Today the third book in the Monk Buttman Mystery series comes out. As with the second book, A Twinkle in the Eyes of God, Too Many Women, Too Little Time, continues the Monk story from where the last one left off. (If you’re unfamiliar with the series, the first book, Where Fools Dare to Tread, introduces Monk and his being sucked into a doomed caper to recover “lost” money that isn’t lost. The second finds him helping his daughter find her runaway husband, who may or may not be part of a cult.)
The fun in writing a continuing series is that each book builds on the last, and the author can deepen the history and background of the characters. It also allows an opportunity to question and answer the foibles, good and bad, that the characters get themselves into. In Monk’s case, it’s being in love with two women at the same time and not being terribly honest about it, either with those involved or with himself.
Inevitably, worlds fall apart, and that’s the gist of book three: you can tell yourself all kinds of things, whether they’re true or not; whether you believe them or not, but sooner or later it’ll kick you hard in the shin and make you open your eyes.
To be honest, I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of being in love with two people at the same time and how it almost always ends badly. (For those who may have had some success in this department, remember I did say almost.) There is no shortage of stories of such affairs, most of which turn on who gets chosen at the end. But what if you actually truly love them both? What if that drives you to avoid being honest about the situation? And what if the three of you allow it to fester by not facing how it really affect you?
Sooner or later.
It has also been something of a flashpoint for readers of the series. Most of the negative responses to Monk predominately revolve around his relationships with both Agnes and Judith, and whether he’s a two-timing weasel.
In a sense he is and is not. Both Agnes and Judith are aware of the other, and tacitly accept the situation. And while Monk isn’t hiding the fact, he isn’t shouting it out to the masses either. That doesn’t necessarily matter because everyone not named Agnes or Judith in Monk’s immediate circle are aware of it too, and most do not approve.
Consequently, Monk can only bob and weave for so long before it all blows up in his face. Which it does. And as life enjoys a good laugh at our expense, Monk also has to deal with a crazy rich guy, who very well may be running a con, an ex pressuring him to sell The Moonlight Arms (the old folks home he owns), and a young woman tied up with a gangster, who accuses Monk of having stolen her money.
©2020 David William Pearce