RARA-AVIS: Replacements

Bill Hagen (billha@ionet.net)
Mon, 30 Mar 1998 00:34:16 -0600 (CST) In discussing K.C. Constantine, Mario Taboada notes something that might
make an interesting thread:

"Incidentally, the other day I saw an annoucement of a new Constantine
novel - Mario Balzic is now retired, and Carlucci is the protagonist.
This following of the hero until retirement and then replacement by a
subaltern as protagonist may well be a first in crime fiction. But then,
nothing about Constantine's fiction is ordinary - he's a great American

Do any other instances of "protagonist replacement" come to mind? And
let's make it hard by saying the protagonist has to have had at least a
two-novel run before he or she was replaced. How was he or she replaced?
(Speculate why.) Was the new protagonist successful?

To kick things off, I can think of one instance, though a police
procedural. Nicholas Freeling, to the dismay of many, killed off his very
personable Dutch policeman, Van der Valk, after a ten-year run. He
replaced him with his widow, Arlette, who was featured in (I think) one
more novel, "The Widow." Then Freeling went on to create a more
conventional French policeman, Henri Castang, in a new series.

As for the "why," George Dove ("The Police Procedural") argues that the Van
der Valk series was, in the first place, an attempt to write a more
literate kind of detective fiction. When Freeling felt his protagonist had
become predictable or even self-parody, the author ended him. Since
Arlette lasted only one novel, she can't be termed a successful
replacement, I guess.

What other examples can folks think of?

Bill Hagen

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