Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What motivates Julius Katz to solve his cases?

Many readers think at first that Julius Katz is simply a pastiche of Nero Wolfe. Well, given Julius's name, as well as the name of his sidekick, and a few of Julius's personality traits, as well as his love of gourmet food and his overall laziness, I'll admit to a tip of a cap to one of favorite detective series and writers, but Katz is a very different animal than Wolfe. While Archie has the heart and soul of a hardboiled PI (even though he's only a tiny computer device), Julius shares more than a little DNA with my con man Pete Mitchel from my first Ellery Queen story, Money Run. Call them second cousins on Julius's father's side. So what motivates Julius to solve his murder cases?

In the Shamus and Derringer award-winning 'Julius Katz', Julius is hired by a woman whose mother has Alzheimer's. She's afraid that her brother, who has power of attorney over their mother, is more concerned with preserving her mother's money for a future inheritance than seeing that the woman is properly taken care of. When Julius's client is murdered, he solves the murderso that he can fulfill his initial obligations and earn his fee.

In the Ellery Queens Reader's Choice Award winner, 'Archie's Been Framed', Julius finds himself inconvenienced when Archie becomes the prime and only suspect for the murder of a woman he'd been dating, and so Julius reluctantly jumps in to clear his assistance's name and the inconvenience that Archie's fugitive status is causing him.

In the novel, 'Julius Katz and Archie', when Julius's client is murdered he feels no need to find the murderer since as far as he's concerned this is a police matter and he has no further obligations to his dead client. When an attempt is later made on Julius's life, nothing is going to keep him from being the one to send the murderer away.

In 'One Angry Julius and Eleven Befuddled Jurors', an increasingly peevish Julius is serving on a sequestered murder trial and is at risk of missing a once-in-a-lifetime gourmet dinner, and so Julius takes over.

In 'Archie Solves the Case',  when Julius's client is accused of murdering a rival chef over a stolen recipe, Julius takes on the case so he doesn't lose his favorite dish. But he has an another motivation that's revealed at the end. Of course, it can be debated which of them--Julius or Archie--really solves the case!

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