Re: RARA-AVIS: Reading Series in Order?

From: Stephen Burridge (
Date: 21 Jun 2008

I have been re-reading Hammett myself. So far I've read the the Richard Laymon biography, followed by "The Maltese Falcon", "The Glass Key" and "Red Harvest". It doesn't seem to me that the order matters.

I've also been reading Ross Macdonald, sampling books from different periods. I'll probably end up reading them all. Again, I don't think the order is important.

I did read Ian Rankin's Rebus novels, Barbara Vine, and Sue Grafton in order of publication, having come late to each. (Vine of course doesn't have a series character, but I treated the books as a series.) There probably wasn't any very good reason for this; I just decided I wanted to read them all and it seemed an orderly, systematic approach. I think the later Rankin books are better than the early ones, so it might make sense to start with a late one if you haven't read any and want to check them out. This is less true of Grafton and Vine. (I think the weakest Grafton is "H".)

An odd case is the British writer John Lawton, who may or may not be a good fit for Rara-Avis. He has a series of historical novels about a cop named Frederick Troy, which take place from the 1930s to the 1960s. The historical settings are important and famous people appear in the books. However they have appeared out of historical order, so for example books set in 1963 and 1956 were published before a book set in 1940. I've only read a couple of these, but I don't think there's any good reason to read them in any particular order. Stephen

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 21 Jun 2008 EDT