Publication Order of Murder, She Wrote Books
|Gin and Daggers||(1989)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Manhattans and Murder||(1994)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Rum and Razors||(1995)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Brandy and Bullets||(1995)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Martinis and Mayhem||(1995)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|A Deadly Judgment||(1996)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|A Palette for Murder||(1996)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Highland Fling Murders||(1997)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Murder on the QE2||(1997)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Murder in Moscow||(1998)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|A Little Yuletide Murder||(1998)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Murder at the Powderhorn Ranch||(1999)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Knock 'em Dead||(1999)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Trick or Treachery||(2000)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Blood on the Vine||(2001)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Murder in a Minor Key||(2001)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Provence - To Die For||(2002)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|You Bet Your Life||(2002)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Majoring in Murder||(2003)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Destination Murder||(2003)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Dying to Retire||(2004)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|A Vote for Murder||(2004)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Maine Mutiny||(2005)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Margaritas and Murder||(2005)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|A Question of Murder||(2006)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Three Strikes and You're Dead||(2006)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Coffee, Tea or Murder||(2007)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Panning for Murder||(2007)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Murder on Parade||(2008)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|A Slaying in Savannah||(2008)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Madison Avenue Shoot||(2009)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|A Fatal Feast||(2009)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Nashville Noir||(2010)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Queen's Jewels||(2010)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Skating on Thin Ice||(2011)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Fine Art of Murder||(2011)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Trouble at High Tide||(2012)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Domestic Malice||(2012)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Prescription for Murder||(2013)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Close-Up on Murder||(2013)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Aloha Betrayed||(2014)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Death of a Blue Blood||(2014)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Killer in the Kitchen||(2015)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Ghost and Mrs. Fletcher||(2015)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Design for Murder||(2016)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
Today I will talk about a successful murder mystery of its time, a series that was written by Donald Bain and fictional female detective Jessica Fletcher. Donald Bain is the author or ghost author as they call him of more than 115 books, most of them were bestsellers. These consist of both fiction and non-fiction. The popular categories that his novels can be categorised are: murder mysteries, comedies, westerns, investigative journalism, business, psychology, historical dramatizations and food.
Now looking into a brief overview of how this series was born. Harvey Shepard, the CBS network (US television) executive approached William Link and Richard Levinson in 1984 about making a mystery series with a female lead role. Angela Lansbury who was secretly expressing her interest in a small screen series finally bagged the role. In April 1984 filming of the series started and the series came to life.
The novel series was born following the popularity of the television series that were aired from 1984 to 1996 over 264 episodes covering 12 seasons.
Donald Bain started writing this series for the TV show and have written all the above when he was writing approximately two each year. The setting for most of the books in this series saw the female detective Jessica Fletcher moving from her favourite location Cabot Cove to various locations all over the world to solve mystery cases. From London, Scotland, Provance, San Francisco, to the Carribbean, Manhatten, Las Vegas and New Orleans, Jessica travelled all over the globe via this series chasing her culprits.
Jessica was female detective and the spine of the mystery murder series :Murder, she wrote. Her ancestor’s belonged from Kilcleer, Ireland (Cork). Jessica had two brothers and two sisters. She was a widow and an English teacher (retired). This extremely talented detective lived at 698 Candlewood Lane in Cabot Cove, which is situated in Maine. Jessica and her late husband were not blessed with children but there is mention of nieces and nephews, cousins, in-laws and relatives in the series.
Jessica’s relationship with law enforcing officers was not always pleasant. They preferred her staying away from crime scenes. However her accurate judgement and deductions on the cases forced them to accept her role to resolve the mysteries were dragging quite a bit.
In some series readers felt that Jessica Fletcher’s personal life and her personal relationships were portrayed more than the actual mystery. On a popular site; the novel is given a rating of 3.5 – 3.7 stars. However there is a section of readers who are absolute loyal and dedicated fans of Jessica Fletcher and have read every single novel just for this love for the character.
The opening scenes of every novel is a clear inspiration of the TV series and closely follow the pattern of its beginning; build up, climax, resolution and ending. In every novel Jessica Fletcher is placed just before a murder waiting to happen or just after a crime. Her analytical sense always made her build up the puzzle bits together and reach to the resolution of every mystery.
The Signet Books, a subsidiary of The Penguine Group released this novel internationally and helped it become a household name.
The first series of the novel The Corpse Danced at Midnight was made into a TV film and later a successful theatre. The series also inspired video games for PC and Mac; board games and Dvds. This nerve wracking series has been popularised via Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus with over 114,000 likes and followers. Amazon and Barnes & Noble are the popular distributors of the book. Some followers of the series have pointed out in their reviews and discussion boards that some characters have changed massively from the TV series to the books. Viewers and readers kept the author under constant pressure of making sure that both settings marry up. I feel that since the TV series came in first, readers were automatically expecting a similar pattern in the books that followed.
Now talking briefly about few of the novels written in this series:
1) The Corpse Danced at Midnight : This is the first novel of the series. this was written just after the death of Jessica’s husband as a way to cope with her grief. It was published in late 1984. Jessica got inspiration to write this from a recent newspaper news. Artistic designer Andrew Probert made the illustrations of this book. This book was later made into a film. The murder weapon in this novel was poison and the pregnant ballerina was behind the horrific crime.
2) Murder comes to Maine: This book was later transformed in to a broadway play by the name ‘Mainly Murder’.
3) Ashes, Ashes, fall down to dead: This book was dedicated by Jessica to Mort Metzger and is a narrative version of autobiography of Mort’s brother while returning home from New York.
4) All the Murderers: This is another novel in the series that reached great heights of appreciation. The movie version of this novel was a big hit in the Milan film festival of 1992.
5) Yours’ Truly Damian Sinclair: This novel Jessica based on the life of her friend who was an ex- jewel thief by the name Damian Stanton.
6) The uncaught: This book created controversies with a man called David Novaro. He was accused of killing his own wife and when the book was released, he claimed that the book was written based on his story. More problems followed on when David Novaro himself was found dead.
7) Murder in White: This was another bestseller which was made into a play to debut at the famous West End , London.
8) The Launch Pad Murders: San Francisco’s Daily Union was meant to serialise this book.
9) A case of Half Murder: This was the last novel written in this phase of this series. This was being promoted in San Francisco when the US TV series that was a household name for more than 12 years came to an end.
However the novels did not stop at this. there were more series after this.
‘There’s just something that doesn’t seem right’; said Jessica in one of her novels and thus started another nerve wracking adventure involving crime and suspenceBook Series In Order » Characters » Murder, She Wrote