by Brenda Roger
I read to escape. For years, I was convinced that I had to read scholarly books about art and nothing else. Then, I got a job that I hated. Listening to books on tape on the way to and from work as well as my lunch hour, took me to far away places. It made sitting in the moldy basement (my office) with a crazy person (my boss) more bearable.
Then, I start my own business and just felt too busy to read as much as I would like, however, one summer we moved into a one bedroom apartment (from a 100 year old house that I loved dearly) to wait for our house to be built, and everything changed. Honestly, that apartment would fit in one half of the first floor of most houses. My English Springer spaniel and I were stuck there all day while I sewed handbags in the corner of the living room. There were appointments to keep and decisions to make where the house was concerned. Most of that responsibility fell to me. It was a stressful time.
My mother took pity on me. She offered a stack of Patricia Cornwell novels as a distraction. I spent part of that summer fighting crime with Dr. Scarpetta. The ending of one of the novels actually made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It was exhilarating.
Zoom ahead four years. I just finished the latest Scarpetta novel, Predator. This won’t give anything away to those who haven’t read it, so you can read on safely. There are four main characters that are in almost every book, and I have to tell you, I don’t like these people anymore! It was hard to stick with the story because the characters have become so unlikable and unsympathetic. Also, the subplots and conflicts in their relationships are never resolved. I feel like I read half of her first draft. Honestly, Cornwell must not like these people anymore either. It might be time to retire the series before I start buying the books and shredding them instead of reading them.
This has me concerned. I am very invested in and addicted to Peter Robinson’s Inspector Alan Banks series. Quite honestly, I have a serious crush on Inspector Banks. When I say this, people usually like to remind me that I am married and he lives in England. Oh, and HE’S MADE UP people!!! The first two reasons that we can’t be together are small potatoes compared to the not being real part.
Anyway, my concern is, that Mr. Robinson will begin to treat dear Inspector Banks the way that Cornwell has treated Dr. Scarpetta. I don’t think I can stand to lose Banks. After all, we’re in love!
At what point is a series over? Did Patricia Cornwell learn nothing from Seinfeld? Does the author of a series have a responsibility to be true to a character?