Mystery and romance** ... in stories, you often find the two wrapped around each other in an amorous embrace. But, just like "real world love," when it's good, it can be very very good, and when it's bad, it can be... well, horrible.
When I think of mystery authors who do a good job portray loving, healthy relationships between two adults, two LadyKillers pop to mind: Camille Minichino and Stacy McLaughlin. They both write mystery series that portray loving, responsible, respectful relationships that grow and deepen naturally as their series progress.
Then, you've got mysteries featuring characters who, rather like Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind, could really use some serious counseling. In these stories, when she's leaning in, he's leaning out (and vice versa). When he says something, she completely misunderstands and gets furious (and vice versa). Confusion, anger, sometimes verbal (and even physical) violence ... all in the name of love and building tension in a story. (For "real love gone bad," check out Michael's post yesterday... a true account from his days as a law enforcement officer.)
I'll be one of the first to raise my hand and say that my protagonist, Inez Stannert, could use a little counseling herself when it comes to relationships. However, in 1880, she's pretty much on her own to figure things out... or not.
Then, aside from the good and the bad, there's the plain out-and-out ugly, which I define as those mysteries in which romance (or some facsimile of) is just shoehorned in for the sake of... heck, I don't know. To demonstrate that the characters have a "human" side? To provide a little voyeuristic zing for the reader? Because it's expected, so oh, well, throw them in bed together and then we can move on? Along this line, I must sorrowfully include the Amazon Prime rendition of Bosch. I've only seen the first episode, and I like the production in general except EXCEPT EXCEPT for what's obviously an incipient romance blooming between Bosch and a young woman police officer (ACK! give me a break!). Niel Genzlinger of the New York Times sums up my feelings about this whole sorry state of (romantic) affairs in his review of the show, right here:
...Bosch has the usual run-ins with superiors. He also has the usual romance with an attractive and noticeably younger officer (Annie Wersching), because in these types of stories gorgeous women can’t wait to jump into bed with graying men with whom they have barely spoken.
Well, all I can say is thank you, dear readers, for letting me get that out of my system! So, do you have any authors you feel handle romance well? Please share!
** I misread what the topic is supposed to be this week, which is MURDER and romance. So, today, you get something a little different! :-)