When we were teenagers, my sister, in the spirit of sibling rivalry, told me that no one would ever marry me because of the way I ate hamburgers–the outer edges first, saving the juicy middle for last. I wanted that meaty taste to linger.
Eventually, I managed to find a husband, maybe because we had not eaten burgers together before the wedding. And guess what! My daughter practices the same “best bite saved for last,” not only with hamburgers but almost any food. She had to educate her husband about this generational oddity when he innocently swiped a bit of food from the edge of her plate, her carefully set-aside best last bite.
Anticipating the delicious end of a meal is easy. We see the food on the plate, we know what we like and we trust our appetite to lead us to that savory finale. I do almost the same thing with a good book. If it really matters, I peek at the last page to see if the character I like is still alive. (I read a lot of mysteries.) If she/he is dead, I may well push the book, unfinished, back into the library bag. I don’t want that sour taste in my mouth.Series, like franchise restaurants, reassure me. The sleuth must survive to sleuth again. The last page will satisfy my reader’s palate.
We all remember, though, the mess Conan Doyle made when he killed off Sherlock Holmes and had to resurrect him. And what will Sue Grafton do when Kinsey Millhone solves her 26th alphabetical crime? I think we are up to U by now. Already Louise Penny has abandoned the Three Pines setting in her Inspector Gamache series. I’m worried.