My Mystery Novel Pet Peeve



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  • My Mystery Novel Pet Peeve

    First, though, a similar pet peeve I always had with CHEERS. Anytime someone would fly into Boston and want to see one of the regulars he would always have the cab driver take him to the bar. There he would let the cab driver go and walk into Cheers with his luggage, asking whether Frasier or Diane or whoever was there. This traveler wouldn't check into his hotel first? He then wouldn't t call the bar to make sure Frasier or whoever was actually there? I argued this for eleven years and never won.

    Okay, that brings me to my mystery novel pet peeve. I like to read mystery novels. And in practically all of them, the following happens:

    The detective or private eye gets a tip. They get a name and address. So they go there, sometimes driving for seven hours. And sure enough, when they arrive and knock on his door, he's home. Suspects are always home for some reason.

    Yes, there are exceptions, but for the most part their person-of-interest just happens to be home. Never do the detectives knock on the door, there's no answer, and they wait for hours. Never is the suspect away for the weekend.

    And it's a good thing too because usually the detective has someone else he has to see who's a four-hour drive away before the day is done and happily that person is home as well.

    What luck!

    I know it's creative license. Unlike the CHEERS situation, you wouldn't call the person-of-interest first. He'd bolt immediately. But when it happens four or five times in one book I start to really get annoyed.

    A number of my friends are novel writers. I wonder if they are aware of this, if it bothers them, or if their response is "Who cares? Get over it."

    I drove seven hours to ask one of them, but he wasn't home.