Cozy Mysteries discussion

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What do you think? > Reading cozy mysteries in order

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi,

So I was wondering if anyone else is the same and has to read their cozy mysteries in order from book 1? I never used to do this but found that I was missing major parts of the back story if I didn't start at book 1. Now if I find other books in the series I hold on to them so I can read in order.

Am I alone in this or does pretty much everyone do this?


message 2: by Paula (new)

Paula | 104 comments Bella, I almost always read in order. Almost because if I pick a book up and read it not knowing that it's part of a series, then I always go back to book 1. I'm pretty anal about reading books in order but that's just me. : )


message 3: by Chris (new)

Chris Starkman | 2 comments Hi Bella, Yes, I always read all series books in order. You're not alone! :)


message 4: by Nell (new)

Nell | 1163 comments Yes, I read mystery series in order. That's especially important for the early books in a series. If I find an interesting series at a UBS, I hold on to later books until I can read in order.


message 5: by Robin (new)

Robin (mrtutt2) | 5 comments Bella wrote: "Hi,

So I was wondering if anyone else is the same and has to read their cozy mysteries in order from book 1? I never used to do this but found that I was missing major parts of the back story if..."


Hi

From my experience as a book seller not many do what you do but you are the answer to a book sellers dream we try and hold back stock so customers can do this


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Yay! You all are making me feel less weird! My husband is always "why haven't you read that one" and I'm like "because I don't have the first book yet!"

Robin - We need more bookstores like that in my town. The big stores only sell the recent releases so I'm always prowling UBS, libraries and online to get the backlist.


message 7: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Mullis | 151 comments I read cozies in order too. I think that the characters grow as the series moves forward and I like to see how things evolve. I really love when I discover an author who already has several books in a series published. Heaven!


message 8: by Jan (new)

Jan Crow | 3 comments I agree, I can't read a mystery out of order. It ruins the first of the series for me to go back and read previous books in the series.

And, yes, as a bookseller, we love customers who have to read the series in order. We will go to great lengths to find the earlier books to please a reader/customer.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Maureen wrote: "I read cozies in order too. I think that the characters grow as the series moves forward and I like to see how things evolve. I really love when I discover an author who already has several books..."

It's heaven isn't it? I've been reading cozies for about 3 years now and it's great to have so much selection. Most of the series I read have at least five books already so I've found lots to read!


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Jan wrote: "I agree, I can't read a mystery out of order. It ruins the first of the series for me to go back and read previous books in the series.

And, yes, as a bookseller, we love customers who have t..."


Jan - I love my local UBS for this reason. They always keep an eye out for earlier books for some of my favorite authors and for new series.


❂ Murder by Death  (murderbydeath) I always read books in order too - and I've been sitting on an India Ink book, the third one in the series, because I haven't been able to find the second one anywhere for a reasonable price. :)

I've also been known to re-read the last book in the series before the newest one comes out - to refresh my memory about the characters' lives. :)


message 12: by Kelley (new)

Kelley (booknerd69) I have always read my series in order, starting back to Nancy Drew...they were numbered for a reason!! :) Also, I have read all of the Nero Wolfe books in date written order, even though each of those books can be read in any order. It really helps me stay in order and if I discover a new book and buy one out of order never having read any, then I wait to get the first one. I just sit on it until I get the series read in order :)


message 13: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Jarvis (screalwriter) | 152 comments I'm a half-and-half. I read Tony Hillerman, who I consider an American cozy writer rather than a police procedural writer even though his characters are Navajo police officers, starting in the middle and then as much from the beginning as I could. It was jarring to read a book where Leaphorn's wife was dead and then read something else where she was alive.


message 14: by Grey853 (new)

Grey853 | 40 comments Nope, I don't have to read things in order. It's nice, but it's never bothered me to know what's happened in later books when I go back to read the previous ones.


message 15: by Sandra J (last edited Feb 26, 2011 03:40PM) (new)

Sandra J Weaver (sandraweaver) | 308 comments Grey853 wrote: "Nope, I don't have to read things in order. It's nice, but it's never bothered me to know what's happened in later books when I go back to read the previous ones."

