About the Whodunit Book Club

Whodunit Book Club has met in its present location for almost seventeen years! If you would like to join us, our meetings are held on the last Tuesday of every month (except December).
We meet at the Chapters Store located at 41 MicMac Blvd., Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Phone (902) 466-1640

Monday, October 1, 2007

Do you feel you MUST read a series in order?

I belong to an awesome book club called "Whodunit".
The book club most often chooses the first book in a series as their selection.
However, some feel that this is not the best way of choosing because the first book in a series is very often the first novel by the author.
They think that the first novel does not adequately reflect the author's talent because the author has not had a chance to hone his/her skills.
Conversely, many will NOT read a novel if it is a sequel to others in a series. They want to read the series in chronological order. I am one of those people. Perhaps it is the cataloger in me... that need for order. Also, my favorite novels are character driven and I want to learn about the protagonists in the sequence in which it happens.
I can think of examples to support both arguments. (using some of my favorite authors of course)
The reknowned Scottish novelist Ian Rankin's first Rebus novel, "Knots and Crosses" was far from my favorite of his. I fear that many who read this novel would not pursue reading Ian Rankin. What a shame that would be!
Another example is Deborah Crombie's series featuring Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James. The first novel in the series is not her best. That being said, every subsequent book in the series just gets better and better.
Then there are those superb novelists whose first novels are so well written, that the first in the series is something to be savored. For example, Louise Penny's series featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache begins with "Still Life". This novel was a multi award-winning title and it deserved every accolade it has received.
Also, Stephen Booth's Ben Cooper/Diane Fry mysteries began as page-turners and the quality never lessens as the series progresses.

What are your thoughts?

For more information and series listings visit my website.

1 comment:

Dawn said...

I am definitely in the "start from the beginning" category. I enjoy the development of the author as well as the character development. Reading a mystery series out of order tells you of things to come in a character's development. I enjoy the unfolding of a character's life as much as the mystery and if I find out something ahead of time, I feel cheated. Quite often, it is a subsequent book in a series that peaks my interest. I still have to go back and get the series from the beginning and read the book that caught my eye when I get to it in sequence. Anal, I know. :)