I love mysteries. I’ve enjoyed a series called “Two-Minute Mysteries” since I was in elementary school (and as it turns out, so has my wife). And I’ve also been a Sherlock Holmes follower for years (something I may have already mentioned before). My wife enjoys those stories, too. So much so that I have “Love Watson” engraved inside my wedding ring and she has “Love Sherlock” engraved inside hers.
She eventually got me going on a mystery series that she had been collecting since before we were married. The title of every book the author wrote began with, “The Cat Who…” and involved a man who more or less inherits an extremely smart Siamese cat whose cat senses help him solve various mysteries. Now, I need to make it known that I don’t really care for cats. (In fact, as a side story, my grandparents’ neighbors had pesky cats that would come through the tree line and go after my Grandpa’s pheasants. Us grandkids would come running to let him know that the cats were coming through the tree line again. He’d grab a red plastic whiffle-ball bat from the garage, us kids trailing like a pack of hungry hyenas as he walked out to the tree line and hit the cats on the head with the whiffle-ball bat. It didn’t hurt them any, but it sure was funny to see there feet scurry on the ground, yet going nowhere–just like a cartoon–and then they’d tear off into the yard from whence they came. I know; if you like cats, your opinion of me just plummeted. I’d say I’m sorry, but I’m not. Oops, it happened again). So at any rate, initially, my interest in this series was scant at best. But the more I read, the more I liked what was happening and found that it was actually a very good series to follow.
Here’s the thing: the author has been writing these mysteries since the 70’s. She was belting them out hot and heavy through the late 70’s, the 80’s and well into the 90’s. Then it’s evident that the stories start tapering off. Obviously she’s getting older. More and more time passes between books. It’s now well into the 2000’s. I’m getting concerned. How old is this woman? Is she going to live long enough to write one more story? What is she going to resolve? What is she going to leave hanging? The suspense is growing by each book I eventually see. It finally gets to the point where it’s obvious that the book I’m waiting for is going to be the last one. The author is in her 90’s now and not doing well. The last book is finally published and, like Smeagol, I start referring to myself in the plural and mumbling something about “my Precious”.
So I begin reading. A very enjoyable time! I’m savoring every page, knowing this is the last time I will ever be able to do this with this series. But as I am working my way towards the end, I’m starting to get nervous. I’m going to be running out of pages soon, and nothing seems to be resolving itself. Nothing. What the….? No way!! By the end of the book, there are more questions than answers: instead of getting the woman the main character has been interested in for so long, she moves away; somebody burns down the huge and gorgeous barn-house that the main character lives in (and no one knows who did it); and then there’s whatever else was left hanging in the air, unresolved and unaccounted for. I felt like Gollum when he lost his ring. “No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o! My Precioussssssss!”
Shortly after I read the book, she died. I was devastated. No one can fix this. This stinks. I was so disappointed that I eventually got rid of the whole series we had collected. “Why would you do that??“, you ask? Sure, I could start over with the series and read them all over again some time down the road (that’s why you collect a series, right?). But why would I want to do that when I know everything ultimately ends the way that it does? Yup…I think you get it.
Sigh. Oh well. There are worse things to have happen to you. Continue reading The Cat Who Didn’t Finish