Relationships are fun to read about when we have lots of questions. Will Scarlett and Rhett Butler ever get together? Questions lead to tension, and tension especially drives a mystery.
But…what happens when the questions get answered? Does “resolved” mean the end of a series?
Here are a few classic examples that come to mind:
- Should Perry Mason and Della Street marry?
- Should James Bond ever take Miss Moneypenny out to dinner?
- Should Archie Goodwin quit, frustrated that Nero Wolfe always keeps him in the dark?
- Should Ellery Queen grow up and move out of his father’s house?
- Should (the original) Dan-o ever assert himself and tell McGarrett “book-em yourself!”?
- Should Watson abandon Holmes, disgusted by his torment with drugs?
One unresolved question that I’m working on now is my fourth Nell Letterly mystery. Nell is a menopausal single mom who becomes a karate teacher to support her teenage daughter. She would love to resolve her issues with her jerky, almost-ex husband Max, who ran out on her with some sexy honey and all their joint savings. But I haven’t decided yet if I will let her have that scene, because it could drain the tension that drives her forward. It could mean the end of the series.
Personally, I like the mystery of unresolved questions.
But I’d love to know what you think. I learn so much from other mystery readers and writers!
Do you like to see your fictional characters resolve their relationships with significant others?
Do you have a favorite fictional couple in mysteries today, and what do you like about their relationship?