Cozy Mysteries discussion

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What do you think? > when series go in a different direction or just become unreadable

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message 1: by Mary (new)

Mary (maryfrompa) | 5 comments What do you do when one or more of your favorite cozy series (or others) go in a different direction or become unreadable? This has happened to me with several of my favorite series. I hate to stop reading them but I also don't want to waste my reading time on them.


message 2: by Nancy (last edited Mar 29, 2018 06:38AM) (new)

Nancy Jarvis (screalwriter) | 151 comments As rhe writer of a cozy series, I recognized it was time to end my series after seven books and explore new characters and new adventures. I had some personal reasons for moving on, but it’s a risk when you write to keep going with something comfortable. Embrace exploring; you’ll find new friends and favorites.


message 3: by Ilene (new)

Ilene Harris (gahish) | 20 comments I have enjoyed reading your books, what a great writer you are.
I enjoy all your messages on Facebook, we have a lot of the same feelings. The best of luck to you always.


message 4: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Jarvis (screalwriter) | 151 comments Thank you for your kind words. I,m planning Geezers With Tools and P.I.P. Inc. next.


message 5: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (lynnali) | 524 comments I do hate to just stop reading them, but if I'm not enjoying the books for whatever reason, it's a waste of my valuable reading time to slog through them just for the sake of keeping up with or finishing the series.


message 6: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 217 comments I've seen this, both with some that just got tired (so that the books felt like they had little new to offer), and with two favorite authors whose work started fairly light, if not exactly cozy, and have taken dark turns.

I'm not sure what makes authors do that--the need for something more shocking to get attention, or maybe just that spending too much time in our own heads can go dark ways. I know I've had to edit some dark turns out of my own work, so I'm thinking it's in our heads... a somewhat disturbing thought.


message 7: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) It didn't make me stop reading them, but the Alpine series by Mary Daheim went totally dark in one book where (view spoiler). It put me off them for a while.


message 8: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Prescott (victoria_prescott) | 56 comments I've seen this, both with some that just got tired (so that the books felt like they had little new to offer), and with two favorite authors whose work started fairly light, if not exactly cozy, and have taken dark turns.

I gave up on Maisie Dobbs several books ago, for a variety of reasons. Other series I stopped buying, but would get them from the library.

I think most long-running series have a dip in quality after a while. At a writers' conference I attended, one of the speakers said a series writer should introduce a new plot twist or direction after 6-7 books, in order to keep things fresh. But I think the writer should stay true to the original tone and style of the series.


message 9: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 217 comments Victoria wrote: "I think most long-running series have a dip in quality after a while. At a writers' conference I attended, one of the speakers said a series writer should introduce a new plot twist or direction after 6-7 books, in order to keep things fresh. But I think the writer should stay true to the original tone and style of the series. "

Maybe the reality is that you should start a new series after 6-7 books. Readers love the familiarity but then we get annoyed because the books are all the same... I'm not sure I could write 20 books about the Pismawallops PTA at all, let alone without seeming to rehash things.

" I think the writer should stay true to the original tone and style of the series."
Exactly. Losing the sense of humor seems to be a common hazard (not a mystery, but I think that happened to J.K. Rowling, and I don't like the later books half so well as the first one).


message 10: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Prescott (victoria_prescott) | 56 comments Maybe the reality is that you should start a new series after 6-7 books. Readers love the familiarity but then we get annoyed because the books are all the same...

It's a gamble, for the author and the publisher, deciding to break away from a winning formula, that's making money. Quite possibly a publisher wouldn't keep an author on if she didn't want to write more in a successful series.

I think self-publishers have more freedom to experiment, because they (we) are not tied into contracts and deadlines, and there isn't the time lag of a year or more between finishing a book and seeing it on sale.


message 11: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 217 comments I agree, Victoria! I'm sure some of those series that I think have lost their umph are only going because the publisher wants that sure sale.


message 12: by BarbaraH (new)

BarbaraH | 57 comments Too many TBR books on my self if I don't like it or it doesn't "grab" me I will move to another, unless it is one I agreed to review, Found some darn good books then.


message 13: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Not a cozy series, but the Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell just became too over the top for me.


message 14: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (melodieco) | 5280 comments Kirsten wrote: "Not a cozy series, but the Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell just became too over the top for me."

That's for sure! I think she started believing all the hype out there about her. A shame. It was such a good series for the longest time.


message 15: by Mary (new)

Mary (maryfrompa) | 5 comments There are a lot of thought provoking comments here! I have decided to stop reading some series all together and put a few on hold for a while.


message 16: by Karen (new)

Karen (xkamx) | 340 comments A lot depends on how good the author is and how much I've enjoyed the series. Though I've never really given up on a series, I have moved some to the lower end of my TBRs. I still read them, but not a as priority.