I don't need to read in order either. Maybe because I'm a rereader, it doesn't bother me to "spoil" earlier books (I actually like spoilers) and just jump into a series several books past the first one.


message 16: by Kate (new)

Kate (kate28) | 141 comments Sometimes I do, but usually I don't. I do it with my favorite series (Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swenson mysteries) because I don't want to miss anything, but if I find a new book by another author that looks good I won't wait to read it until I've read everything that comes before it- I'm too impatient!

My pet peeve is when you read books out of order and the author mentions who the killer was in a previous book. I can't STAND that! This happened to me recently when I read Death Threads (A Southern Sewing Circle, #2) by Elizabeth Lynn Casey so that is one series that should def be read in order!


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Kate - I can totally understand that! I've read in some mysteries where they say who the killer was, and even mention the book title! I'm so glad I read in order when that happens.


message 18: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Jarvis (screalwriter) | 152 comments Kate,
That's awful. I write mysteries and have been known to say something like, "No one knew what Harry (the cat) was good at yet; that's another story," but I would never give away a killer!


message 19: by Deborah (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) I almost always just start with a random choice of the series. Then if I can I got back to the first and work my way forward.


message 20: by Anne (new)

Anne | 31 comments Bella, I try to read them in order; my library is really good about getting via InterLibrary Loan the ones they don't have. If I don't read them in order, i feel that I'm really missing something.


message 21: by Susie (new)

Susie Fevella (susieinks) | 821 comments Bella wrote: "Hi,

So I was wondering if anyone else is the same and has to read their cozy mysteries in order from book 1? I never used to do this but found that I was missing major parts of the back story if..."


Me too Bella...I have to start at the beginning ;)


message 22: by ஐ Briansgirl (Book Queen)ஐ, Cozy Mysteries Group Owner (last edited Feb 27, 2011 09:31PM) (new)

ஐ Briansgirl (Book Queen)ஐ (briansgirlkate) | 1576 comments Mod
I usually start at the beginning. The only exception is when it's a long series and I only have one odd book I found at a thrift shop cheap. If I plan on reading the entire series... I almost always read in order. Alot of times I will check on GRs about the series as some series really need to be read in order (like Aunt Dimity), and others are more stand-alone with recurring characters so it doesn't matter as much (ie Murder, She Wrote).


message 23: by Caroline (new)

Caroline | 661 comments I'm of the usually read in order type. Occasionally, when I've read the second or third book in a series, I didn't want to go back and read the first one that I missed because I felt I'd be going backward. But, normally, if I find an author new to me (as I did with Anne George), I have to find all the books and read them in order (thank you, kind booksellers!). I also try to read the first book in new series by cozy authors so that, if I like them, I can keep up and read in order.


message 24: by Heather L , Cozy Mysteries Moderator (new)

Heather L  (wordtrix) | 18265 comments Mod
Bella: Yes, I always prefer to read a series in order. In fact, it's the main reason why I haven't continued Alice Kimberly's "Haunted Bookshop" series. I was able to find books one, three and five at the UBS, but cannot find two and four locally (new or used), and cannot afford to order them online right now. I'm hoping for at least one B&N GC for my birthday.


message 25: by Judy (new)

Judy (julianka) | 38 comments I prefer to read in order, but, I have read out of order and it really doesn't seem to hurt. I've always read Emily Brightwell's Mrs. Jeffries books out of order. But if I find a new series and it's easy enough to find the books in order, I'll do it that way.


message 26: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (melodieco) | 5280 comments I used to be anal about RIO, but not anymore. If I find a book that sounds like a great read, I read it. If it's the first in a series that's nice, but if it's the 5th or 10th, that's okay, too. Life's too short to miss out on what could be a great read because I didn't read a series in order.


message 27: by Nairabell (new)

Nairabell | 97 comments I usually read in order (I'm reading the Coffeehouse Mysteries through in order at the mo), but occasionally I'll slip up and buy a mid series book first. I read Undead and Unemployed before Undead and Unwed (not cozies) and messed up the first book for myself.

