Everyone needs a little romance in their life, but what about in their books? With Valentine’s Day this weekend, we thought it would be a perfect time to weigh in on the subject.
I’m embarrassed by how unromantic I am. I didn’t have a boyfriend on Valentine’s Day until I met my husband at the ripe old age of thirty-six. I was like, hey, I can finally have a Valentine’s Day! And we did. A couple of times. Then we placed it in the category of holidays where you feel like you’re supposed to celebrate even though you don’t really care whether you do or not, like New Year’s Eve and, well, our anniversary. Where the most romantic thing we do is realize that we’ve both forgotten it. This is a long-winded way of saying that I like a little romance in my mysteries, but not too much. There are, however, two literary romances I can’t get enough of: Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett, and Cathy and Heathcliff, both of which took place in the 1800s. So maybe it’s less about being unromantic, and more a case of having been born a couple of centuries after my time. Anyway, in honor of the holiday, here’s a little present: Mr. Darcy takes a swim. Happy Valentines Day!
Okay, so you’re asking the girly-girl who always wears pink on Valentine’s Day whether she wants a little romance in her mysteries? Sure, bring on the hearts and flowers and meet-cutes, as long as there’s still a tricky puzzle to solve (as opposed to, Wait, you’re going down those rickety stairs to the dark basement where you KNOW the killer is lurking, because you’re 99% positive the hot cop will barge down, guns blazing, to save your clueless butt?). Of course, there are some sleuths whose extra-private lives should probably stay that way. (Looking at you, Book-Sherlock-Holmes and the male detective in Broadchurch.) Overall, though, mystery and romance have been neuro-linked for me since the high thrill of the grade school penny valentine box. “Your Secret Admirer,” you had me at “Guess Who.”
I grew up on mystery novels so for me the amateur detective/hot cop hatred in book one turned fiery love affair in book 2 (and beyond) is a staple. When I found out that Claire and Peter finally tied the knot (after 16 books no less) in the Joan Hess series, I think I may have even shed a tear. I think the only thing I love more than one hot law enforcement love interest is two hot law enforcement love interests! And there probably has been no better love triangle in our genre than Stephanie Plum/Joe Morelli/Ranger. Janet Evanovich is a former romance novelist, which is probably why the romance element has been so great in her books (especially the early ones.) Her “Who’s knocking on Stephanie’s door for a booty call?” cliffhanger ending is probably one of my favorite book endings of all time.
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