Archive for the 'mad geekery' Category

Too Many Christmases - 1:13AM, 2010/10/14

I’ve mentioned in a couple of my Swensen series reviews that the timeline is showing cracks. This problem is more common than not in longer series, and it’s something that’s so incredibly easy to fix, it drives me absolutely batty.

The cracks occur when the author is making explicit reference to the fact that the series is flowing in ‘real time’ — the seasons change, people get older, and time is acknowledged to pass. Now, there are many series where this isn’t the case. Example: Nancy Drew. The world may change around her, but Nancy remains her teenagery self. I have no issue with a series like that, where clearly the detective is in a bubble. But if you’re going to have time pass, then you need to make an effort to keep track of it. It’s really not that hard.

The Hannah Swensen cracks developed because there are too many Christmases in her universe. Some of them are novels (or were marketed as such, even if they turned out to be novellas with a pile of recipes to pad out the book), some of them are novellas in a book with additional stories by other authors. And their existence has messed up the timeline in Hannah’s world.


  • 3rd week of October – Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder
  • December – Strawberry Shortcake Murder
  • Christmas – “Candy for Christmas” (in CCC Murder Special Edition)

  • February – Blueberry Muffin Murder
  • June – Lemon Meringue Pie Murder
  • Mid-October – Fudge Cupcake Murder
  • Pre-Christmas – Sugar Cookie Murder
  • Christmas – “Twelve Desserts of Christmas” (in Sugar and Spice)

  • February – Peach Cobbler Murder
    • Herb and Lisa’s wedding
  • March – Cherry Cheesecake Murder
  • June – Key Lime Pie Murder
  • December – “Candy Cane Murder” (in Candy Cane Murder)
    • Lisa referred to by her married name

  • August – Carrot Cake Murder
  • November – Cream Puff Murder
  • December – Plum Pudding Murder
    • mentions Candy Cane murder ‘last
    • Lisa and Herb married ’10 months’??

  • June – Apple Turnover Murder
  • December – Gingerbread Cookie Murder

So you can see where the problem crept in. That extra Christmas (which must be that Christmas, since Lisa was married) bumped a bunch of stories forward. Hannah’s sister should have graduated by now, and you can see how crazy it makes Hannah’s boytoys seem (though even reducing the timeline by a year doesn’t really make them look any better…)