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Cozy Q & A > How much do the main characters in the series influence your reading decisions?

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message 1: by Ramla Zareen (last edited Nov 04, 2015 07:49AM) (new)

Ramla Zareen Ahmad | 176 comments The feelings and thoughts of some readers regarding a certain Cozy Mystery series are greatly influenced by the personalities and actions of the main characters in the stories.

On the other hand, there are those to whom the main characters have little or no impact on their decision to avoid, continue, or stop reading a specific series.

Anyway, I thought that it might be interesting to discuss how much the main characters influence our reading decisions. 

********************

It's important for me that the protagonists and the other main characters who play positive roles in the books ...should be likeable and interesting, with endearing imperfections, acceptable flaws, and appealing qualities, like compassion, tolerance, decency, friendliness, sense of humour, integrity, intelligence and courage etc.

I should be able to care about them to an extent that I get both emotionally and mentally involved in them, their lives, their relationships, etc ...and should be interested enough to look forward to how their stories will develop throughout the series.

For example, one of the reasons that I enjoy the "White House Chef Mystery Series" by Julie Hyzy, apart from, polished and engrossing writing, the entertaining humour, the finely plotted and satisfying mysteries, wonderful romance, delightful ambience etc ...is that I find the protagonist Ollie, very appealing :-) 

I admire her intuitive smartness, applaud her talent and dedication to her job, appreciate her loyalty to the White House family, and love her caring nature.

Moreover, there is another main character, Gavin, who also contributes a lot towards my positive feelings and thoughts regarding this series.

Then there are two mystery series, "Goldy Bear Mystery Series" by Diana Mott Davidson and "Donut Shop Mystery Series" by Jessica Beck, that I have in my TBR list since a long time but I keep putting them off mainly because I keep coming across certain reviews that contain negative remarks about the protagonists.

Of course, I realize that everyone has their own perceptions and its not fair to evaluate even a fictitious character based on other readers reviews ...but I can't help feeling that if these protagonists are even half as unappealing as the reviews imply then they might create an unpleasant ambience and prevent me from enjoying the books.

Hence, I keep delaying reading them ...though I do eventually intend to read them myself to form my own opinion :-)

Now, whenever I am starting 'new-to-me' series, then I usually do a detailed research on them ...not only with respect to the main characters, but also regarding other factors, such as writing, mysteries, humour, romance, setting, atmosphere etc.

However, while it's true that I often tend to delay starting those series whose reviews contain lots of negative comments about the main characters ...but once I have begun reading the books in a certain series, ...then all the other factors that I mentioned just now come into play as well.

So as long as reading the books make me happy ...then I will ignore if the main characters possess some mildly annoying traits or are even a bit boring or sometimes do slightly stupid things

...and won't discontinue a series, unless they are unpleasant, nasty, vulgar, cruel, mean, selfish, spiteful, insensitive, etc and contribute in making the overall ambience unpleasant and uncomfortable for me.

In any case, I have never yet encountered a main character whom I have disliked enough to make me stop reading a particular series...!


message 2: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (MelodieCO) | 638 comments The White House Chef books are among my favorites. I like Ollie a lot, but I also find the other characters interesting. Gav adds a lot to the the books, IMHO, and I even like the President's kid (his name escapes me at the moment) and I don't usually care for kids in my mysteries. I used to read the Goldy Bear books and never thought of Goldy as mean, etc. I stopped reading them because the stories started feeling like they were phoned in. However, on the subject of the Donut Shop books, I agree. I NEVER liked Suzanne or any of the other characters either. I've never been able to figure out why I read as many of them as I did.


message 3: by Lauren (last edited Mar 03, 2015 01:27PM) (new)

Lauren (MsThestral) I actually like characters that are prickly and perhaps even a little anti-social. Charlene' Harris's Lily Bard, for example. I know that many readers were turned off by her personality but I loved her mix of strength and vulnerability.

I've also realized that readers perceive characters in a different light. What one reader may see as rude, selfish and self-absorbed, another might see as a defense mechanism.


message 4: by AngryGreyCat (new)

AngryGreyCat (angrygreycatreads) | 660 comments While I can and do read books where I don't connect to or relate to or even like the main character, when I am reading a cozy it is just for pleasure. I like to immerse myself in the cozy atmosphere of the setting and the character's life and if I don't like them I just don't want to spend time with them.

I like all kinds of characters, some quirky or even anti-social like Lauren said above, unless they are a) stupid or b) have some strident beliefs or attitudes that come out.