I've got Thou Shalt Not Grill on my TBR and it's likely to stay there for years because for some reason I thought it was the first in the series, and now I can't find the rest.


message 28: by Beth (new)

Beth | 616 comments I usually read in mystery series in order. Sometimes I'll try out a new author by reading their latest, then if I like the writing, I'll go back and start the series at the first book.


message 29: by Shirley (new)

Shirley (shirleythekindlereader) I read in order to watch the growth of the author. I started this with A Cat Who series years ago. Of course that leads to a TBR pile of each until the hunt for all of the series has finished.


message 30: by Kate (new)

Kate Carlisle (katecarlisle) | 28 comments I try to read mysteries in order whenever I can, but sometimes I do like Beth and just start with the author's most recent book. Most authors try to write the books so that new readers won't be too lost, so it doesn't throw me off completely. Also, with mysteries, I think most authors try not to reveal the killer from previous books so they don't spoil any surprises for new readers.


message 31: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (mgauffant) | 63 comments I do; but I started the Pennyfoot hotel mystery out of order because I was just getting the holiday editions as christmas gifts and now that I finally want to read it in order, Every time I attempt to purchase the first book-the sellers will back out (probably realizing they go for a lot more on Ebay). It's frustrating!


message 32: by Kate (new)

Kate (kate28) | 141 comments I just started reading A Charmed Death (A Bewitching Mystery, #2) by Madelyn Alt and within the first 40 pages the author told us who the killer was in the last book. Thank goodness I'm reading this series in order but come on!


message 33: by Maggie (last edited Mar 11, 2011 02:48PM) (new)

Maggie (ceodraiocht) | 17 comments Kate wrote: "I just started reading A Charmed Death (A Bewitching Mystery, #2) by Madelyn Alt and within the first 40 pages the author told us who the killer was in the last book. Thank goodness I'm reading this series in order but c..."

Well, I try to read in order but sometimes mess up by not paying enough attention.

Kate, well on the bright side Madelyn Alt does do fun light cozy mysteries.

Pretty much any series I read, if it's not the previous killers (and I've seen other books do killer reference - Dresden files for one)you'd spoil any relationship surprises, or even deaths of characters by going out of order. Unless I mess up - I go in order.


Donna (weegraydog) (weegraydog) I like to read a mystery series in order--my husband thinks there's something wrong with me, so I'm glad to see there are other readers who do the same. It seems like in a lot of cozy mysteries, there is a possible love interest on the side that develops as the series goes on, so I like to see the long-run background stories develop chronologically. With an author like Agatha Christie, this doesn't seem to be as much of an issue.


message 35: by Chris (new)

Chris Curtis (cjccur) | 68 comments Most of the time I read them in order. Occasionally I start reading without knowing it's part of a series or I will find something that looks good at the used bookstore and read it to see if I will like the series.


message 36: by Nell (new)

Nell | 1163 comments My worst experience with later books revealing the crime solved in an earlier one was with Louise Penny's Bury Your Dead (Armand Gamache Series #6) by Louise Penny . The book description on the inside cover has a spoiler about a previous book. [Named character] is trying to convince the detective that [person arrested in a previous book] is innocent. Aargh!!


message 37: by Duffy (new)

Duffy Brown | 33 comments This is good to know as an author...not to give away the killer and important events from previous books. I will keep that in mind as I write. Thank you!


message 38: by Mary C (last edited Mar 28, 2011 07:44AM) (new)

Mary C (marymaryalwayscontrary) | 110 comments I'm feeling serious series burnout right now. I'm tired of finding a book in a thrift store only to come home and find out that it's book 4 of a 20 book series. My TBR is nearing 1,000. I think I'm just going to pick a few new to me authors that I have already and just read the earliers one I have without trying to get the 1st ones in the series. Because I seem to be constantly reading library books to catch up to the books I already own. Instead of moving books of my own personal TBR.


message 39: by Doug (new)

Doug Beatty | 10 comments I don't have to read them in order. One thing I like about mysteries is that the back story should be just that, a BACK story. The mystery itself should be self contained with new suspects and a working solution. Some series I end up reading in order because I start them and read them as they come out but I don't feel I need to read them in order.

That is why I prefer mysteries to thrillers because sometimes in a thriller the killer comes back from book to book. I want the myserty to be over and done in one.


message 40: by Beth (new)

Beth | 616 comments Doug,
I agree that I want the killer discovered and punished in each mystery I read. I don't promote my blog posts here usually, but given what you just said, you might be interested in reading a recent one I wrote about mystery readers' need for closure and that "Justice Is Served" at:
http://midnightwriters.blogspot.com/2...


message 41: by Sherry (new)

Sherry | 137 comments Doug wrote: "I don't have to read them in order. One thing I like about mysteries is that the back story should be just that, a BACK story. The mystery itself should be self contained with new suspects and a..."

