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Topic: Do cozies have to be read in order?

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Subject: Do cozies have to be read in order?
Date Posted: 9/29/2009 7:47 PM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2009
Posts: 8,181
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I took my son to the library today, and I had to pass by the evil FOL tables they always have up front... of course I had to stop & look first :)

I scored with  Just Murdered   by Elaine Viets  &  Murder of a Royal Pain  by Denise Swanson. 

Are these good as stand-alones, or are they more enjoyable if you read each series in order? 

Date Posted: 9/29/2009 7:54 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2007
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I don't read a lot of cozies but those that I do read are better when read in order.  Most of the series' out there have characters that change and evolve as the series continues.

Full disclosure:  I read all series in publication order.  It gives me the heebie-jeebies not to.

Date Posted: 9/29/2009 10:10 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
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The Rule o' Cozies is that you read them in order.  The mystery part of the story is usually stand alone, but the character development (a big part of any cozy series) is not.

Date Posted: 9/29/2009 10:58 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2006
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LOL, Leeanne.  My eye started to twitch just reading the question.

Date Posted: 9/30/2009 10:20 AM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2006
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I know my response is now redundant, but add me to the list that says that cozies need to be read in order

check out http://www.stopyourekillingme.com for the list of books by an author in a series in order

Date Posted: 9/30/2009 10:32 AM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2009
Posts: 8,181
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You guys are hysterical... sorry about the eye twitching... this is a newly dicovered genre for me :)  Thanks for the website info!

I guess I'll go begin my search for the others in these series...  (I sense another growth spurt of the TBR coming on... AHH!)

Date Posted: 9/30/2009 11:08 AM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
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Add me to the list of people who couldn't read a series (especially a cozy mystery series) out of order even if I wanted to.  It totally goes against my obsessive compulsive tendencies LOL. 

Seriously,  there are some mystery series - and even some cozy mystery series - that can be read out of order and enjoyed.   The Cat Who series springs to mind  as a good example.  But you will get sooooo much more out of any series if you read it in order.   With mystery series, reading out of order means you could easily spoil the endings of previous books in the series - which would take all of the fun out of them.    And as mentioned above, one of the best things about cozy mystery series are the characters and the character development.   You really miss out on that also if you don't read the books in order.

Date Posted: 9/30/2009 11:19 AM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2006
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so, do ya'll think that there's something to mystery readings having OCD tendencies?  is there a correllation?:P

Date Posted: 9/30/2009 11:55 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2009
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I don't know, but I am also constitutionally unable to read a series out of order.  Crazy, huh?

Date Posted: 9/30/2009 12:02 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
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I must admit, I also feel the need to read series in order.  Having said that, though, if you're looking for something light and fun to read to fill in between more serious books, and don't necessarily anticipate wanting to read 6 or 8 books by the same author, you can pick up most cozies and just read the one book.  The author usually repeats essentials about the characters so you don't miss out on anything.  I wouldn't do that with a series that sounded really good, but it seems like there are so many cozy mysteries around now on just about every subject you can think of, that it's fun to just pick up something different once in a while--without having to mentally commit to reading the whole series.  I also find that sometimes the first book isn't the author's best--especially with newer writers--if I decide to read a whole series, I always give it 2-3 books before I decide I don't like it.

Ellie (EllieW) - ,
Date Posted: 9/30/2009 4:26 PM ET
Member Since: 3/5/2007
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Add me to the list of obssessive compulsive mystery readers. Before I had the internet it was so much harder to keep track of series and orders of books. But I religiously researched as best I could to get books to read in order. It goes against every instinct I have to read out of order.

Date Posted: 9/30/2009 6:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
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Well, the only thing I'm obsessive about is reading series in order.  Sometimes I WISH those tendencies would boil over to other parts of my life.

But yeah...to me, ANY series, whether cozy or otherwise, must be read in order. I have made rare exceptions--for example if it's an older series and the first one or two are hard to come by, but a book in the middle of the series is readily available, I will read that one and see if I think it's worth my time and effort to get the whole series or not.

