MR. MONK AND THE DIRTY COP was released two weeks ago, so perhaps that's why I've been getting deluged with Monk-related emails lately. Here's one I enjoyed:
I am a BIG fan of your books- I have read every Monk Book (except the latest), every Psyche book (except the latest), and I have all the Diag Murder books (I've read the first two).[…] In MONK IS MISERABLE they refer to events in the TV episode MONK CAN"T SEE A THING. Hence that episode takes place in the same universe as your novels. AH-HA, the events of MONK AND THE FIREHOUSE are similar, so whichever one came second, Monk or Natalie or someone should have said WOW- This is JUST LIKE our other case.
This is, of course, a silly plot point.
[…]Diag Murder and Monk novels are in the same universe since they both interact with the same detective in Hawaii. Monk and Psyche novels are in the same universe since Natalie meets with a people who help out quirky deteritives
and one of them is clearly Gus (though he is not named). The novels and TV shows take place in the same universe. Gus's Uncle who thinks that Gus is Psychic watches alot of TV. He mentiosn the TV SHOW Diagnosis Murder.
AH-HA- in the Psyche universe Diagnosis Murder is a TV show. So it can't be real.
This is, of course, a silly plot point.
The fact that I noticed these things and am writing to you about them is an immense compliment.
…which is exactly how I took it. Here is how I responded:
You have a keen eye! Here are some trivia for you. William Rabkin writes the terrific PSYCH novels. We wrote an early episode of PSYCH together…and we wrote the "Mr. Monk Can't See a Thing" episode of MONK which was, of course, based on my book MR. MONK GOES TO THE FIREHOUSE.
Ian Ludlow is a character who also appears in the DIAGNOSIS MURDER and MONK books….and Ian Ludlow the pseudonym I wrote under in the early 1980s. Is your head spinning yet?
I got some other nice notes. Here's a sampling:
I'm thrilled you are continuing the Monk book series. It always frustrates me when "stars" (who have wanted to be famous all their lives) hit paydirt with a huge success … and then can't seem to quit fast enough because they need to conquer new lands or whatever. As much as I hate to see the Monk TV series end, I'm thrilled I can still buy new stories in the book series. If anything, they are far better than any TV episode ever was. Thank you.
I assured him that the end of MONK has nothing to do with the stars being unappreciative of their success and the interest of their viewers. Quite the opposite. They have been doing this show for over 100 episodes and I suspect that they want to end while they are still at the top of their game (as did the stars of CHEERS, SEINFELD, MARY TYLER MOORE, MASH, NEWHART and lots of other shows). I think it also takes some guts to walk away from success rather than milking something until it withers away. That said, I share his sadness, too, that the show is ending.
Here's one more from the email bag:
I wanted to take a brief moment to express the enjoyment my family has found in your Monk novels. We have all been fans of the TV series since its inception, yet we have only recently discovered your novels via Amazon.com. I ordered all of them last week and I, along with my wife and 14-year old son, are in the process of reading them now. Your novels are a seamless transition from the TV series, and I can pay no higher compliment than that. It’s great to know that Adrian Monk will continue to crack cases for the SFPD even after this final season concludes on USA Network.
It's emails like that one hat keep me going on days when the writing isn''t going so well. Finally, I got this one today:
I just read 'Mr. Monk is Miserable'. I didn't know there were Monk books (AND Diagnosis Murder too), I'm in heaven. Anyway, in chapter 26, at the end of Natalie's description of her time with Stottlemeyer interviewing victims of Chalmers' ID theft activities; there is a sentence that reads "The captain managed to prove that Le Roux's theory about Barlier's scheme was right." Isn't it supposed to say Chalmers? If it is not a typo and it is supposed to say Barlier can you please explain why, because I'm a bit confused.
I haven't answered that guy yet…it has been so long since I wrote the book, I can't remember the details of the plot and I just don't have the energy to re-read it again so I can give him the right answer. Then again, I hate to leave an error uncorrected…