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Emma Graham Books In Order

Publication Order of Emma Graham Books

Hotel Paradise (1996) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Cold Flat Junction (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Belle Ruin (2005) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Fadeaway Girl (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Martha Grimes is an American author who’s been writing for some time now, with a whole host of highly popular mystery and thriller novels behind her. Lauded on an international scale by both the critics and the general public alike, she’s managed to create a number of series and well received series, such as ‘Richard Jury’ and ‘Andi Oliver’. One series that she’s particularly well known for, though, is that of the ongoing ‘Emma Graham’ franchise which has been running for a number of books. Working on multiple levels, not just as detective fiction, but as a character study soaked in ambiance, it’s easy to see why this series has proven so popular. Featuring the main character of the eponymous Emma Graham as its leading protagonist, Grimes leads her readers carefully down a rich and varied narrative path. With over four books in the series so far and counting, it’s definitely a franchise that manages to lull the reader slowly in, constantly keeping them engaged throughout.

The character of Emma Graham lends herself well to the overall series, a franchise which totals four books so far. With big thematic ideas, it contains a lot of weight to it as a series, using its genre well to convey a number of grand ideas. Taking the many tropes and clichés of the mystery novel, Martha Grimes has managed to turn them on their head creating something entirely new in the process.

Hotel Paradise

Originally published in 1995 through the Ballantine books publishing label, this was set to be the first in the ongoing Emma Graham series. Setting the template for the books to come, it paved the way for a new type of mystery genre thriller, taking the tropes and creating something new. It also works well at establishing the character of Emma Graham as a lead protagonist in the process, along with providing her with her first mystery to solve.

With ideas of small town life and what it means, this could almost be anywhere, but Grimes has managed to create a location that relates on a universal level. Capturing the essence of life there and what it’s really like, she really brings the location out as almost a character in of itself. Seeing the world through the eyes of her main protagonist, it manages to provide a perspective from the ground level for her readers. Taking into account the politics of the small-town, Martha Grimes tends not to sugar-coat it here either, giving it a realistic portrayal. This means that some of the characters are less than savory, something which the leading protagonist must contend with. It also works at building the world, setting up their various histories and back-stories as well, creating an engaging and in-depth look at their lives. The character of Emma Graham herself is one of resilience, as she’s astute, yet remains somewhat in the shadows. Focused and determined, she’s an independent thinker with a good eye detail, as she manages to piece all of the clues together. Understanding people, she makes a great leading protagonist who can always examine all the evidence and crack the case.

Drawing together a number of disparate elements, this sees a once fashionable but now fading hotel with a single aunt living there. Then there is twelve-year-old girl who is navigating the family business, as well as a love of ice-cream too. Lastly, there’s the murder of another young girl just forty years prior that’s becoming somewhat of an obsession for the girl. How is all this connected? Where will Emma Graham come in? What are the secrets behind Hotel Paradise?

Cold Flat Junction

Working as a direct sequel to the previous novel, it really manages to capture what came previously, taking it forwards in new and unexpected directions. Initially published in 2000 through the NAL publishing outlet, it manages to develop both the character of Emma Graham and the world that she inhabits. It also manages to provide some interesting twists and turns along the way, so it’ll keep both fans and newcomers simultaneously engaged.

Developing the world of Emma Graham, this once again relights a seemingly almost forgotten period of history. Evoking the past, Grimes works at bringing to life history, whilst not getting bogged down in nostalgia either. Recapturing the ambiance and the atmosphere of the first novel, it manages to bring to life not only the era, but the ‘idyll’ surrounding small-town America. Again there’s another death here, but again this idea is not just a simple plot point and more of a thematic idea for the novel to ruminate on. Taking concepts of youth, adolescence, and growing-up, it questions what it means to find ones place in the world. Moving at a slow and ponderous pace, it allows the reader to come to their own conclusion within the framework of the story. Emma Graham herself is a lynchpin within all this and an anchoring point for all these ideas to center around.

Following the death of another young girl, one teenager ponders this unexplained death to question her own life. Set in the small-town once again, it takes a set of intertwining stories and weaves them around one another. Why was the girl murdered? Where will Emma Graham come into all this? What lies in waiting at Cold Flat Junction?

The Emma Graham Series

Playing over the course of four novels so far, the character of Emma Graham is a well-defined one who never feels inconsequential at any given point. Martha Grimes herself is an author who is definitely in control of the action, especially given her background in law. Her time working as a solicitor really pays off here, as the characters and situations really come alive on the page. With a well-defined level of accuracy, she manages to create engaging and in-depth characterizations that can really resonate with readers over the course of the novels. Feeling like they actually know her, there are many readers worldwide who have to taken to this particular series of books. This is something that should continue for some time yet, as more and more carry on finding her books day-by-day.

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