By Katherine Sharma
We’re heading towards the final weekends of family barbecues, end-of-summer trips and last-of-summer reading indulgences. So why not combine family and mystery themes with detective fiction that features married teams? After all, the detective couple is a cherished tradition.
The era of mystery classics gave us Agatha Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence Beresford and Dashiell Hammett’s Nick and Nora Charles. More recently conceived sleuthing couples range from Anne Perry’s Charlotte and Thomas Pitt in the foggy streets of Victorian London to Lt. Eve Dallas and husband Roarke fighting crime in the futuristic New York of the “in Death” series by J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts). Closer to our current time and place, there is the husband-wife team of Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock in the FBI Thriller series by Catherine Coulter and Faye Kellerman’s LAPD Lt. Peter Decker and his Orthodox Jewish wife Rina Lazarus.
What do couples have to offer readers that the lone detective can’t deliver? Well, there is the spice of romance (yes, married people are still lovers, even outside of fiction) and the opportunity to add character interest–either extra tension/distrust (when the couple is in a rough patch) or amusing banter/camaraderie (when things are copacetic).
Second, a sleuthing couple allows the author to combine mystery-solving styles to good effect; for example, one may be emotionally and socially intuitive, while the other is more scientific or legalistic. (If you assumed that the first description fits the wife and the second fits the husband, remember that good writers confound stereotypes.)
Finally, the plot tension with a crime-solving couple is literally doubled as each half of the duo risks both personal safety and that of a loved one by confronting evil. For some more partners in detection, check out http://www.criminalelement.com/blogs/2013/01/novel-crime-solving-couples-corrina-lawson-geekmom-harriet-vane-eve-dallas