by Jean Henry Mead
Some serial mystery authors have grown tired of writing about the same characters. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle grew bored with Sherlock Holmes and killed him off although he later resurrected the infamous sleuth. Agatha Christie also grew to hate her arrogant little detective Hercule Poirot and wanted to end his career as well as his life. My own Logan and Cafferty mystery/suspense series became tiresome after I had finished novel six, Murder at the Mansion. However, after starting a standalone suspense novel, I began dreaming about my senior sleuths, Dana Logan and sidekick Sarah Cafferty. In my dreams, both women seemed to plead with me to continue the series.
I have to admit that, after six months of not tuning into their conversations and adventures, I missed them. They had become old friends. In fact, they were patterned after my best friend and I while we were still both young, single and adventurous. My sixtyish amateur sleuths have gotten themselves into some unusual predicaments but have managed somehow to survive.
I eventually decided to write a serious seventh novel but my sleuths refused to fit completely into serious mode. Dana’s friend Sarah has an innate sense of humor that can’t be tamped down, and Dana usually goes along with her antics, no matter how much I try to discourage them. However, the novels’ subjects are serious: drugs, terrorism, adultery, anarchy, romance, theft, gray wolves, RV park intrigue, a tornado, flood, and, of course, murder. But Sarah always seems to make light of or exaggerate the problems which present themselves.
Emotions are the most important elements in novel plots, so I’m grateful to have a quirky character like Sarah to make the novels come alive. No cardboard characters for me.