The first book in Leigh Perry's new series is one of the most unusual mysteries I've read in a long time. And, that's a good thing. If you like cozy mysteries, I urge you to pick up A Skeleton in the Family. If you can accept all those mysteries with people who solve mysteries with the help of a ghost, why not a skeleton? Georgia Thackeray and Sid make a terrific team. It's an entertaining mystery involving a very special friendship.
Georgia was lucky her parents were on sabbatical so she could stay in their house when she and her daughter, Madison, moved back home. It's not easy being a single mother with a teenage daughter, moving from university to university as an adjunct professor. And, she hates to see her daughter so happy at school, knowing them might have to move again. But, right now, Georgia is home with Sid, the family skeleton. Sid is a walking, talking, wisecracking skeleton, who has been with the family since Georgia was six and he saved her. Now, it might just be time to find out who Sid was before he showed up in Georgia's life.
When Sid accompanies Georgia to a anime and manga conference, he's started to see a woman he recognizes. With no memory of his past, he doesn't know why the woman brought up feelings of fear and guilt. Sid wants answers. Who was he, and how did he know that woman? But when she's found dead, they're more determined than ever to find answers. They just don't realize that a killer has a few skeletons in a closet, and won't hesitate to find a way to silence two amateur sleuths.
There have been a number of ghosts as amateur sleuths or assistants for the sleuth, but the team of Georgia and Sid is definitely a first. Sid uses puns and wordplay to make fun of his situation, and it's part of the charm of the book. But, A Skeleton in the Family is actually unusual because of the depth of feeling, the great friendship between Georgia and Sid. Perry explains that friendship realistically. The book is a winner, not just because of the mystery plot, but because of that special relationship between the characters.
If you read cozy mysteries regularly, and sometimes feel as if they start to sound the same, pick up A Skeleton in the Family. I know I'm already waiting to read Sid and Georgia's next adventure, and it will probably be a year from now. I"m not going to miss it.
(Note: When the author saw me mention the book, she said I could tell any readers that liked Toni L.P. Kelner's mysteries that she is Leigh Perry. She also said, if you didn't like Kelner's books, never mind.)
Leigh Perry's website is www.leighperryauthor.com
A Skeleton in the Family by Leigh Perry. Berkley Prime Crime. 2013. ISBN 9780425255841 (paperback), 291p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.