My "vintage" mystery concerns a prim young woman of the '60s, Carrie, who meets a recently-returned Vietnam vet, Jack. Their first meeting is a bit rocky, but they soon learn to appreciate each other's good points. Carrie admires Jack's courage in facing the problems life has thrown at him. Jack admires Carrie's ability to see the good in the world and help him see it as well.
I chose not to dwell on the politics of the Vietnam war. If you're looking for a commentary on why we were there or how people dealt with PTSD, this is not your book. It's simply a mystery that draws some of its plot from the fact that Jack was in Vietnam.
Of course, the pathway in a mystery is filled with bombs and booby traps. Jack has secrets
that Carrie has to deal with. Carrie has hang-ups that Jack can't understand. Their romance seems unlikely at first, then on, then off, permanently. Despite that, they come to trust each other and depend on each other's strengths.
I like characters with obstacles to overcome. While the mystery part of the story demands careful attention, and while the 1960's setting requires detail to recall and/or recreate for readers, it is the characters we care about. Will they survive? Will they grow? Will they find some sort of peace? And, of course, will they somehow, some way, end up together?
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