Friday, June 27, 2014

Mystery,Mystery- is more better?

My book club is called Books and Banter. I  like that title so much I may use it for my personal blog, some day soon. One of the books our book club recently read and discussed was A Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny. It fit right in with my love of mystery, so I was happy to lead the discussion. It was Penny's eighth installment in a series of nine books by this talented, award winning author.

A Beautiful Mystery still features Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete de Quebec investigating a murder, but in this story, the victim is found in a remote monastery of cloistered monks, Saint Gilbert in the wilderness.  I enjoyed this book as I did the others in the series.

Most of Ms. Penny's books are set in the village of Three Pines, instilling the trust and friendship of the village characters in beautiful prose.  Her writing is lyrical and she always uses setting to support the theme. I think she does so brilliantly.The murder victim in this story revived my memory of the famous Dionne Quints of Canada, and I thought Penny had contrived a good plot, but after reading  installment number nine,How The Light Gets In,  the  sub-plot of police based corruption connected to government conspiracy, seemed unbelievable. Yes, it made the last third of the book suspenseful, but then the ending seemed contrived.

Louise Penny has one more book in the works, due out in August.She titles her last book, The Long Way Home.  I would like to read more about the eccentric and memorable characters in Three Pines village, and I hope I'm not disappointed., but I'm beginning to believe the notion that the quality of writing fades with  too many books. I hope not. For mystery lovers who would like to read her books in order, they are:

  1. Still Life
  2. A Fatal Grace
  3. The Cruelest Month
  4. A Rule Against Murder
  5. The Brutal Telling
  6. Bury Your Dead
  7. A Trick of The Light
  8. The Beautiful Mystery
  9. How The light Gets In
My own trilogy, Maine Shore Chronicles, a blend of mystery and romantic suspense is still available. The last two istallments, Moonglade and Promise Keeper are still selling in hard cover, but if you didn't catch the first book, Finding Fiona before it went out of print,you can read them all together as Ebooks in my Boxed Set Trilogy available on Amazon.  Enjoy!


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Mary,

Many readers do feel a trilogy is quite appropriate rather than a series that goes on and on. Of course, if the books sell, the writers are encouraged to continue. I've read several of the novels in Louise Penny's series myself and enjoyed them. As for myself, I believe THE BAD WIFE, the 4th novel in my Kim Reynolds librarian sleuth series is the best and most important one. But the series may end here if there is not more reader interest. Quality is not always the determining or main issue in whether or not a series continues. Sales remain the key factor.

Susan Oleksiw said...

This is a question of interest for all of us writing a series. I read some years ago that it takes about 7 books for a series to tell the whole story of the sleuth, whoever it is. This idea changed the way I think about a series, the idea that it is the sleuth's story that is unfolding gradually over the series of books. The argument was that after 6 or 7 books, the character grew stale, his or her story told, and the rest was just padding. Perhaps I can elaborate on this next week, on my post.

Sharon Ervin said...

I'm finally reading PROMISE KEEPER, Mary. Also, I passed my second copy on to a fellow writer here in Oklahoma. She assured me she would read it, but would not guarantee a five-star review. I assured HER that she would love the book and could be as honest as she pleased. I wasn't kidding. How did you put together the boxed set? That was a terrific idea!

Mary F. Schoenecker said...

Jacquie and Susan, Interesting that the number of installments came up in both your responses. I do agree that if books keep selling the author should carry on, but I also think the writer's style must remain dynamic and appealing.

Mary F. Schoenecker said...

Sharon, I hope you enjoy Promise Keeper. Many thanks for giving such good advice to the fellow writer who will read it. Any and all reviews are welcome, for we do learn from them,don't we? here's hoping hers will be a "starry" one. I'll tell you about the boxed set in an email soon.