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Consistency is Everything
in Writing Any Series of Novels

It's always interesting to hear scholars point out discrepancies about characters in storytelling. Sherlock Holmes comes immediately to mind in how his background and/or Dr. Watson's background are often inconsistent. The same can be said of any number of stories by other authors. But one has to remember that, in such cases, the stories were often written years apart and often in haste to meet deadlines or fulfill obligations. It was also a time well before the advent of computers so checking one's own work wasn't easy without rereading—something authors do not particularly like to do after a story has been published because they are tempted to rewrite.

On the other hand, for the reading public, character histories really should track throughout all the stories in a series. As the newest book in John Dandola's Dead series is about to debut, it provides a perfect example.
In Dandola's Dead by Happenstance, while the adult protagist is in Mexico on a film shoot, the secondary mystery is about teenaged character Patty Drury discovering a horde of colonial coins. The colonial coin story is based on rumors of such a cache being buried in Dandola's hometown of West Orange, New Jersey. Unlike so many historical rumors, the basis of this tale actually could have happened so in Happenstance, Dandola provides the background as to why it might be true. Also in Happenstance, as a result of the publicity generated by the find, Patty becomes the subject of a 1944 B-movie for Paramount Pictures. In this latest novel, Dead During Intermission, the movie premieres. Throughout the four novels in between, the characters and storylines remain consistent. It's as though the reader gets to follow the characters' lives from one episode to the next which is exactly how it should be.

As one reviewer said, "It's too bad the books aren't a Netflix series. I could stream it and binge watch."
1952 cover art of the Kay Tracey mystery, The Message in the Sand Dunes