26 August 2013

Cozy Monday

A Skeleton in the Family (Family Skeleton Mystery #1) by Leigh Perry (Berkley Prime Crime mass market, 3 September 2013).

I loved this unique fusion of paranormal, cozy, and academic mystery.

Our protagonist is Georgia Thackery, Ph.D., who has accepted an adjunct position at the fictional McQuaid University in her hometown.  Since her parents, tenured English professors at McQuaid, are on sabbatical, and since adjunct professors make very little money,  Georgia and her teenage daughter Madison move into their house for the term.

Georgia's best friend Sid lives in the attic of the house where she grew up.  She's known Sid since they met at a carnival when she was six.  He'd protected her from an attacker and then followed the family home.

Oh, by the way, Sid is a skeleton.

Sid remembers nothing about being alive, and expresses little curiosity about it.  He talks Georgia into allowing him to attend a local comic convention called Mangachusetts, "costumed" as a character from a popular manga.  At the con, he sees someone who seems familiar to him and makes him fearful, though he can't figure out why.

This leads Georgia and Sid to try to learn who Sid had been when he was alive, not an easy prospect, since Sid has no real memories, just impressions and feelings.  There are a few laugh-out-loud moments when Georgia attempts to transport Sid from one place to another without him being seen, but the danger of the investigation is serious.

Leigh Perry is a pseudonym for Toni L.P. Kelner, author of two previously published mystery series, and co-editor (with Charlaine Harris) of several short story anthologies.  A Skeleton in the Family provides more evidence of her skill as a writer.

FTC Full Disclosure:  Many thanks to the publisher for providing  a review copy of the book.

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