Some of my favorites are Agatha Raisin, Simon Brett's leads from both his Mrs. Pargeter and Fethering series, Ann Purser's Lois Mead, Veronica Heley's Ellie Quick, Diane Mott Davidson's Goldy Bear, Connie Archer's Lucky Jamison, and many more.

I really didn't like characters in Susan Wittig Albert China Bayles or Anne George's Southern sisters. I found these characters annoying and only read one in each series.


message 5: by Nell (last edited Mar 03, 2015 02:59PM) (new)

Nell | 1983 comments Mod
@ Ramla - I read several Goldy Bear mysteries. I liked the main character and have never heard her described in a negative way. The MC is a divorced mother of one who had been in an abusive relationship. (Maybe those descriptions were about her ex.) The series author, Diane Mott Davidson, was one of the first to write culinary mysteries and to include recipes. The recipes are not just desserts because Goldy is a caterer.

@Fanfic - I'm a fan of the China Bayles series and loved Anne George's Southern Sisters. Proof once again that reading tastes vary. I also like Agatha Raisin though her prickly attitude is not for everyone.


message 6: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Barr | 21 comments I don't think I'm looking for characters that I need to relate to, or be friends with, (if they were real). I just like them to have a discernible character. I find so many chick lit books are really disappointing in character development. I'm new to cozies, but the one I just finished, A Sheetcake Named Desire, could be an example. It wasn't funny in any way, or compelling, and only a couple characters stood apart from the rest. I shouldn't have to remind myself who a character is, or what their relationship is to so & so. I do love the title, which is why I read it, and 'cause it's set in New Orleans.


message 7: by ❂ Jennifer (new)

❂ Jennifer  (jennevans) I stopped reading the Booktown series by Lorna Barrett because I didn't like any of the main characters. I also stopped reading Delia Rosen's series around a deli in Nashville because the MC became a bitter, angry protagonist. I stopped reading the Queen Bee series because the MC's mother was just a complete witch.

I love Hyzy's White House series but it's more for the whole package: the writing, the plotting and the characters. Although introducing Gavin to the storylines elevated this series noticeably for me. Her museum series, which I also like quite a bit, is the one I'd say is more appealing specifically for its characters. Still good stories, but mostly I read them because I like Grace.

The donut series I couldn't get past more than two books, because I just didn't like anybody in either book. At all. I stopped reading the Goldy Bear series so long ago, I can't honestly remember why. :)


message 8: by Melodie (last edited Mar 03, 2015 06:10PM) (new)

Melodie (MelodieCO) | 638 comments Nell wrote: "@ Ramla - I read several Goldy Bear mysteries. I liked the main character and have never heard her described in a negative way. The MC is a divorced mother of one who had been in an abusive relati..."

Just shows how varied our tastes are. I love the China Bayles books and rank them in my top 5 series. However, I can see why some might not like China, more so in the earlier books, her personality could be considered somewhat abrasive. Never read the Southern Sisters books.


message 9: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (MelodieCO) | 638 comments Jennifer wrote: "I don't think I'm looking for characters that I need to relate to, or be friends with, (if they were real). I just like them to have a discernible character. I find so many chick lit books are real..."

I like the Piece of Cake books. I'm not so fond of Rita, but really like some of the other characters, like Miss Frankie. The New Orleans setting doesn't hurt either!


message 10: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (MelodieCO) | 638 comments ❂ Jennifer (reviews on BookLikes) wrote: "I stopped reading the Booktown series by Lorna Barrett because I didn't like any of the main characters. I also stopped reading Delia Rosen's series around a deli in Nashville because the MC becam..."

TOTALLY agree with you on the Booktown books. I despised Tricia. She came across as a whiny, petulant child to me. Could never understand why everyone loved her. Her sister was more appealing! I only read one of the Nashville Deli books. Didn't like anyone there either! Only one of the Queen Bee books, too. The mother was one reason, but some of the weird quirks put it over the top for me!

I agree that I sometimes read books where all the characters are unlikeable, like The Girl on the Train by Paula HawkinsThe Girl on the Train which I read last month, but when I read cozies I like for the characters to have at least a couple of redeeming qualities!


message 11: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Barr | 21 comments Melodie wrote: "Jennifer wrote: "I don't think I'm looking for characters that I need to relate to, or be friends with, (if they were real). I just like them to have a discernible character. I find so many chick l..."

