Thursday, October 27, 2011

There has been some conversation lately as to the merits of series characters or "stand alone" books. The books I have published are written as a series, same main characters in each book and they move long through their lives. For some reason, it never occured to me not to write a series. It seemed a natural thing to do.
Perhaps it was because so many of the mysteries I've read and enjoyed through the years have been a series. It started with Pollyanna when I was about ten. I stuck with her until she married. Sort of lost interest after that. Nancy Drew didn't let me down, though, and she introduced me to mysteries. Then came Mr and Mrs. North, Nero Wolf, and then Lord Peter Wimsey. I can remember being actutely jealous of Harriet Vane as her romance with Lord Peter limped along. Skipping ahead a few years, I've followed Amelia Peabody from adventurous young woman to equally adventurous grandmother. Series are fun.
I knew from the beginning that Ellen McKenzie was destined not to be a one book girl. She had so much growing to do, there was no way it would all fit in one book. First, she's no girl. Middle age-can mean almost anything these days-with a college aged daughter, freshly divorced, new real estate license in hand, she's ready to meet the world. But maybe not the world I had in mind for her. In Dying For A Change, I really wanted to see how she handled the dead body in the closet of the first house she gets to show in her new career. She does pretty well. But there are lots of loose ends to tie up, one of which is Dan Dunham. Childhood friend, grown up lover? We'll see. And if we didn't have Give First Place to Murder, we'd never know, would we. Or And Murder for Dessert, where Dan thinks Ellen's niece pushed the guest chef into the wine fermenting tank but Ellen's sure she didn't. In Murder Half-Baked. Ellen and Dan are getting married, only Grace House, a home for women in transition and Ellen's newest client, burns to the ground. Dan moves the residents in with them, but the wedding is New Years Eve, Christmas is only three weeks away, and one of the residents presents them with an early present. A new baby. It's her husband who they think burned down Grace House, but who killed old Dr Sadler and is Ellen's house about to burn down as well?
See what fun series can be? However, I'm thinking of all the books I've read where the story is complete in one volume. Many have been most satisfying, building to that final moment when you are sure nothing will come out right, but somehow it does. Maybe I'll try one of those next. I have this idea---.
What do you like best? Series or stand alones? Continuing story or one glorious book you can't put down, but when you do its with a satisfied smile? Lets have your opinion.
Kathleen Delaney

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