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Guest Marilyn Levinson

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Edith/Maddie writing from north of Boston, where it’s looking and feeling like fall!

I’m happy to welcome my fellow Guppy Marilyn Levinson to the blog today. She’s going to tell us about ending a series, and she’s offering a hardcover copy or ebook of Dewey Decimated as a giveaway (US only)!

But first, the blurb: Carrie Singleton is just off a hot string of murder cases centered around the spooky local library in Clover Ridge, Connecticut when a dead body is found in the basement of the building attached to the library, and it turns out to be Carrie’s fiancé’s Uncle Alec, who Dylan hasn’t seen in years. But Alec has no intention of truly checking out, and his ghost makes itself at home in the library, greatly upsetting the patrons. Carrie and Evelyn, the library’s ghost, work hard to keep Alec out of sight, but what was he doing in Clover Ridge to begin with? And why was he killed? 

Meanwhile, the town council, of which Carrie is also a member, is embroiled in a hot-headed debate over the fate of the Seabrook Preserve, a lovely and valuable piece of property that runs along Long Island Sound. As the dispute rages, there’s another murder, this time involving a council member. Could the two murders be connected? And could Carrie be next on the hit list?

End of a Series

I often wondered how and when a mystery writer decides to end a series. Does she kill off her sleuth? Have her go off into the sunset with her lover like in a romance? Or does she simply stop when she realizes she wants to write about other characters?

My decision to end the Haunted Library series that I write as Allison Brook came to me while I was writing the seventh book. My sleuth, Carrie Singleton, has come a long way from leading a semi-vagabond existence dressed like Goth Girl. Once Carrie accepts the position as head of programs and events at the Clover Ridge Library her life slowly begins to change. She takes her new responsibilities seriously and with a sense of pride. She develops friendships as she solves homicides with the assistance of library ghost, Evelyn Havers. Carrie’s relationships with each of her parents improves. She falls in love with Dylan Avery, and after conquering her anxieties is ready to take the next step—marriage.

As I contemplated the themes and events of  book number eight, I realized that this would complete Carrie’s story arc. For despite the many victims and suspects she’s been dealing with over the course of the series, my main concern has been Carrie’s development and growth. Though she grew up in a dysfunctional family, Carrie has managed to thrive and become a contributing member of her community. So much so, that the mayor practically begs her to join the town council to replace a member that is leaving. And so, as I plot the travails and murders that threaten to keep Carrie from her perfect wedding, I know that all will end happily and that this eighth novel will be the last in the Haunted Library series.

Of course I may decide to write a series revolving around Carrie and Dylan, who is a licensed investigator, a la Mr. and Mrs. North. Or Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, two of Agatha Christie’s sleuths. But that’s a far off possibility. Meanwhile, I do have a new series in mind that I’ll begin when this one has ended. The setting and the characters are quite different, but hopefully the same cozy feeling will prevail.

Readers, if you’ve loved an author’s series, are you open to read a new series that she’s writing? Authors, have you ever wanted to end a series but hesitated to do so?

A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn Levinson writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for kids. Her books have received many accolades. As Allison Brook she writes the Haunted Library series. DEATH OVERDUE, the first in the series, was an Agatha nominee for Best Contemporary Novel in 2018. DEWEY DECIMATED, the sixth in the series, was just published. Other mysteries include the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club series, the Twin Lakes series, and GIVING UP THE GHOST. Her juvenile novel, RUFUS AND MAGIC RUN AMOK, was an International Reading Association-Children’s Book Council Children’s Choice. It will soon be reissued, followed by three more books in the series. AND DON’T BRING JEREMY was a nominee for six state awards.

Marilyn lives on Long Island, where many of her books take place. She loves traveling, reading, doing crossword puzzles and Sudoku, and chatting on FaceTime with her grandkids.

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