On Nero Wolfe and Others

On Nero Wolfe and Others

We are celebrating our 12th anniversary in business, as mentioned in the previous entry, and thus are entering Year 13. Cross your fingers.

When our Former Owner stepped away from active management of the bookstore, he wondered what to do with the extra free time. He doesn’t fish; he doesn’t golf; he doesn’t gamble. Why, he barely breathes! But he does read.

So one project he chose was to reread, in the order of publication, all of the Nero Wolfe mysteries by Rex Stout. As originally published in book form, this consists of 45 separate volumes. The task is almost over: one and one-half books to go.

Mysteries seem to lend themselves to extended series. Other long-running series that we have read in full are the Travis McGee series by John D. MacDonald (20 titles) and the Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters (21 titles).

Some authors are still at it. We read the first half of so of the Kinsey Millhone series by Sue Grafton (22 titles with W is for Wasted due out on September 10.) We’ve also read a few from the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich (19 numbered titles with Takedown 20 due out on November 19, 2013, plus four so-called “Between the Numbers” titles such as Visions of Sugar Plums).

Of course, there are longer-running series written for children (e.g., Nancy
Drew), but our impression is that most of them are written by multiple authors using a “house” name or continuing under the name of the original author. We’ve guessing the same is true of long-running Western or men’s adventure series such as the Trailsman or Executioner series. It’s a different matter when a single author has devoted much of his career to a single character.

What other single-author long-running series (20 or more titles) with one main character can you think of? Have you read all of the titles in the series? We’d like to know

2 thoughts on “On Nero Wolfe and Others

  1. John Sanford and his Prey series. Lucas Davenport is his “hero”. Also has two other series , with less books but connected stories.

  2. Yes, Sandford (correct spelling) is still quite productive, and is a good example of an author who mostly writes many titles about one character but also has other series going. This is also true of Lawrence Block who has 15 or so books in his Matt Scudder series, but created at least three other characters with multiple titles each. Then there’s Agatha Christie, with numerous Hercule Poirot titles but also her Miss Marples. Erle Stanley Gardner wrote most of his prolific output using Perry Mason as his main character, but also used the Donald Lam/Bertha Cool duo in a handful of titles. Even Rex Stout, the original example in blog entry, experimented early on with a few series other than Nero Wolfe before abandoning them.

    Acccording to http://www.fictiondb.com (which we just discovered, and recommend), Marcia Muller’s Sharon MCone series is now up to 33 titles.

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