Series: Family Skeleton Mystery #1
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Published by Berkley on 3 September 2013
Reading Challenges: 2013 In Uniform Challenge
If you are in the mood for a smart but off-beat cozy mystery then A Skeleton in the Family might just be for you. Georgia Thackery is an adjunct professor which means that she is poorly paid and has no job security even though she is fairly bright. She moves into her parents’ home temporarily with her daughter Madison and reunites with her best friend Sid who is…a walking, talking skeleton. Sid convinces her to take him to an anime convention where he spots a woman from his pre-skeleton days. Georgia is a single mother who is trying to survive in a cut-throat industry and raise her daughter. There is a saying in academia which is ‘publish or perish’. It’s a vicious circle as Georgia doesn’t have the time to get her name in academic journals because of the heavy workload universities give adjuncts but she can’t become tenured unless she does. Short term contracts at different universities are the best she can hope for. Her relationship with her sister Deborah is complicated as the woman can’t seem to understand why Georgia can’t ‘get her life together’ and refuses to acknowledge the existence of Sid.
Georgia first met Sid when she got lost at a circus. Somehow he came to life to protect her and followed her home. Sid cracks really bad jokes about skeletons and bones but he supports Georgia whenever she needs him. Sid has his fair share of problems such as not remembering anything about his life when he was alive and being afraid of being abandoned. He gets frustrated when Georgia reminds him that he can’t walk around outside given his physical appearance as apart from that, he is basically alive. Some of the funniest sections of the book come from Sid trying to fend off a dog that has a taste for bones.
The mystery is a bit slow at the beginning while we wrap our heads around a sidekick skeleton but it picks up pace as it goes along. There are a good dose of red herrings and clues sprinkled along the way so you should have a fairly good idea whodunnit by the end. When Georgia and Sid start investigating the mystery of who Sid is and how he died, they are quickly confronted with a modern death that might just be connected. There is a mild romance of sorts in the background but it never overshadows the main plot.
You can read this book for the relationship between Sid and Georgia, the novelty of a walking, talking sidekick skeleton or even for the engaging mystery set in a university but just make sure you read it.