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Old 11-05-2012, 09:01 PM   #1
captkjaneway
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The long, drawn out demise of favourite characters

I believe there are a number of us on here who are pretty avid mystery, murder and thriller readers and who have in the past regaled ourselves in the exploits of Scarpetta, Brennan, reacher and Millhone among others, and now feel very hard done by due to the drop in the quality of these books. I refuse to buy anymore rubbish from Reichs, Grafton, Child and Cornwell, and even McDermid got a bit ropey (although her latest was a cracker again).....

Why has it happened? Do the publishers now demand books far too frequently and so the writers literally churn out poorly researched and poorly written tomes? Do the characters actually come to the end of their life span and are resurrected for a few more bucks due to greed? Are the writers not as good as we thought and are now struggling to think of new ideas?

How did Christie keep Poirot and Miss Marple alive? Colin Dexter kept Morse going too until he ultimately killed him off. John Connolly seems to be able to nuture Charlie Parker and even Bosch hasn't become too insipid to be included.

Would you like me be happier seeing quality rather than quantity output from our favourites?
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:43 AM   #2
speakingtohe
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In a way I agree, but for me some of it has happened after the arrival of ebooks (I love ebooks BTW).

Suddenly I could, and did, read an entire series. Prior to that the books were read as I found them.

Reading five or six books in a week by the same author often results in me being a bit dissapointed by the fifth or sixth, never mind number twenty seven.

Of course I am probably in the minority as I often see people mentioning rereading an entire series for the third time.

Oddly enough this happened to me years ago with Christie when someone gave me a box of books with most of her books. When I stumbled on Christie books by accident I was thrilled, but reading too many in a row put me off for quite a while.

It is not just the characters, reading too many books by the same author, unless widely spaced out,and I am thinking same old, even if the characters are totally different the thought patterns and speech patterns are often too much the same.

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Old 11-06-2012, 02:28 PM   #3
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I think authors run out of ideas for new books in a certain vein. Still, sometimes they can come up with a new thought, and after a couple of bad books in a series, a new book is readable. The In Death series by JD Robb (Nora Roberts) is like that and so is the Honor Harrington series by Weber.
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:08 PM   #4
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I like amateur sleuths, and after a while it just strains credulity to have them repeatedly finding bodies all over the place.
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Old 11-06-2012, 06:28 PM   #5
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One reason may be the "One book a year" expectation that grew up around established series - the pressure to have a new title available for holiday buying/giving.

Another (I think particularly with Cornwell) was when a publisher didn't insist on editorial oversight on a manuscript - some of Cornwell's books didn't make any sense at all - particularly after the one with the werewolf villain! Her publisher seemed content to put anything she wrote into print.

There also is a tendency to try to outdo one's past imaginative efforts, or compete with another author's endeavors - esp. if you're marketed as "the next Christie" or "the successor to Morse."

Few authors can sustain a series with truly fresh plotlines or ideas - notable (IMHO) Chelsea Cain and Jeff Lindsay and Colin Cotterill. And possible Jasper fforde.
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Old 11-06-2012, 06:43 PM   #6
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I found this with one of M.C. Beaton's recent Hamish MacBeth mysteries (Death of a Witch). It was poorly written, and even ripped off plot elements from the old TV program. Really disappointing, and left me wondering if she was finally past it. The ones that came after reverted to form, making me wonder what happened during the writing of that book. Maybe she lost interest in MacBeth, and just banged something out to meet contractual obligations.
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:11 PM   #7
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The epitome of this trend has to be "The Cat Who" series ... which devolved from a sprightly series into a ghastly rehashing of old plotlines with characters mixed up. Of course Braun was in her 90's ... or even rumored to be dead ....
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by poohbear_nc View Post
The epitome of this trend has to be "The Cat Who" series ... which devolved from a sprightly series into a ghastly rehashing of old plotlines with characters mixed up. Of course Braun was in her 90's ... or even rumored to be dead ....
That almost sounds "so bad it's good". I may have to dig one up just to see.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:44 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by rkomar View Post
I found this with one of M.C. Beaton's recent Hamish MacBeth mysteries (Death of a Witch). It was poorly written, and even ripped off plot elements from the old TV program. Really disappointing, and left me wondering if she was finally past it. The ones that came after reverted to form, making me wonder what happened during the writing of that book. Maybe she lost interest in MacBeth, and just banged something out to meet contractual obligations.
I'm reading this series now. Death of a Witch was OK, though not as good as some of the earlier books. I guess I haven't seen the old TV program you referred to.

I just finished Death of a Valentine. This has been my least favorite of the series.
Spoiler:
The plot about Hamish's annoying, alcoholic assistant constable Josie tricking him into marrying her made me cringe. Not to mention that Hamish's family and friends have now been put through two weddings which they thought were real. If he ever actually gets married to someone he wants to marry, nobody will turn up because they will think it's another sham.

I'm about to start the next book and hope I will like it better.

In general, I think most TV and book series would be better if they quit while they're ahead. If the creators start getting bored or running out of ideas, they should plan a decent ending and let us say goodbye to our beloved characters while we still like them.

Last edited by 4691mls; 11-07-2012 at 09:50 PM. Reason: clarity
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