I like to read series, and I like to read them in order, cozy or otherwise. I want to see the mystery in each book solved within that book, but I enjoy the character development, the development of relationships, and even the aging of some of the characters (for instance, the character may begin as a small child, but become a teenager,) as the series progresses.


message 42: by Doug (new)

Doug Beatty | 10 comments Good blog post Beth. I agree!


message 43: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Bradford (nlb1050) | 77 comments I have very seldom been able to read from book 1 in a series but have not really found that to be a problem. With the newer series/authors I am able to.

I decided a few years ago that I would keep books as long as I really liked them and have at times gone back and started at the beginning to reread. It is fun to see how the authors writing has improved with character development.


message 44: by Karen B. (new)

Karen B. (raggedy11) | 232 comments Question regarding reading cozy mysteries in order:

What Cozy authors can I read that I DON'T need to read in order? For example I found I could read the Agatha Christie Miss Marple books in any order. Sometimes I see newer mysteries on great sales but need to know if I need to read the previous books first.


message 45: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (elizabeth8921) | 5308 comments Trying to read Molly Murphy in order (Rhys Bowen) but cannot find "For The Love of Mike" at a price I can afford. Wait I'll try pbs


message 46: by Ellie (new)

Ellie (elliearcher) I can't usually wait to get the first book in a series, I'm not very patient. Plus I've discovered that often the 1st book is not the best so I kind of like starting with the 2nd or 3rd & then circle back.

I only go in order when someone lets me know I really need to.

Well, I really try to go in order when someone tells me I really need to.


message 47: by Karendenice (new)

Karendenice I'm absolutely anal about going in order. I don't want to miss anything. :D


message 48: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (melodieco) | 5280 comments I used to be "weird" about reading in order, but not anymore. With very few exceptions I say read whatever you want. One of the exceptions was when someone asked about reading ONE WAS A SOLDIER when they hadn't read any others. This is one series where if you haven't read some of what came before you will be lost on some of the story points. On the whole, tho, life is way too short to miss out on what might be a phenomenal read just because I haven't read the one, three or ten that came before it?? Seriously?? I don't think so! It sounds like a good read and you're really interested in it? Go for it! I could go out tomorrow and have a brain aneurysm at Walmart like a dear friend of mine, so I don't worry about something as insignificant as reading books in order now.


❂ Murder by Death  (murderbydeath) Karen B wrote: "Question regarding reading cozy mysteries in order:

What Cozy authors can I read that I DON'T need to read in order? For example I found I could read the Agatha Christie Miss Marple books in an..."


Not as easy a question to answer as it should be, I think. The Miss Marple's weren't really a series, imo, so much as murder mysteries with the same central character(s) whose relationships were all firmly established. Series nowadays all have over-arcing character development and relationships between characters grow and continue to evolve over each book. For me, if I read a book out of order I always wonder about the relationships and how they got to be friends or involved with each other etc.

Having said that - if you aren't bedevilled by curiosity about the character development in stories, most series are perfectly fine to read out of order since they don't often refer to previous mysteries or give away the bad guy from previous books. There are a few that do, but I'm hard pressed to think of which ones off the top of my head. :) The Flower Shop Series by Kate Collins is one that I think could probably be read out of order...


message 50: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (hanjae) | 82 comments I'm absolutely anal about reading in order. The thought of missing out on some potentially important details really bothers me, so the only time I read out of order is if I pick up books from the library without checking. It's a pretty difficult obsession if you're desperate to start a series and can't find the first/next book, though. Sometimes I have to wait for months until I either have the money to buy the book or someone buys it for me.

I don't think I've ever read a series where the author mentioned previous murders, though, so I can't contribute to the list of series that can't be read out of order. But I would say it's generally better to stick to the order anyway, if only to prevent confusion about how the characters' relationships change. It particularly bugs me if I read a later book in a cozy series where the main character's flirtation with whichever guy has already progressed to official boyfriend/girlfriend status, and I'm left wondering how. It's never as fun when you circle back and fill in the gaps.


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