Friday, February 18, 2011

Don't marry a detective; it's often fatal.

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 should love to hear your views.