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UPDATE: The response in the comments has been much greater than I expected and as a result, I will be reposting this diary with many, many enhancements and additions next Monday. See you in Monday Murder Mystery: Love & Murder Part II
Valentine's Day was never celebrated in our house, my father, ever the socialist, felt that Valentine's Day was a corporate-greed driven holiday, created only to sell Hallmark Cards, flowers and candy.

As children we would hear this at least once a year, usually while we were all sitting at the kitchen table addressing those little penny Valentine's Day cards that we were expected to distribute to classmates on the designated holiday.

Ed and I never really got into the holiday either. I'm not sure why, but we didn't really do much to mark the day. Unless there was some new gadget that I wanted that I would buy and label as his Valentine gift. And since he rarely had use for the gadget it would pass to me. Worked like a charm.

But many people do celebrate this holiday, and for them I started investigating Love & Murder. And no, I do not mean actual love & murder, but the combination that writers have crafted between the covers of their books. Their mystery books.

And learned that there aren't that many successful couplings going on. It may be that combining the two genres is more difficult than it looks, or simply that hard core detective novel consumers don't really want any of that "love stuff" messing with the slaughter, gore and occasional sex of a rousing noir novel.

Cozy mysteries and police procedurals seem to allow more latitude for a romance to develop, and a series is practically an invitation. But I wanted more than just a romance for the protagonist, I wanted to find a team that worked together to solve crimes and still found time to fall in love.

It was harder than I thought it would be. Few books and/or series that I read contain this love element so I am hoping that you all can assist me in compiling a list of novels that include loving couples. If you would include a paragraph describing the characters and setting, I will be thrilled to copy and paste it into the main body of the diary.

Then, I, and you, if you wish, can hotlist the diary and refer to it when in the mood for a little romance with our murder mysteries.


Nick and Nora Charles 

Last week's diary, on romantic detective couples in the movies and on TV, included a poll that revealed the favorite couple to be Nick and Nora Charles. So it seems only fitting to begin this week's look at romance in mystery novels with the Dasheil Hammett couple.

Dashiel Hammet only wrote one novel starring Nick & Nora Charles and that was The Thin Man. I wrote about The Thin Man in a diary on Dashiell Hammett. The rapid pace of the dialogue did not disguise the fact that Nick and Nora liked each other. A lot. Almost as much as they liked martinis.

 


Harriet Vane & Lord Peter Wimsey
A favorite from the comments, that was also a crossover, was created by Dorothy L Sayers. Strong Poison introduced us to Harriet Vane as an accused murderess who awakened an intense passion in the breast of Lord Peter Wimsey, before they had ever spoken a word to each other. Accused of poisoning her lover by arsenic, Lord Peter insists on being part of the effort to clear her name at the retrial necessitated by the hung jury.

Over three more novels, Have His Carcass, Gaudy Night and Busman's Honeymoon their relationship develops as they solve crimes together.


Tommy and Tuppence

According to the Wikipedia entry, which I am using since I have unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) not read any of this series, yet, although it sounds like I may enjoy it:
Tuppence appears as a charismatic, impulsive and intuitive person, while Tommy is less imaginative, and less likely to be diverted from the truth (as their first adversary sums him up "he is not clever, but it is hard to blind his eyes to the facts"). They therefore make a good team. It is in this first book The Secret Adversary that they meet up after the war, and come to realise that, although they have been friends for most of their lives, they have now fallen in love with each other.

Unlike many other recurring detective characters, including the better known Christie detectives, Tommy and Tuppence aged in time with the real world, being in their early twenties in The Secret Adversary and in their seventies in Postern of Fate. In their early appearances, they are portrayed as typical upper middle class "bright young things" of the 1920s, and the stories and settings have a more pronounced period-specific flavour than the stories featuring the better known Christie characters. As they age, they're revealed to have raised three children -- twins Deborah and Derek and an adopted daughter, Betty. Throughout the series they employ a man named Albert, who first appears as a lift boy who helps them in The Secret Adversary, and in Partners in Crime becomes their hapless assistant at a private detective agency; by Postern of Fate he's their butler and has been married and widowed. In Postern of Fate they also have a small dog named Hannibal.

Clare Fergusson and Russ van Alstyne

This couple is a creation of Julia Spencer Fleming and was the subject of a diary a few weeks back.

As an Episcopalian Priest, and former Army combat helicopter pilot, Clare Fergusson spends more of her time solving crimes than absolving parishioners of their sins. That is okay with me because her faith does not play a big role in the novels though it is clearly a big part of who the character is. Smart, funny, introspective and caring, Clare Fergusson reminds me of the religious liberals I have known and worked with in the past.

Russ Van Alstyne reminds me of men I know in the present. Salt of the earth police chief with a bigger heart than he wishes known and so protects with a thin veneer of cynicism, he returned to his home town of Millers Kill after serving in the Army and has remained there ever since, married to the most beautiful woman in town.

As I said in the intro tonight,
It was harder than I thought it would be. Few books and/or series that I read contain this love element so I am hoping that you all can assist me in compiling a list of novels that include loving couples. If you would include a paragraph describing the characters and setting, I will be thrilled to copy and paste it into the main body of the diary.

Then, I, and you, if you wish, can hotlist the diary and refer to it when in the mood for a little romance with our murder mysteries.

As a start, can someone tell me anything about the Deborah Crombie couple, Duncan Kinkaid and Gemma James? I started reading No Mark Upon Her, realized that this was a couple with a history and so started to read A Share in Death instead.

Readers & Book Lovers Series Schedule



DAY TIME (EST/EDT) Series Name Editor(s)
SUN 6:00 PM Young Reader's Pavilion The Book Bear
Sun 9:30 PM SciFi/Fantasy Book Club quarkstomper
Bi-Monthly Sun Midnight Reading Ramblings don mikulecky
MON 8:00 PM Monday Murder Mystery Susan from 29
Mon 11:00 PM My Favorite Books/Authors edrie, MichiganChet
TUES 5:00 PM Indigo Kalliope: Poems from the Left bigjacbigjacbigjac
alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM LGBT Literature Texdude50, Dave in Northridge
Tue 8:00 PM Contemporary Fiction Views Brecht, bookgirl
WED 7:30 AM WAYR? plf515
Wed 8:00 PM Bookflurries Bookchat cfk
THU 8:00 PM Write On! SensibleShoes
Thu (first each month) 11:00 AM Monthly Bookpost AdmiralNaismith
Thu (third each month - on hiatus) 11:00 PM Audiobooks Club SoCaliana
FRI 8:00 AM Books That Changed My Life Diana in NoVa
Fri (Start Feb 22) 6:00 PM Books Go Bang! Brecht
SAT (fourth each month) 11:00 AM Windy City Bookworm Chitown Kev
Sat 4:00 PM Daily Kos Political Book Club Freshly Squeezed Cynic
Sat 9:00 PM Books So Bad They're Good Ellid

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 05:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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