Yes, I liked Miss Frankie, and the neighbour Bernice, but all the characters at the cake shop seemed to blend together for me, except Edie. I couldn't keep track of which ones were her past friends, and it couldn't keep a mental image for any of them. I might check out the 2nd one to see if it gets better, but maybe not. There's just so much out there.


message 12: by Ramla Zareen (last edited Mar 05, 2015 03:07AM) (new)

Ramla Zareen Ahmad | 176 comments Nell wrote: "@ Ramla - I read several Goldy Bear mysteries. I liked the main character and have never heard her described in a negative way. The MC is a divorced mother of one who had been in an abusive relati..."

Well Nell, while it's true that I don't as often come across negative comments about Goldy (as compared to Suzanne of Donut Shop Mystery Series) but every time I decide to start this series and check out the plot descriptions and the reviews to refresh my memory ...then remarks like these (and I quote by copy and pasting...!) make me hesitate:

"Davidson would like for the reader to think of GOldy as smart and sluething, it seems, to me, that she is more meddlesome and arrogant. She does not ever repsect what her husband has to say it does not seem that she is in concert with him, or the police, in trying to solve crimes. Instead, she seems to feel that she is competition with the police."

"Goldy commits all sorts of crimes to gather that evidence as well, including multiple B&Es, false statements to the police (even her own husband) and yet she gets offended when the police don't share facts with her. What was once an endearing quality of Goldy's personality (which is what really drives these books) has now become simply annoying and making me, as a reader, have less and less sympathy for her."

"It is not often that you pray for the heroine or hero of a story to suffer a gruesome end at the hands of the villain, but this is one. The heroine is possibly the most annoying main character in any book that I have ever read."

"I hate to say it but I'm getting sick of Goldy. I find her character irritating. She seems to have very little regard for her husband's job. Also, with her getting hit on the head so much I really think she needs a brain scan"

"I didn't find Goldy to be a particularly likeable character and found it hard to respect her."

Then there are also comments about some of the other characters in the book:

"As in the last installment, Goldy's teenage son, Arch, is over-the-top obnoxious, to the point where he is repeating the abusive pattern set by "the Jerk." His behavior, and Goldy's acceptance of it, really soured the story for me."

"Yolanda behaves so poorly (I understand she is supposed to be frightened but, come on, she is hateful and mean to people.
Yolanda's aunt is so ridiculous she is caricature of a real person. Some people may be offended by the way she behaves. 
I thought her hitting the policeman and then she and her neice crowing about it, was way over the top. 
I cannot tell you how much I disliked Yolanda or her ridiculous aunt. Yolanda behaves horribly and Goldy makes excuses for her and her aunt at every turn."

" Yolanda and her ridiculously named aunt Ferdinandia were irritating; I couldn't muster any sympathy for them at all. Liars, sneaky, stupid."

However, as further reinforced by the comments so far in this discussion, every one has their own perceptions about the various characters in a certain series.

So eventually, I do intend to read them myself, to form my own opinion :-)


message 13: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Brown (BeautyGoodBook) | 26 comments I generally only read series where I like the main characters. In order for me to keep reading a series the has characters that I did not like I would have to hate them so much I couldn't wait to see if something bad was going to happen to them.


message 14: by Karen (last edited Mar 04, 2015 09:31AM) (new)

Karen (xKAMx) | 273 comments Tough question... I currently read three series (really, two, I guess now) with protagonists I don't care for, though the protagonist of one series, Lorna Barrett's Booktown Mysteries, finally won me over. It took six books before I liked Tricia Miles, but so far (books 7-8) so good. I kept reading the series because I enjoyed other aspects of the series--the writing, the characters, the setitng, the mysteries. I think I didn't care for Tricia because she always seemed like a victim. Her husband left her to find herself. Her sister was skinnier and more successful at certain things. Etc. BOO HOO. It wasn't until the sixth book that she seemed to stand up for herself--at least for me. I continue reading the series for the previous reasons, but now enjoy the protagonist, too.

The second series, Mary Daheim's Bed and Breakfast Mysteries, stars Judith McMonigle Flynn. There's just something about her that I don't like. The books are well written. The mysteries are interesting and intriguing. I don't mind most of the other characters, but Judith annoys me. I don't hate the character; I just don't particularly care for her. If a real person, I don't think I'd be friends with her.

