Saturday, March 8, 2014



More and more, I see series mysteries as TV programs with individual episodes.

The whole story is the story. Each book is one episode. (The Clare Fergusson books seem to be a prime example.)

I don't think it used to be that way, at least quite so much. Each book was more distinct. Authors used continuing characters and some connections, but I don't remember the 87th precinct or Dalziel and Pascoe as so clearly episodic (except maybe in the later books).

My guess? More writers use screenwriting software to plot their books. They write with the idea that these books could be made into TV episodes or episodic movies. They write scenes they think would film well.

This will sound crazy. In one way, episodic mysteries remind me of erotic books. I've read a couple of the popular erotic books which have sold millions. In those books the gimmick seems to be that "submissive" sex leads to love. In previous romances, most often, love led to sex. (I say this as someone not much interested either in erotic books or romance novels.) Authors have changed the whole plot line around.

Maybe, in some cases, a similar thing has happened in a different way with series mysteries.


pattinase (abbott) said...

I gave up watching LONGMIRE for this reason. To cram a whole novel into a forty minute show ruins it for me.

Joe Barone said...

TV shows and novels are two different things. For me, the novel is almost always better.