I recently got a letter from a Cozy Mystery site reader who asked about the books in Barbara Cleverly‘s Laetitia Talbot Mystery Series. Why, she asked, did I have the WWI, archaeology-themed mysteries out of order?
Upon doing a little research, I found that the second mystery in the series was actually written before the first book in the series, so it makes it a prequel to the first book in the series… sort of like George Lucas’ Star Wars first three movies being followed by the prequel years. I mean, how can the 1977 Star Wars movie be part IV, when part I didn’t get released until 1999.
That got me thinking: If you were going to embark on reading a new-to-you author who had a prequel amongst the mysteries in the author’s series, would you cut to the chase (so to speak) and read the prequel mystery first, and then follow it with the rest of the books in their chronological order? OR Would you stick to the publication order and read the prequel wherever it falls in the series… as the publisher intended?
I have to admit that my obsessive compulsive disorder would totally dictate what I would do. There is no way I would be able to stop myself from reading the prequel before hitting the rest of the mysteries in the series.
What would you do?