The other series is Kaitlyn Dunnett's Liss MacCrimmon Mysteries. I won book 4 from a GoodReads Giveaway. I did not particularly care for it, mostly because I did not like the protagonist, Liss MacCrimmon, at all. I thought it might be because I started with book 4, so I read 1-3. I didn't like her or the other characters in the series any better after four books. By then, however, I was four books in so I kept with the series. I'm still reading it, though I'm three behind as of today. I keep with it hoping the books will get better and I'll start liking the characters. Through six books and still not enamored. But... I've invested in six books and the reads are fast, so I keep with it, digging my investment hole a bit deeper with each read.

The thing about cozies is that characters become friends as you read. That's why you keep coming back over and over. So, I don't know what would make me stop a series once I've started it. Usually there's something that keeps me coming back whether it's the setting, the other characters, the theme, etc. (like for Tricia and Judith). That's why I like perusing book stores and libraries. I like reading passages from books that look interesting. If I can't decide based on the cover and blurb, I read a page or two to see if the writing grabs me. If so, I start the series. Once I've started, I pretty much stick with it. Maybe, the devil I know???


message 15: by Ramla Zareen (last edited Mar 13, 2015 04:44AM) (new)

Ramla Zareen Ahmad | 176 comments Karen wrote: "Tough question... I currently read three series (really, two, I guess now) with protagonists I don't care for. Though the protagonist of one series, Lorna Barrett's Booktown Myster..."

Yes Karen, even I find the Cozy Mysteries very addictive :-)

And usually, if there is no major negative issue, and the books continue to provide me pleasure ...then I stay on with the series once getting involved in it :-)


message 16: by Nell (last edited Mar 04, 2015 03:19AM) (new)

Nell | 1983 comments Mod
Ramla Zareen wrote: "Nell wrote: "@ Ramla - I read several Goldy Bear mysteries. I liked the main character and have never heard her described in a negative way. The MC is a divorced mother of one who had been in an a..."

I am seldom swayed by others' opinions on the personality of characters. It's such an individual choice that I find it unhelpful - what annoys others may amuse me or be easily overlooked and vice versa. Ten examples of other people's opinions is way too much information. These must be reviews for mid to late books in the series. Goldy is divorced and her son is a preteen at the start. She doesn't remarry until 6 or 7 books in.


message 17: by Ramla Zareen (last edited Mar 13, 2015 04:48AM) (new)

Ramla Zareen Ahmad | 176 comments Nell wrote: "Ramla Zareen wrote: "Nell wrote: "@ Ramla - I read several Goldy Bear mysteries. I liked the main character and have never heard her described in a negative way. The MC is a divorced mother of one..."

Yes Nell, you are absolutely correct that everyone has their own perceptions, taste and preferences.

There have been times when I have ended up loving certain mystery series despite the negative reviews ...and vice versa.

For this reason, I do eventually intend to read few books in these series as well, before reaching a final decision about both the protagonists...!


Kay (Brigidsmomma) Compton (Brigidsmomma) | 122 comments I really loved the Goldy Bear series, and although I can see that some of Goldy's actions could be less than loveable for some (not paying attention to her cop husband's requests and not sharing all info with him), it has never bothered me. I haven't read any of them for a while, but that is more a case of economics than anything else... I can get so many books free from Amazon, that I have been exploring a bunch of new series in the cozy format.

There is however, one thing that will turn me off a series faster than anything else, and it's something I just discovered recently - when the protagonist aids and abets the killer with getting away with murder. Granted, in the series I was reading, there were some extenuation circumstances - she was pretty much forced to kill the victim or be killed herself by a 3rd party, but there were so many better (and legal) ways to solve the situation that it left me feeling like I had lost respect for the author's point of view. I realize this is just one character, and while I really liked her up to that point, that she could allow a murderer to get away from justice really bothers me. The read stopped being cozy at that point. Audrey Claire is the author, and the series is not the ghost one, but I really don't want to say which series as this is kind of a spoiler on one of the books (but not the 1st) in the series...

SO I guess what I'm trying to say is that while certain things will cause me to lose faith in an author and series, I can handle a lot of miscellaneous character 'flaws' before i will draw the line on a series. But then again, what is my cup of tea may not be yours...


message 19: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (MelodieCO) | 638 comments Ramla Zareen wrote: "Ramla Zareen wrote: "Karen wrote: "Tough question... I currently read three series (really, two, I guess now) with protagonists I don't care for. Though the protagonist of one series, [author:Lorna..."

