The Mail I Get – Mr. Monk Edition

MrMonkOnTheCouchI get lots of questions and complaints about my Monk novels. Here are just a few recent ones.

In Mr Monk On The Couch there’s an attack on the ACLU that reads like a personal aside.  I sure hope you really don’t feel that way. They are a wonderful group that does a lot of good works and deserve support and praise.  You’ll thank me later for this pointer.

It wasn’t a personal aside. The book is written from Natalie’s POV and her views don’t always reflect mine. Nor do Monk’s. Nor do Stottlemeyer’s. Nor do the murderer’s. I often write characters who have opinions and beliefs very different than my own. It would get pretty boring if all I wrote about were characters who were identical to me.

I really enjoyed your book Mr. Monk on Patrol. You named the officers in the book Officers Lindero, Woodlake, DeSoto, and Corbin which are strikingly similar to the roads in the Conejo and San Fernando Valleys corresponding to Lindero Canyon Rd, Woodlake Ave, DeSoto Ave, and Corbin Ave. Considering that based on your website you are from Calabasas, I can’t help but ask if the officers are named after the roads along the Ventura Freeway (US 101) as I, myself, am from the Conejo Valley. Thank you very much!

Yes, of course they are named after Ventura Freeway exits. If I could have snuck in Tampa, Topanga, and Winnetka, I would have.  What amazes me is that you are the first person who has noticed!

You are an amazing writer, but please could you tell me why Trudys daughter isn’t mentioned in the recent books? In the last TV episode, Mr Monk found out that Trudy had a daughter and he met her and was besotted with her, but there’s no mention of her since, I am intrigued to know why?

She appears in one of my books, Mr. Monk on the Road, but she was not a character I was interested in exploring any further…nor was I much interested in that relationship. I had plenty of established characters and richer relationships to explore. I just didnt see where I could go with her character that would be much fun…or tie into solving mysteries. You’ll have to ask Hy Conrad, who is writing the books now, why he hasn’t chosen to use her.

I want to read all of the Monk books, but I don’t which ones came first and which ones came later or how many there are. Help!

Help has arrived. Here are the 18 Monk books in order, mine and Hy Conrad’s, along with some trivia about them that you might find interesting.
Monk and the Dirty Cop

Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse (2006) William Rabkin and I adapted this novel into the MONK episode “Mr. Monk Can’t See a Thing.”

Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii (2006) Yes, I know about the milk error in this book. A character in this novel also appears in my novel Diagnosis Murder: The Death Merchant.

Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu (2007) This book was loosely adapted into the MONK episode “Mr. Monk and the Badge.”

Mr. Monk and the Two Assistants (2007) This book is unrelated to the MONK episode that brought back Sharona, which came several years after this book was published.

Mr. Monk in Outer Space (2007) Some characters in this book might be familiar to readers of my novel Dead Space (aka Beyond the Beyond). Monk’s brother Ambrose also has a significant role in this novel.

Mr. Monk Goes to Germany (2008) Several of the “assistants” that Natalie meets with in this book were originally introduced in Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu. Monk’s adversary Dale the Whale makes an appearance in this novel.

Mr. Monk is Miserable (2008) This book is a direct sequel to Germany and picks up right where the previous book left off.

Mr. Monk and the Dirty Cop (2009) – There is a call-back in this novel to the MONK episode “Mr. Monk Meets The Godfather,” which I wrote with William Rabkin. There are also some in-joke references to the TV series Mannix and Murder She Wrote.

Mr. Monk in Trouble (2009) There are many, many in-joke references in this book to western authors, television series, and movies, and even radio shows. An excerpt from the book was published as The Case of the Piss-Poor Gold in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, November 2009

Mr. Monk is Cleaned Out (2010) This book features a variation on the classic locked-room mystery.

Mr. Monk on the Road (2011) This is the first book set after the final episode of the TV series and features Monk’s brother Ambrose in a big way.. Excerpt: Mr. Monk and the Seventeen Steps, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, December 2010.


Mr. Monk on the Couch (2011) An excerpt from the book was published as Mr. Monk and the Sunday Paper in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, July 2011

Mr. Monk on Patrol (2012) An excerpt from the book was published as Mr. Monk and the Open House in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in December 2011. This book features the return of Sharona and Randy Disher.

Mr. Monk is a Mess (July 2012) An excerpt from the book was published as  Mr. Monk and the Talking Car, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine May 2012. There is another call-back to the TV episode “Mr. Monk Meets The Godfather” in this novel.

Mr. Monk Gets Even (January 2013) An excerpt from the book was published as Mr. Monk Sees the Light in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, December 2012. Dale the Whale and Monk’s brother Ambrose return in this book, which was my final novel in the series.

Mr. Monk Helps Himself   (2013) This is the first book in the series written by Hy Conrad and picks up where my books left off. It’s based on the first, unproduced draft of what ultimately became the episode “Mr. Monk Joins a Cult.”

