Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Can You Just Jump in?

Pardon me for composing a title that ends in a preposition, but that question seemed to be the clearest way to introduce this post's topic. Can you start reading a mystery series in the middle of the series? I had the good fortune to spend time yesterday with two former colleagues who happily remain friends. They are also mystery fans and as so often happened during my years working with reading friends, the topic turned to our latest reads. I mentioned  Cara Black's Murder on the Quai, which is number 16 in this very enjoyable series set in Paris. I offered to give my copy to my friend and she asked a good question, "Do I need to start at the beginning of the series, or can I just jump in?"

A lively discussion followed. We thought one could jump into Sue Grafton's Alphabet Series, but would caution against that for Ian Rankin's outstanding Scottish series. And, yes, a post on Ian Rankin is long, long overdue.

Also long overdue is a post on a mystery novel that begins one of my all-time favorite mystery series. I found C.J. Sansom's Dissolution in a bookstore in Notting Hill in 2005. I started reading in the bookstore and kept reading as I flew home across the Atlantic. I'm a fan of all things Tudor and besides being a complex and interesting mystery, it's an extraordinary historical novel. There are six books in the series which focuses on life in Tudor England. We meet the human, vulnerable and brilliant lawyer Matthew Shardlake, and follow him through the reign of Henry VIII. Each book builds on the one before and it would be a difficult series to jump into somewhere in the middle. The series is at most times dark, violent, sad, and yet always interesting.

When I first thought of writing a mystery novel blog I thought I would begin with a post on Dissolution. Like so many things in life I was sidetracked, but am happy to feature one of my favorite novels. If you're familiar with this series, you're a fortunate reader. If you're about to start reading it, you're in for a treat. The title refers to the Dissolution of the Monasteries, that took place under the reign of Henry VIII. 

So many books to read and so many books to write about and so, so little time! As ever, thanks for visiting and happy reading!