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A Cast of Hundreds?

With three books in the Big Bend Country Mystery series now, I'm considering whetherThe Mule Ears, its fourth volume, needs a list of characters up front to help readers keep track of who does what to whom. Some of my favorite authors offer the feature, often presented with some humor. But preparing the list is tricky—it can't, for example, reveal who the criminals or victims in earlier works have been since books in a series aren't always read in the order they were composed. But I think the benefits may outweigh the downsides.