Taking a series in a new direction -- new location, new love interest, new job, new characters, etc. -- can breathe life into a series that is getting stale and enhance a loved series. If the author is good, the transition is seamless and organic. This goes for long series, too. If the author is good at crafting mysteries and places them in well written stories, it doesn't matter how many books there are to a series. As a reader, you know each book is going to be good. I just don't want a series to go stagnant. Characters, etc. have to keep growing and evolving.

I have read so many really good series that were three and done -- which I think was a publisher issue. That is, they issue three books in a series (or six!) and if it doesn't sell as well as they wanted/thought, it's done. Most were nice, fun series and i wanted more time with the characters but was left wanting more (Jeffrey Cohen's Double Feature series; Different series by Tim Myers and his pseudonyms; Lucy Lawrence's - Jenn McKinlay - Decoupage series).

I've lost series because the author or publisher for some reason ended the series. I've missed a lot of those, too (especially, Selma Eichler's Desiree Shapiro series! I loved Desiree.). Still others have been lost because the author passed away (Elizabeth Daniels Squire's Peaches Dann series; Carol Anne O'Marie's Sister Mary Helen series). Sadly, I figure all my series will end at some point for reasons beyond my contol, so I read them -- good or bad -- while I've got them.

As for becoming unreadable... I have to admit that I read some series because I've started them and keep reading hoping they get better and/or get back on track. Some have; others not so much. I keep reading partly because I've already invested the time and partly because I like to see what happens with the characters (the main reason for reading cozies!). Others I read because I like/love the series and a bad book or two won't keep me from enjoying it overall.

So far, no series has become so unreadable that I've stopped reading it completely -- back-burnered, yes; given up, no. One good thing about series is that the more one reads and gets used to the author's style, the easier (and faster) that read gets as the series goes on. If I'm reading a series that's gone stale (for me), I more or less speed-read it so I can keep up with the characters' and their non-mystery stories and hope the next book is better. I liken it to watching a TV series that's been on forever. Not every episode is going to appeal to you, but you keep watching. You know what to expect so you can read or work while it's on and not miss anything. Who knows, the next episode could be great.


message 17: by Mary C (new)

Mary C (marymaryalwayscontrary) | 110 comments I just drop them. I don't regret the books in the series that I did enjoy and just move on because I am no longer enjoying the series. I dropped the Hannah Swensen, the Stephanie Plum series and a few others. I just didn't like them anymore. On the 2 I mentioned, my only regret is not stopping a book or two (or 3) before I gave them up.


message 18: by Mary (last edited Apr 20, 2019 11:03AM) (new)

Mary (maryfrompa) | 5 comments I have quit on continuities I read over the years mostly from Harlequin authors. Either they got too long (too many books) and weren't as good or I didn't like some of the authors. As for a series by one author I have quit on a few. I don't regret dropping a series either. I have too many other books to read and don't want to waste my reading time on series that don't work for me anymore. It also frees me to read series and stand alones that never disappoint.


message 19: by Joe (new)

Joe Cosentino | 107 comments I think it's really important for each book in a series to stand alone with a beginning, middle, and end. The leading characters should grow from book to book, but each book should have its own murder(s), suspects, red herrings, plot twists and turns, and surprising but earned ending (with clues early on). The leading character/armchair sleuth needs to be likeable, and romance, humor, and cozy settings are a must. That's what I try to remember when writing each of my books.


message 20: by Barbara (new)

Barbara I was file cleaning and turned up an old interview in a mystery publication, two cozy mystery writers were asked the same questions. Both writers were about the same number of books into the series, one had her characters relationship become sexual with a possible pregnancy, the other one kept her relationship romantic but without sex.
One point that came up was the fact that once you made a permanent change in a character or a relationship - marriage, divorce, death, pregnancy - you were stuck with it and now that becomes part of the character's "history" - and if readers aren't happy with it, or think it happened too soon in the series, they might be turned off.


MaryAnn (EmilyD1037) | 24 comments Lynn wrote: "I do hate to just stop reading them, but if I'm not enjoying the books for whatever reason, it's a waste of my valuable reading time to slog through them just for the sake of keeping up with or fin..."

This is my thought and feeling on all genre series.


message 22: by Mary Clare (new)

Mary Clare | 7 comments Leslie Meier’s Lucy Stone series has taken a turn for the dark side. Meier explained that she wanted Lucy Stone to grow as a character. I felt somewhat betrayed. I pick up Lucy Stone books looking for light and fun escapism, Invitation Only Murder was a ‘real’ mystery, lacking the family, fun, and sense of humor found in the rest of the series. It’s not what I am looking for from this author and character. I’m done with Leslie Meier because I don’t know if I’m am going to get the new Lucy or the pleasant escapism Lucy.


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