I can think of several series I stopped reading because of characters. The one that always comes to mind first is the Hannah Swensen series by Joanne Fluke. I got sick to death of the so-called "love triangle". Hannah wouldn't make any kind of decision and then she became SO unlike the person she originally was! Also couldn't buy the idea that Norm & Mike were willing to sit around and wait. Her mother annoyed me. I figure I'm about her mother's age and I don't know ANYONE who acts or dresses the way she does! And those things are just the tip of the iceberg! Stopped the Booktown & Donut shop series because of unlikeable characters, too. There are others, but I'll get off my soapbox! (I stopped the Goldy books because the stories got so stale and boring!)


message 20: by Ramla Zareen (last edited Mar 06, 2015 01:19AM) (new)

Ramla Zareen Ahmad | 176 comments Melodie wrote: "Ramla Zareen wrote: "Ramla Zareen wrote: "Karen wrote: "Tough question... I currently read three series (really, two, I guess now) with protagonists I don't care for. Though the protagonist of one ..."

Well Melodie, when I started reading the "Hannah Swensen Mystery Series" the series was already well into book 12, so I was pretty much prepared for the 'love-triangle'. 

And yes, though I usually avoid getting involved in a series that shows signs of a prolonged 'love-triangle', yet I made an exception in this case ...only because of the theme...! :-)

While I never found the books 'wonderful' enough to add this series among my favourites, and the 'love-triangle' was a constant source of irritation as well, despite my being prepared for it, but still I quite enjoyed reading them now and again.

Though I admit that I took a break from the series after maybe the first 8 books or so ...and as yet have not felt any great desire to return to them. However, I haven't permanently discontinued the series. It's just that these days I don't have too much time to read so I mainly focus on reading books that highly appeal to me...! :-)


message 21: by Karen (new)

Karen (xKAMx) | 273 comments Melodie wrote: "Hannah wouldn't make any kind of decision and then she became SO unlike the person she originally was!"

Totally agree with your analysis. Hannah went from appearing to be a strong female to a simp when it came to men. Though I guess I should have known when she ran away from college because of a failed affair. Initially I didn't have a problem with the triangle because fictional years span several books. Then I did get tired of it because the writing of it was always the same. I began skimming over those parts in the books. Plus, I hated that Hannah let Mike treat her poorly as long as his kisses made her weak in the knees and that she treat Norman like a puppy. I've posted in other discussions that I didn't think she really loved either--at least not yet.

However, I still read the series because I still enjoy other aspects overall--at least so far. Plus, as with the MacCrimmon series, I've invested in 17 books so far. They're quick reads. Again... the devil I know--at least I know what I'm in for.

BTW... I hear in the latest book, Double Fudge Brownie Murder, Hannah finally makes a choice.


message 22: by AngryGreyCat (new)

AngryGreyCat (angrygreycatreads) | 660 comments Melodie wrote: "Nell wrote: "@ Ramla - I read several Goldy Bear mysteries. I liked the main character and have never heard her described in a negative way. The MC is a divorced mother of one who had been in an a..."

Melodie wrote: "Nell wrote: "@ Ramla - I read several Goldy Bear mysteries. I liked the main character and have never heard her described in a negative way. The MC is a divorced mother of one who had been in an a..."

I found China Bayle so abrasive but I never read more than one book so maybe she grew out of it over time.


message 23: by Nell (new)

Nell | 1983 comments Mod
Fanficfan44 wrote: "Melodie wrote: "Nell wrote: "@ Ramla - I found China Bayle so abrasive but I never read more than one book so maybe she grew out of it over time. ..."

Susan Wittig Albert does an excellent job of character development for the main and recurring characters in this series.


message 24: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (MelodieCO) | 638 comments Karen wrote: "BTW... I hear in the latest book, Double Fudge Brownie Murder, Hannah finally makes a choice. ..."

I've read that, too, but seems someone who was never really a player before gets thrown into the mix! Good grief!!


message 25: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (MelodieCO) | 638 comments Nell wrote: "Susan Wittig Albert does an excellent job of character development for the main and recurring characters in this series...."

She most definitely does! That's one of the things I love about the series. The characters grow and change. China has mellowed a great deal over the course of the series.


message 26: by Ramla Zareen (new)

Ramla Zareen Ahmad | 176 comments Melodie wrote: "Nell wrote: "Susan Wittig Albert does an excellent job of character development for the main and recurring characters in this series...."

She most definitely does! That's one of the things I love ..."


