigued me enough I had to give it a shot.  Outside of Sid, there is nothing paranormal about the book, so that element is very light and shouldn’t bother most cozy fans like me who avoid that kind of thing.

So pick up The Skeleton Takes a Bow today.  Its unique take on the cozy formula will leave you happily turning pages.

7 comments:

  1. I have the first in this series shortlisted on this weekend's TBR pile :) Glad to hear the second one was so good.

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    1. How funny that our timing would be so perfect! Enjoy.

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  2. Love the pun in your cons. :-)

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    1. Thanks! I wish I were more consistently punny.

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  3. Sounds like an upgrade on the "The Ghost and...." series books.
    Interesting, thanks for the headsup.

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  4. I agree, Mark. a winning series full of fun, mystery, some romance and just an all around refreshing series.

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