I just finished another mystery by one of my favorite mystery authors, and I’m not sure I am very happy about it. Actually, if I hadn’t been happy about reading it, I would have not finished it, but I am unhappy about the setting.
Let me use this example to demonstrate what I am talking about:
In the very popular Murder, She Wrote television show, Cabot Cove was a little haven of friends and “regulars” who we all grew to enjoy spending time with. Doc might have been grumpy, but he was “our” Doc. Amos might not have been the best sheriff, but he was “our” sheriff. As much as we enjoyed our “regulars”>>> we didn’t begrudge Jessica as she occasionally globe-trotted. OK, some of the globe-trotting shows seemed a little more like boondoggles, but we knew that the next week, we would be back with “our friends.” An occasional week without Amos and Doc was OK. But, what about when Jessica moved away from Cabot Cove? Hmmmm…..
Now that it is taking me longer and longer to make it through one book, do I really enjoy it when my favorite sleuths head out of town for the entire book, and leave behind some of my other favorite characters? No, I do not!
I just finished a Cozy Mystery where the main sleuth left the “village type setting” and took with her, my LEAST favorite regular character in the series. YIKES!!! I guess it wouldn’t have been so bad if my sleuth had taken her little vacation with my very favorite character in the series >>> and by that I mean that I like a secondary character even more than the sleuth! This meant that I didn’t get to “spend time” with a well-developed character who I really enjoy.
I know that places like Cabot Cove might have started with a population of less than a thousand at the beginning, and that after all of the shows, the population probably dwindled down to less than one hundred, with the cemetery having to buy up more and more land parcels for all of the victims Jessica sought justice for. But, when an author spends time developing her/his characters, why “drop” those characters for an entire book?
This type of “let’s take a vacation from the very same village the readers love” switcheroo has me as grumpy as Cabot Cove’s Doc!
What about you? Do you miss the “regular” characters in your favorite mystery series when the sleuth leaves town in order to do her/his sleuthing with a whole new group of characters?