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Monday, August 8, 2011

Reader Question Time

This Monday it is time for a question.  In the mystery genre there are many series mysteries and they gather a following.  Some have 10, 20, or more books in the series with the same main character.  Typically these are fun because we like the characters and enjoy reading about their adventures each time.

But what about those mystery series that seem to have gotten stale?  You know, the latest editions have lost the initial appeal in some aspect.  The plots have lost their pizazz or the characters haven't grown or have gone in a direction that frustrates you.

So my question for you is simple - what mystery series (one or more) that are worn out for you?  

It is sad to say - but the series that got me hooked on cozies in the first place, "The Cat Who" mysteries lost my interest in the last several books.  It is really sad for me to say that since the author Lillian Jackson Braun recently passed away.  But the early books had more interesting characters and the plots engaged me more than the most recent.  I love Lillian Jackson Braun and I will keep the first 5 books in the series through any moves etc.

So what mystery series has passed it's expiration time for you?

I would love to get a conversation going on this in the comments section.  I know some people think the Stephanie Plum series is way past its expiration - what about you? 

Now for the video feature.  I want to share this unique video with you of a New York construction worker on the 2nd Ave subway line who sings during his lunch hour for the passing people.  This is real, not lip synching! This reminds us that we can find amazing things in the most ordinary places :-)

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Hope Clark said...

Funny, but I thought of Stephanie Plum before you mentioned her. Just doesn't do it for me anymore, though Evanovich is a decent writer. Sometimes I think we are afraid to say a series is wearing thin, because we still love the characters and we don't want readers to tire of our own work like that.

Hope Clark

A.F. Heart said...


Thank you for you comment.

Interesting point you make. I know I am afraid to give up on a character - it almost feels like you are being unfaithful somehow. Funny.

If you write, or dream of being a bestselling author, you don't want readers to give up on your series so you doggedly keep up with that series you don't care for anyway out of a shared dream.


Anne said...

The Plum novels are all the same and there's no characters growth. I think Evanovich heard her critics and the end of 17 sounds like she plans to shake things up in 18, but I'm not expecting much. ll of her work, romance and Plum are very similar.

Lillian Braun's has been a dud for years.

I haven't read the last couple of Sue Grafton's books. I think the lack of supporting characters hurts her books. I missed Henry, even though he was hardly used from the beginning.

Patricia Carnwall's characters are just plain weird and so flawed that it's hard to read. In real life, Scarpetta would have dumped Marino years ago for his unprofessionalism.

To sustain a series, you need a good cast of characters and all have to show growth.

A.F. Heart said...


I agree. I read one Cornwall book and while it was pretty good I was already dragged down by the "badly flawed" characters.

I know characters are to be flawed for some realism but too much is just a turn off. I tried to read a second of hers and gave up because it was depressing me so much - and I watch Criminal Minds so it was not because of the crime.

kathy d. said...

I quit reading Cornwall's series years ago when something unbelievable happened, and it got ridiculous.

Quit reading Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak series a few years ago. Nothing interesting happening, got boring.

Still read Sue Grafton's series. It's relaxing, but could use quirky, supporting characters much more in the stories and dialogue.

Marcia Muller's Sharon McCone series has been O.K. The main character was even interesting while in a "locked-in" state. However, after that the series needs more interesting plots and characters, not the international corporate, security issues.

Donna Leon just published her 20th book, somehow keeps them interesting.

A.F. Heart said...

Katy D.

Good insights there. Thanks for your comments!!

Ann said...

Along with the Stephanie Plum books, I'd say the Joanna Fluke books. Her Hannah Swensen romance has gone on way too long. I think I gave up after three books.

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