For the first time together in one volume, here is the complete short story collection starring Louisiana’s favorite telepathic waitress, Sookie Stackhouse—from #1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris. New fans can fill in the gaps in their Sookie lore while old friends can revisit some of their favorite moments and characters. From investigating the murder of a local fairy to learning that her cousin was a vampire, from remodeling her best friend’s house to attending a wedding with her shapeshifting boss, Sam, Sookie navigates the perils and pitfalls of the paranormal world.
Belly up to the bar at Bon Temps’s favorite watering hole and hear stories that will make you wish Sookie never left, including...
“One Word Answer”
“If I Had a Hammer”
“In the Blue Hereafter”
This definitive collection is the perfect binge read for people who like their stories with bite!
About the Author
Date of Birth:November 25, 1951
Place of Birth:Tunica, Mississippi
Education:B.A. in English and Communication Arts, Rhodes, 1973
Read an Excerpt
The triplet fairies--Claudine, Claude, and Claudette--needed a story featuring them and their sleazy (but lucrative) strip club. I felt I had to explain how to kill a fairy, since I had created them as very strong, very powerful, and very long-lived. Something had to be their Kryptonite . . . and I chose something pretty unlikely. Since "Fairy Dust" is also a murder mystery, there was a crime and a solution to be explained--comfortable territory for me.
"Fairy Dust" takes place after Dead to the World.
I hate it when fairies come into the bar. They don't tip you worth a toot-not because they're stingy, but because they just forget. Take Claudine, the fairy who was walking in the door. Six feet tall, long black hair, gorgeous; Claudine seemed to have no shortage of cash or clothing (and she entranced men the way a watermelon draws flies). But Claudine hardly ever remembered to leave you even a dollar. And if it's lunchtime, you have to take the bowl of lemon slices off the table. Fairies are allergic to lemons and limes, like vamps are allergic to silver and garlic.
That spring night when Claudine came in I was in a bad mood already. I was angry with my ex-boyfriend, Bill Compton, a.k.a. Vampire Bill; my brother, Jason, had again postponed helping me shift an armoire; and I'd gotten my property tax notice in the mail.
So when Claudine sat at one of my tables, I stalked over to her with no very happy feelings.
"No vamps around?" she asked straightaway. "Even Bill?"
Vamps like fairies the way dogs like bones: great toys, good food. "Not tonight," I said. "Bill's down in New Orleans. I'm picking up his mail for him." Just call me sucker.
Claudine relaxed. "Dearest Sookie," she said.
"You want what?"
"Oh, one of those nasty beers, I guess," she said, making a face. Claudine didn't really like to drink, though she did like bars. Like most fairies, she loved attention and admiration: my boss, Sam, said that was a fairy characteristic.
I brought her the beer. "You got a minute?" she asked. I frowned. Claudine didn't look as cheerful as usual.
"Just." The table by the door was hooting and hollering at me.
"I have a job for you."
Though it called for dealing with Claudine, whom I liked but didn't trust, I was interested. I sure needed some cash. "What do you need me to do?"
"I need you to come listen to some humans."
"Are these humans willing?"
Claudine gave me innocent eyes. "What do you mean, Precious?"
I hated this song and dance. "Do they want to be, ah, listened to?"
"They're guests of my brother, Claude."
I hadn't known Claudine had a brother. I don't know much about fairies; Claudine was the only one I'd met. If she was typical, I wasn't sure how the race had survived eradication. I wouldn't have thought northern Louisiana was very hospitable toward beings of the fairy persuasion, anyway. This part of the state is largely rural, very Bible Belt. My small town of Bon Temps, barely big enough to have its own Wal-Mart, didn't even see a vampire for two years after they'd announced their existence and their intention to live peaceably amongst us. Maybe that delay was good, since local folks had had a chance to get used to the idea by the time Bill showed up.
But I had a feeling that this PC vamp tolerance would vanish if my fellow townsfolk knew about Weres, and shifters, and fairies. And who knows what all else.
"Okay, Claudine. When?"
The rowdy table was hooting, "Crazy Sookie! Crazy Sookie!" People only did that when they'd had too much to drink. I was used to it, but it still hurt.
"When do you get off tonight?"
We fixed it that Claudine would pick me up at my house fifteen minutes after I got off work. She left without finishing her beer. Or tipping.
My boss, Sam Merlotte, nodded a head toward the door through which she'd just exited. "What'd the fairy want?" Sam's a shifter himself.
"She needs me to do a job for her."
"Wherever she lives, I guess. She has a brother, did you know?"
"Want me to come with you?" Sam is a friend, the kind of friend you sometimes have fantasies about.
"Thanks, but I think I can handle Claudine."
"You haven't met the brother."
"I'll be okay."
I'm used to being up at night, not only because I'm a barmaid, but also because I had dated Bill for a long time. When Claudine picked me up at my old house in the woods, I'd had time to change from my Merlotte's outfit into some black jeans and a sage green twinset (JCPenney on sale), since the night was chilly. I'd let my hair down from its ponytail.
"You should wear blue instead of green," Claudine said, "to go with your eyes."
"Thanks for the fashion tip."
"You're welcome." Claudine sounded happy to share her style sense with me. But her smile, usually so radiant, seemed tinged with sadness.
"What do you want me to find out from these people?" I asked.
"We'll talk about it when we get there," she said, and after that she wouldn't tell me anything else as we drove east. Ordinarily Claudine babbles. I was beginning to feel it wasn't smart of me to have accepted this job.
Claudine and her brother lived in a big ranch-style house in suburban Monroe, a town that not only had a Wal-Mart, but a whole mall. She knocked on the front door in a pattern. After a minute, the door opened. My eyes widened. Claudine hadn't mentioned that her brother was her twin.
If Claude had put on his sister's clothes, he could have passed for her; it was eerie. His hair was shorter, but not by a lot; he had it pulled back to the nape of his neck, but his ears were covered. His shoulders were broader, but I couldn't see a trace of a beard, even this late at night. Maybe male fairies don't have body hair? Claude looked like a Calvin Klein underwear model; in fact, if the designer had been there, he'd have signed the twins on the spot, and there'd have been drool all over the contract.
Claude stepped back to let us enter. "This is the one?" he said to Claudine.
She nodded. "Sookie, my brother, Claude."
"A pleasure," I said. I extended my hand. With some surprise, he took it and shook. He looked at his sister. "She's a trusting one."
"Humans," Claudine said, and shrugged.
Claude led me through a very conventional living room, down a paneled hall to the family room. A man was sitting in a chair, because he had no choice. He was tied to it with what looked like nylon cord. He was a small man, buff, blond, and brown-eyed. He looked about my age, twenty-six.
"Hey," I said, not liking the squeak in my voice. "Why is that man tied?"
"Otherwise, he'd run away," Claude said, surprised.