Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Reading Series in Order?

From: Patrick King (
Date: 22 Jun 2008

--- On Sun, 6/22/08, Douglas Hoffman <> wrote:

Chandler's novels need to be read in order. Otherwise, it might be easy to miss the evolution of Marlowe's character.

****************************************************** Still, this is an academic pursuit. It really doesn't matter to someone who just wants a good detective yarn whether they miss the evolution of Marlow's character or not. The stories themselves don't depend on each other of clarity. I think Faulkner first made character evolution an important part of the journey between his books but it's not important to read Faulkner's books in any special order. Of more sequential importance is Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet in which each book tells the same events from a different perspective and "the big picture" opens up as we understand more and more about who the different characters really are. The most obvious interdependent books are The Rings Trilogy by Tolkien, and more recently sequence has become very important to fans of Harry Potter. Both Tony Hillerman and Walter Mosley have sequence to their mystery novels and I've tended to read both authors as they publish. I don't think it's really important
 to read the books in order to enjoy the stories. Whether Easy Rawlings is a new home owner with two children or a janitor who's kids have left home are elements that give the stories depth. Likewise with Hillerman, whether Jim Chee is dating Janet Pete or Janet has left him to move to D.C. are complications to Jim's life that add another dimension to solving the crime. I do enjoy being "in" on the subplot and feeling Jim's pangs of regret with him. But it's not important to enjoying the book at hand that I have already read the previous twelve books. You can jump in in the middle and enjoy a great story.

Patrick King


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