Mr. Monk Gets On Board (2014) This is based on an unproduced episode written by Daniel Dratch. Monk creator Andy Breckman was always trying to get me to use it for one of my books, but I just didn’t feel comfortable basing one of my books on a script that I didn’t write. But Hy helped plot the story in the writers’ room with Dan, so that’s a bit different than me tackling it. Plus Hy makes some call-backs to Mr. Monk Goes to Mexico, an episode that Bill and I wrote.

Mr. Monk is Open For Business (Coming in June 2014) I don’t know anything about this book…except that it’s bound to be good, since Hy wrote it.


13 thoughts on “The Mail I Get – Mr. Monk Edition”

  1. oh, how i miss your Monk books. Yes, i did read the latest (after you) but may i say it?? i didn’t laugh. Not once. Guess I’ll go re-read yours again. And again. You can come back to Naples again now that your writing buddy has some abodes here ya know! And do a signing here. Pretty please?!??!

  2. Thanks for this Lee, I knew most of what was on the page, but it is nice to read it anyway. I don’t send in comments about every little thing I notice. It is more fun to keep it to myself. I agree with your take on the Trudy daughter bit. In regard to Diagnosis Murder, we felt we could see your influence in certain of the shows, based on knowledge of your other writing endeavors whether in book or screen writes, noticeably in regard to My Gun Has Bullets themes occurring there, of course predating the book. My Gun would make a great film comedy, if it didn’t get ruined in the process. But then, there are Monk books I would dearly love to see on the screen, especially Mr. Monk On The Road.

    I had to laugh at the personal agenda question. As to my personal agenda…how can we get to view Bumsicle? Any venue…we are in the Midwest.

  3. If memory serves me, the milk scene was in Firehouse, not Hawaii. However, I loved the scene you wrote for Blue Flue to make up for it. I laugh just thinking about it.

    • Could someone please discuss the milk error for those of us unfamiliar with it? I read Hawaii and don’t remember it being referenced, but I haven’t red Firehouse yet. Thanks.

      Lee, I LOVE your Monk books. They are well done and a breeze to read. Sometimes I find myself chuckling out loud when reading in public. Thanks for writing them.

      • It really wasn’t too big a deal. In a scene in Firehouse, Monk (who is staying with Natalie) goes to the frig and gets a glass of milk to drink. Of course, he’s afraid of milk, something that has been well established over the course of the series. Just a simple slip up that sometimes happens despite everyone’s best efforts.

        Of course, I was one of the people to e-mail Lee about it when I read the book. I still loved the book, chalking that up to what it was, an unfortunate mistake. However, some people were so down because of that one half a page scene that they have loudly and publicly decried the books ever since.

        • Thanks, Mark, for answering my question. Could I also trouble you to discuss the scene in Blue Flu? I’ve been reading lots of Monk books lately, and just don’t remember Lee’s “fix”. Thanks again.

          Interesting how some readers can get so up in arms over such little things. What bothers me more are the typos I’ve been finding in the books. But I’ve kept those to myself…until now. 🙂

  4. I love the Monk books. Having sampled tie in books for many years I’m usually unsatisfied as the characters seem to be “carved in stone” and no major changes can happen — after all they are licensed and the owners don’t want them to stray too far. The Monk books are different — these characters grow and change AND still stay true to their source. I’ve come to appreciate the shows more with the books and both video and print series are among my favorites. (and an aside — I love Natalie!!)

  5. Lee Goldberg’s uncanny ability to so superbly capture the character and nuances of our beloved Mr. Monk is all the more remarkable by his extraordinary prolific capacity for writing so many quality books, on a variety of subjects, over a relatively short period of time.

    We’re grateful, as readers, for the seemingly never-ending flow of his high-quality work… but how he’s able to accomplish such a feat is as much as mystery as the plots of his eagerly-awaited novels. Keep it up, Mr. Goldberg… if you can continue to keep writing at such a prestigious pace, we’ll continue reading and enjoying your books, hopefully for a long time to come!

    (A footnote… If this talented writer, sadly, has chosen to “‘close the book”‘ after 15 memorable novels… well, then, in the tradition of OCD Mr. Monk–since Mr.. Goldberg didn’t stop after 10 such novels–perhaps his series should continue to at least 20 books–a nice round number!)

  6. Thank you for all 15 Monk books you have authored. I have every one in my library and will enjoy re-reading them all again. I believe all of us have OCD to some degree, small or great, and your books have made us laugh at our own particular quirks and take ourselves less seriously. To be able to touch the heart of others through your writing is a rare talent and is greatly appreciated by yours truly. My favorite is Mr. Monk in Trouble.

  7. I do believe you are too young to remember Mike Connors as Mannix, Lee. But keep up the good work with Fox and O’Hare. I’m curious, do you write the Nick Fox stuff and Janet E. the O’Hare stuff? Or isn’t it that cut-and-dried?

    • Not only do I remember MANNIX, I have *written* for MANNIX. I brought Mike Connors back as Mannix for a special episode of Diagnosis Murder. It’s one of the highlights of my career. As for Fox & O’Hare, we break the story together and then I write the first draft and Janet does a revision.


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