Last night, I started reading a book in which the spouse of the protagonist dies. I shan't say what book as, to quote Dr. Who's River Song, "spoiler." But it started me thinking.
More than six other books; some historical mysteries, some contemporary, came immediately to mind in which the intimate partner/spouse of the protagonist dies. The way in which they are dispatched does vary. However, whether by illness, accident or murder, as a reader, I am often very distressed by the loss of that character and relationship. I find myself often thinking, "Why did you marry them off it your only going to kill off the partner."
I certainly see the benefit of it for the author. It allows their protagonist significant growth, the ability to have relationships with new people and, if a murder, solve a crime.
Some authors handle these transitions better than others. I recall one author where it was so poorly done, I stopped reading the series, as did many others. Whether a direct cause, I don't know, but the author did lose their publisher due to poor sales shortly thereafter. Still, other have done it so well, it results in a significant growth of the character and the series.
What do you think? Does it upset you when a partner/spouse dies? Does the way in which the spouse dies matter or make a difference in the way you feel about it? Do you wish the author would allow the protagonist a stable relationship? Some authors do. Do you wish the author hadn't created the relationship in the first place?
I am a reader and reviewer of mysteries; a compulsive hooker--the crochet kind, not the street kind--and one who never leaves home without my camera. I can be reached at:
firstname.lastname@example.org ------------ My reviews are seen by over 14,000 people/review. I am a Top 1% Reviewer with over 1,300 followers on Goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/250195, as well as in the magazine Mystery Readers Journal, and on numerous online sites. My monthly email of reviews has over 500 subscribers. I started reviewing formally in 2004, spent four years evaluating manuscripts for Poisoned Pen Press, and was a paid reviewer for The Strand Magazine.