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    Favorite Characters Take a Holiday

    Regina Harvey Icon

    I’m about to write the check for the rental of a house we’ll be sharing in August at Lake Champlain. August can’t come soon enough, let me tell you.

    When I was hashing over what we’ll do during that precious week, aside from going to the Ben and Jerry’s factory and taking a day trip to Montreal, the friend we’re sharing the house with said, “Nothing. A whole lot of nothing.”

    Heavenly - that sounds just heavenly.

    Which got me to thinking - do our favorite characters ever get a break - ever get to do nothing, no murders to solve, no suspects to question, no clues to gather? Or are they tirelessly in pursuit of some madman
    or other?

    I remember Agatha Christie characters on “holiday” in A Carribean Mystery and again for Death on the Nile. Then, of course, Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote was forever visiting some niece or godson. But how about really getting away from it all?

    If your favorite sleuth hasn’t had a break in the whole durned series, where would you send them and why?

    And, just because we all know they couldn’t go somewhere and not have it follow them, what kind of murder and mayhem could result in the sunny locale where you’ve plunked them?

    12 Responses to “Favorite Characters Take a Holiday”

    1. My editor joked that she was never going to force me to plunk Bobbie Faye down in the middle of another country, or have her show up somewhere like London. And I said, “Unless we’ve really got a grudge against London, and then only if they can’t send bombs our way.”

      I think Bobbie Faye would dearly love a vacation, if she could afford one. I imagine she’d like to visit France and Italy. I don’t think she’d be safe there (or that they would be safe from her), but both places seem to be pretty resilient.

      by toni mcgee causey on March 20th, 2008 at 1:48 am

    2. Sounds like Bobbie Faye should stick with a tour of the World’s Greatest Fortresses. Or at least, the Great Wall of China - something with a little heft or a few tons of masonry, eh?

      Now you’ve got me crossing Cajun country off my own list of Places to See - God only knows where Bobbie Faye is at any time!

      by Regina Harvey on March 20th, 2008 at 5:39 am

    3. I tried to send Elise on a vacation. I really did. A nice winter-getaway on an island in Michigan. I gave her horse-drawn carriages and a nice inn to stay in…

      But stuff just has a way of happening, you know?

      I think for her to have a true break, I’d need to lock her in a closet by herself. And, quite frankly, if that closet had music, a reading lamp, and two meals a day it sounds like a mighty nice break right about now.

      by Laura on March 20th, 2008 at 6:27 am

    4. A closet with a window, I could handle, Laura. Actually, with the level of the piles of notebooks, papers, and books in my office right now - that’s about what I’ve got!

      Actually, vacation is a great place to set a murder - anything untoward immediately sets the equilibrium off. And you want the murder solved just so the detective can get back to the hot tub and little umbrella drinks! Talk about a motivation…

      by Regina Harvey on March 20th, 2008 at 7:55 am

    5. “A Closet with a window.” Sounds like my day-job work space. Only they’re taking away my window.

      by Will Bereswill on March 20th, 2008 at 8:49 am

    6. Did I let you all in on how my work office has no window and, in fact, used to be the monkey lab?

      Very fitting…

      (Though I really do like it - which says an awful lot about me, don’t you think?)

      by Regina Harvey on March 20th, 2008 at 8:59 am

    7. I’ve always wondered about this sort of thing for characters like Jesica Fletcher. Where can she go where people won’t die? That’s where you should send her. Wherever she goes there’s murder in her wake. Like they’re waiting for her to show up before they take that axe handle to Nanny Lucinda’s forehead. Psychic Typhoid Mary.

      After the fifth or sixth body turns up, I don’t think anyone would want her to come near their place. Don’t invite Aunt Jessica to the family reunion, we’re running out of third cousins.

      And is it me, or is Cabot Cove a New England version of Children of The Corn? Everyone who goes there gets poisoned, shot, drowned. How many people are left in that town, anyway? Six? With Angela Lansbury sitting atop a mountain of skulls like some octogenarian Conan.

      by Stephen Blackmoore on March 20th, 2008 at 10:27 am

    8. I think I would faint if I were ever on an airplane with her - wouldn’t you just know something horrible was soon to happen?

      I guess that’s true for a lot of long-time series characters. Challenge for the author, to say the least.

      by Regina Harvey on March 20th, 2008 at 11:50 am

    9. Wow, I don’t usually read posts early enough to post on them while the subject is still being discussed. I’m so proud of myself for catching up with everybody today.

      This Cabot’s Cove discussion started me thinking about the Tony Shaloub series Monk. One of the things I like about the series is how varied the episodes are, even though bad things usually happen wherever he goes. I like the fact that there are some episodes that don’t feature “murder” so much as “accidental death”. I’ve been pretty impressed with that writing team.

      But, I think it would be very interesting for an author of a cozy mystery series to send his or her main characters on vacation and NOT have a murder happen. Maybe a different kind of mystery, but not murder. It would make for a pleasant change of pace for the author and the main characters.

      Laurie R. King did something similar in her last Russell/Holmes book, Locked Rooms. No one was murdered in the present story, but the two end up trying to piece together what really happened to Russell’s family 15 years previously. It was a wonderful book; one of my favorites in the series.

      And to go on record, if I was related to/lived in the same town as Jessica Fletcher, I would move and change my name and never let her know. Ever.

      by The Other Laura on March 20th, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    10. Hi, Other Laura - thanks for mentioning King! I love the Russell/Holmes books and have been slowly working my way through them, savoring each so I won’t run out. Haven’t read Locked Rooms, but I like that premise. Nice to have you post and be part of the conversation!

      by Regina Harvey on March 20th, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    11. Interesting discussion, Regina. Like Laura, I tried to send Ellie on a vacation to DC, but wouldn’t you know…

      Anyway, I did float the idea of a “no murder” mystery and got the big “no” response.

      by Sara on March 20th, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    12. On the idea of “no murder,” I would love to see a well-established character explore a mystery from his or her own past.

      I touch on this a bit in my one series - where the protag. has something of a (sometimes humorous) mystery surrounding the woman who was her mother - an ongoing mystery while she slueths her way through present-day ones.

      Alas, the verdict is not yet in on whether or not it will be on bookshelves anytime soon. Fingers crossed and goats sacrificed, I may hear in the next month or so?

      by Regina Harvey on March 20th, 2008 at 7:08 pm

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