I don't remember hearing about China Bayle Mystery Series before, but all the comments on the protagonist in this discussion have somehow made me very interested to check it out...! Thanks to all, who have brought this series to my attention...! :-)


message 27: by Rosemary (new)

Rosemary | 32 comments China bayles is a wonderful heroine. . have read all her books so far


message 28: by Gabrielle (last edited Mar 05, 2015 10:17AM) (new)

Gabrielle (BoundlessBookOwl) I love characters that are flawed, not perfect, not constantly complaining. Those are the characters that drive my reading I think because they are people that I'm interested in learning more about so I will read more of their story. However, I'll try anything once so if someone tells me that I may not like this book for whatever reason I'll still try it instead of immediately writing it off. This applies to whether the main character/s is a male or female character.


message 29: by Susan (new)

Susan Bernhardt | 28 comments I need to read "White House Chef Mystery Series."

I like a protagonist who is likable but flawed, who's a bit sarcastic, and has a witty tone, who's tough yet vulnerable and smart. I like the characters who have quirky, interesting features. Humor is important. I want to get lost in the characters lives. I may consider them to be friends. And I want them to adventure out. And if art and music play into the series, so much the better.

China Bayle was mentioned above and I like her in the Susan Wittig Albert series. In the beginning of the Agatha Raisin books by M.C. Beaton I did like Agatha, and I guess I'm contradicting myself here because she was "unlikable" but I thought endearing. She had a good heart. The later Agatha Raisin books, not so much.


message 30: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (RDouglass) | 177 comments I do think that a sort of relatability in the main character draws me to a mystery. It doesn't mean that I identify with them, or that they are like me in any way, but there needs to be something I can connect with to make a cozy feel cozy.

By the way, I very much enjoyed the early Diane Mott Davidson Goldy Bear mysteries, and gradually stopped reading and keeping up. That means, I realize, that at some point I stopped caring what happened to her. So make of that what you will!


message 31: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (RDouglass) | 177 comments By the way, Sue Grafton is a perfect example of a series where the main character made me lose interest. Kinsey Milhone never grows or changes, as far as I could tell (I made it to maybe O).


message 32: by Randa (new)

Randa | 175 comments Sarah Brandt - gaslight mystery series. I like both the main character, Sarah, and the time period.

Hercules Peroit and Miss Marple - love my English cozies. Both characters have class and intelligence.

Hamish Mcbeth series (by M.C. Beaton). Liked his character more in the earlier books, as of late he appears crasser, unsympathetic, and a bit mean. Also I find the later books to be very very formulaic.

Lily Brewster (grace and favor series -- series seemed to have stopped). Lily was a real go getter, accepted fate and did her best to better her life.


message 33: by Anna Catharina (new)

Anna Catharina | 217 comments For me it's important that the MC is likeable. Likeable means not perfect, but positive. When I have no connection to the MC, I don't read the serie. For example: Miss Marple (I know, everyone loves the Miss Marple books but I don't).
Since I was a teen I love the Miss Marple Movies with M. Rutherford and I expected the books being like the movies. Then I read a Miss Marple book and it was disappointing, I really didn't like it. 2013 I thought I will give another try but it was simply boring. Last year the next try: No, not my cup of tea!
I found Miss Marple in the books not likeable, not funny and simply boring! (But I like the Miss Silver books from Patricia Wentworth, that's the way I expect Miss Marple would be.)


message 34: by Christopher (new)

Christopher Huang (christopher_huang) | 17 comments Likeability is such a subjective thing, I think. There'll always be that one character whom everybody loves but you personally can't see why. For me, that character is P.D. James's Adam Dalgliesh: it just seemed to me that, while all the other characters would talk about what he was like, I never actually got to see any of it except for the interminable moping. I guess angst is my least favourite trait in a main character: I'm here to have fun, after all.

Which might explain why one of my favourite detective outings is Tommy and Tuppence Beresford in Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime. The other Tommy & Tuppence books tend to be thrillers rather than mysteries, and, in a way, so is the frame story in "Partners in Crime". But the individual episodic stories are mostly straight-up mysteries, and I love the upbeat, positive attitude Tommy & Tuppence bring to the table.

Jane Bee in C.C. Benison's "Her Majesty Investigates" series is another excellent example of how a main character's positive attitude can carry the day for me.

That said, I find that I don't really think of how much I like the main characters when I pick out a new mystery to read. I'm more about the puzzle, and that is usually more likely to get me coming back for more than whether or not the main character impresses me in a positive way.


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