The Grey Lady Strikes Again
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The Grey Lady Strikes Again

The Grey Lady strikes again! I know that the NYTimes features “All the News that’s Fit to Print” but this time they went too far. In the March 28th Arts Section, literary critic Janet Maslin revealed the ending of Henning Mankell’s latest book—a book that Amazon just mailed to me. Thanks so much, Janet. Now that I know he obliterated Kurt Wallandar after 13 books, I can save lots of time reading this mystery. All that Swedish doom and gloom is irrelevant since you also blabbed major plot points in the book. So what if it was published in 2009 — I don’t read Swedish. His secrets would have been safe with me.

Perhaps the number 13 is prophetic. After all Colin Dexter axed Inspector Morse in book 13. He had the grace to cushion the blow by entitling “The Remorseful Day”, the final Inspector Morse novel. That’s what we mystery people call a clue.

Eliminating beloved characters is never easy for the author or the reader. Agatha Christie granted a stay of execution to Hercule Poirot until after her death. The appropriately named “Curtain” gave the dapper sleuth a graceful exit and his fans a satisfying climax. Miss Marple was dispatched a bit earlier in “The Sleeping Murder”, but remember she was a very old lady. Happily her faculties were intact even at the very end.

I think Robert Parker had the best solution of all. Spenser never aged, Susan always remained beautiful, and Hawk was still the sexiest man to prowl Beantown, up until Parker’s untimely death in 2010. Hail to you, Mr. P. You let us keep the illusion alive.


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