Cheryl

Date Posted: 9/30/2009 7:42 PM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2006
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I may or may not have gone through all of the paperback books that I own and noted where they fall in a series by a small mark inside the cover.

Before the internet, I relied on a bookstore in Dallas.  It was called The Mystery Bookstore.  It was THE coolest bookstore I have ever been to.  And they would put all of an author's books on the shelf in order of the series.  If they were missing a book in the series they had a dummy book to put there that had the title and they would order it for you if you wanted it.  It was incredibly tragic when it went out of business because the owner couldn't compete with B&N and other big box booksellers.

Date Posted: 9/30/2009 9:55 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
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LOL Melani.

And I may or may not have a spreadsheet that lists all of the books in the series for every series book that I have on my physical TBR - well over 150 series at last count - with notes by each book as to whether I own it, have read it or it is available at the library.

Too bad about the bookstore.   That's one of the things that keeps me going back to our small indenpendent mystery bookstore.  I do NOT want it to go out of business.

Date Posted: 9/30/2009 10:44 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2006
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Oh yeah.  List maker here too.  I have a spreadsheet with pages for Books I've Read, To Be Read and Need to Own.  For series books I have a note as to what number it is in the series.  Then I have a separate spreadsheet for Books Read This Year.  I list the book, author, date finished and number of pages.  My friend thinks I'm crazy.  I try to explain that I can't help myself.  It's kinda right up there with breathing for me.

Date Posted: 10/1/2009 10:16 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
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I've found that regular mystery series like The Prey series by John Sandford, the Alphabet series by Sue Grafton, the Lisa Scottelini books-like those can be read out of order. THere might be some personal things that get ruined for you but since the personal side is less focused on-it's not a big deal.

But cozies put more emphasis on the personal life since the main character is not usually a cop or PI.  It's usually an amateur detective and so there's more personal life.  I ruined a cozy series for myself recently by reading 1, yes just 1of the books out of order and found out a major character was killed in the previous book.  I wasn't paying attention and started reading what  thought was the next one. Well it basically ruined the one I had missed because I knew all along what was going to happen. 

Date Posted: 10/1/2009 12:35 PM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2006
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Lynne & Twill!!!!  I have similar spreadsheets.  I might also have mine on my cell phone so when I go to a bookstore or the library I can look things up.

Date Posted: 10/1/2009 1:21 PM ET
Member Since: 9/30/2006
Posts: 6,907
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The "Murder She Wrote" series is one you can read in any order.  Jessica doesn't seem to change much over the series ~ maybe because of the TV show?

A spreadsheet......what a great idea!!!   See ya...................

Date Posted: 10/2/2009 7:08 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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I too have to read the books in order because then the storyline throws me off.  I read 2 books backwards and it about drove me insane!  LOL

I am reading a series right now by Cleo Coyle (coffeehouse) where they give you a lot of background in each book and you could possibly read them out of order, but it is better if read in order to keep up with the personal storylines

Date Posted: 10/2/2009 10:00 PM ET
Member Since: 2/21/2009
Posts: 2,925
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I don't worry about it as much when I'm reading a series book for the first time, and have sometimes found that a later book inspires me to read the series, where the first book might not have - sometimes it's not as good of a plot, or light character development. If I like the first book which I read (which might actually be the 4th, then I do go back and start at the beginning.  That said, I keep all the books of series that I like, and when I reread them, I always read them in order.

Date Posted: 10/3/2009 6:06 PM ET
Member Since: 12/14/2005
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 I am unable to read a series out of order.  It must be a psychiatric disorder

of some kind, but I just can't do it.

Date Posted: 10/4/2009 4:56 PM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2007
Posts: 75
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I ALWAYS have to get all the books before I start reading a series!  Makes me crazy not to have the whole set!  Of course, the downside is that you have all these books to post and they don't get requested that often - very frustrating for me - piles of books to deal with!!  LOL