Like some parents, authors sometimes feel as if they have bitten off more than they can chew. Their creations take on a life of their own, becoming wildly popular among their readers who argue enthusiastically about their pros and cons. Unlike parents however, authors can kill off their creations with snickering glee and the only consequence is the wrath of their readers.
Take Sherlock Holmes, for instance. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle felt the detective kept him from doing better things. 'What better things can there be?' his readers cried.
Henning Mankell gave his long suffering detective Kurt Wallander a fairy tale ending, with a dog, a house by the beach and his grandson to play with. And then -- Alzheimers. Nice... However, pressure from his readers prompted him to write An Event in Autumn which takes us into new territory. It is based on Mankell's short story, Händelse om hösten. It contains a very sad sentence: ‘There are no more stories about Kurt Wallander’
Agatha Christie finished her detective Her Poirot by having him kill a physcho killer, then himself. No resurrection there. Poirot passes away from complications of a heart condition at the end of Curtain: Poirot's Last Case.
As for Andrea Camilleri, creator of the popular Italian detective Montalbano a series of 17 books, several collections of short stories and a multi -episode TV series, he says this about his brawny, intuitive hero, "I finished him off five years ago. That's to say, the final novel in the series of Montalbano is already written and deposited at the publishing house...in that last book he’s really finished.”
As an enthusiastic reader of all these detectives, I hate to think that they are really 'finished'. Maybe they are just hiding on a shelf somewhere waiting to be ressurected in a new writer's imagination.