Where do fictional detectives go when their authors no longer write new novels? Do they, like old soldiers, just fade away? Is there some literary limbo where detectives no longer the focus of their creator's attention continue to sleuth along? Doyle resurrected Holmes in The Adventure of the Empty House with a shaggy dog-tale of
I ask because Midnight Ink has turned down the third Nicky D'Amico mystery, leaving some considerable doubt as to whether or not there will be any more adventures for Nicky and his best friends, Roger and Paolo. Not to mention any more of those characteristically bad theater pieces poor Nicky managed through the chaos.
I don't know much about metaphysics, but I loved both the Twighlight Zone and Outer Limits as a kid, so I do believe I am fully qualified to speculate on that special place where furloughed fictional detectives retire or, as I am more inclined to think, freelance. Picture it, Nicky D'Amico, freed of his author's obligations, begins to wander into other gigs, hired for cameo appearances in other theater mysteries. Or maybe, since the public last saw him heading up those steps at Murder House to retrieve his missing notes, he spends a fictional eternity haunting the very resort hotel he was initially going to free of sham ghosts?
Then again, it's probably most likely that Nicky will hang out where he started. He'll be rattling around in my head, popping up now and then to whisper in my ear of mysteries to be solved, boys to be cruised, and reasons why it's a bad idea to invite Paolo home to meet the family. No matter where he hangs or what he does, of this I am certain: though he is unlikely to ever appear again in public, someday a small bit of him will surely slip into a new amateur sleuth. Maybe that's the answer: they don't faded away, they just transform themselves.