Dick Van Dyke, you might have noticed, is on the cover of my Diagnosis Murder novels. He was also the star of the show. He’s also the central characters in my Diagnosis Murder novels. Seems to me that makes sense, right?
Well, today I got an email from a fan who is very upset with me for not “putting Steve front-and-center.” She’s referring to the character played by Dick’s real-life son, Barry Van Dyke. She said she was “sick and tired” of me “making it very clear which character I prefer.” She also went on to say that if the next book didn’t feature Steve on equal footing with Mark, then she’d stop reading the books.
I sent her a note back, saying she could stop reading now…what she wanted wasn’t going to happen.
“Diagnosis Murder” wouldn’t have existed without Dick Van Dyke as Dr. Mark Sloan… everyone else was a supporting character. The same is true in my books. Dr. Mark Sloan is the central character… and always will be.
I got another email this week from a fan who believes that Steve should be as much of a deductive genius as his father… at the very least, they should be a team. Here is what I wrote to her:
Thank you for your thoughtful note. Steve is a good cop in his own right. But Mark Sloan has a gift… a natural affinity for solving mysteries… that Steve doesn’t have. Steve loves and respects his father… and recognizes his father’s gift. In some ways, the characters mirror the actors who played them… Dick Van Dyke is a living legend, a brilliant actor, comedian, singer and dancer. His son Barry is a fine actor… competent and professional… who nonetheless doesn’t match the amazing talents his father has.