|Author Jacqueline Seewald|
With a Mystery Series, readers enjoy a consistency of setting. They like knowing what to expect. The setting should be one the author is familiar with, whether it be a city he/she has lived in, a rural community, an exotic place visited, or an historic location that has been researched in detail. This lends authenticity to the novel. For instance, in THE BAD WIFE, 4thnovel in my Kim Reynolds mystery series, the novel is set in Central N.J. where I lived for forty years. Each novel in the series has a different setting, whether it be the university or an apartment complex, but the town itself is the same.
Readers also like a consistency in the main characters. In THE BAD WIFE, for instance, Kim Reynolds and homicide detective Mike Gardner return to solve another set of murders. They are joined by woman of color, police detective Bert St. Croix. The three main characters are very different in personality and background but each lends something unique to the novels.
In mysteries, people are not as they would appear and so there is an element of disillusionment. I believe that plot is a crucial factor in the mystery novel or any series. In the Kim Reynolds series, there are connected murders that need to be solved. The main characters can become personally involved as in THE BAD WIFE when the woman Mike believed he’d been divorced from returns to wreak havoc in the lives of Mike and Kim. When Mike is accused of murder, Kim and Bert work together to save him and find the real killer.
In regard to characterization, the protagonists are like real people with their lives changing and their characters developing. Ideally, in a mystery series the main characters in the novels are not static but yet remain true to their essential natures. There are more series mysteries today than ever.
The big advantage of the stand alone mystery is that it’s original and unique, a one of a kind book. Many are in the romantic suspense genre. By this I mean that the romance is so important that it may overshadow the mystery. However, my novel THE INHERITANCE is actually a romantic mystery. By this I mean that there is a strong romance between the two main characters. Jennifer Stoddard, a thirty-five-year-old widow with an eight-year-old son, receives a surprising letter which will change her life. Jennifer’s grandmother has passed away and named Jen as sole heir to her estate. To claim her inheritance she must return to Bloomingvale, the town in the Midwest where she grew up. Jen is informed by her grandmother’s attorney that to inherit she must meet the condition of living in her grandmother’s house for two years. Since the estate is substantial, she agrees. However, there are those who will stop at nothing to make certain that Jennifer does not inherit. Frightening things begin to happen to Jennifer. She is forced to turn to Grant Coleman, the local police chief, for help. But Grant and Jen have a negative past history. Nevertheless, they work to solve the mystery of who is out to harm Jennifer.
As a reader, which type of mystery do you prefer? Series or Stand alone? Why?
THE INHERITANCE, will be published by Intrigue Publishing on December 1st. The novel is a mystery that combines elements of the cozy with romance and suspense. As of now, the novel is available as a Kindle book on Amazon for pre-order as well as a print edition:
and many other booksellers.
The 4th novel in the Kim Reynolds mystery series, THE BAD WIFE, was published by Perfect Crime Books and is currently available both in print and as an e-book from Amazon at:
A multiple award-winning writer, Jacqueline has taught creative, expository and technical writing at Rutgers University as well as high school English. She also worked as both an academic librarian and an educational media specialist. THE INHERITANCE, a romantic mystery novel from Intrigue Publishing, is her seventeenth books of fiction to be published. Her short stories, poems, essays, reviews and articles have appeared in hundreds of diverse publications and numerous anthologies such as THE WRITER, L.A. TIMES, PEDESTAL, SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY MAGAZINE, OVER MY DEAD BODY!, GUMSHOE REVIEW, THE MYSTERY MEGAPACK, LIBRARY JOURNAL, and PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.