Recurring Series Characters In The Roger And Suzanne Books

Recurring Series Characters In The Roger And Suzanne Books

Roger and Suzanne Mysteries

One of the essentials of writing a series is having some type of linkage between the books in the series. They can be linked by place, by recurring characters, or by some shared object or experience. One of the classics of the shared experience method is the oft-copied series of short stories by O’Henry entitled La Ronde, where the stories are pulled together by a shared case of syphilis from story to story. For my mystery stories the series is linked by my characters Roger and Suzanne, the main protagonists. Private Detective Roger Bowman and Biochemistry Professor Suzanne Bowman, nee Foster, are responsible for solving the murders we encounter all too frequently in this series. But they need help, especially in the more exotic settings in which they tend to find dead bodies. So, our secondary recurring characters are there to help and to add another set of linkages between the books.


Let’s begin at the beginning. Roger Bowman and Suzanne Foster first meet in the novella, “The Empanada Affair”, which started its life as a full-length novel and evolved to the current novella format. The story, featured in “Five Quickies for Roger and Suzanne”, includes detailed backstories for both characters. Also included in the “Five Quickies” anthology is a short story, “The Dog With No Name”, which describes Roger’s first case as a P.I. Series aficionados already know Roger was previously a licensed patent attorney and a homicide detective with the Los Angeles Police Department.


We first meet Suzanne and learn her background in “The Empanada Affair” in “Five Quickies”. I’ve sprinkled bit and pieces expanding on what we know about Suzanne in most of the other novels, so trivia snippets about her life, past and present, are dribbled out throughout the series. Suzanne appears in all of the stories, albeit just by mention in the short stories “The Dog With No Name” and “The Haunted Gymnasium”. I’ve often thought about letting Suzanne have a book (or novella) all her own without Roger, or with Roger in a less prominent role. Maybe Suzanne will need to step up into the lead role when Roger gets a concussion or a bullet hole to recover from. Opportunity beckons! That may happen eventually, but I know not when.

Eduardo Gomez

Eduardo is one of my personal favorite supporting characters. He’s a very good friend of our lead characters and Godfather to Roger and Suzanne’s son Robert. We first meet him in “The Ambivalent Corpse”, where we learn a good bit, but not all, about his backstory. He’s a police officer in Asuncion, Paraguay, as well as a high-ranking member of the Federal police in his home country. I’ve been very vague (on purpose) about that job, which I portray as being a cross between the Paraguayan equivalents of the FBI and the CIA. Finally, because I needed someone with clout across the borders of several sovereign countries in South America for plot purposes, Eduardo doubles (triples?) as an international undercover operative for the Israeli equivalent of the CIA, The Mossad. He’s a busy guy with all three jobs, but handles the multiple roles with aplomb. Eduardo also plays major roles in “The Surreal Killer”, “The Body in the Bed”, “The Matador Murders”, and “The Origin of Murder”.

Martin Gonzalez

A “Columbo”-like detective on the police force in Montevideo, Uruguay. He’s a supporting character in all of the books with Montevideo settings. We first meet him in “The Ambivalent Corpse” then see him again in “The Matador Murders” and “The Body in the Bed”. Martin is an honest cop in a very corrupt world. He often has his own agenda in these stories, so is a friend with some reservations, especially where Eduardo Gomez is concerned. Martin is a composite of several actual Uruguayans I’ve known, so is a pretty complex character.

Bruce, the Nanny

Another of my personal favorite supporting characters. His role in the series has continued to grow since his introduction immediately after Robert’s birth, which occurred just after the events described in “The Surreal Killer”. Bruce appears in “The Matador Murders”, “The Deadly Dog Show”, “The Origin of Murder”, and in the shorter stories “Someone Did It to the Butler” (in “Five Quickies”) and “The Body in the Parking Structure”. He’s an off-screen presence in “The Body in the Bed” and “Unbearably Deadly”. His backstory is first presented in “The Matador Murders”. Bruce is the Swiss Army Knife in this series. He has an unlimited skill set that lets him do whatever is needed for the story---Nanny for an infant, former Navy Seal, dog trainer, show dog handler, bodyguard, Private Detective (not yet licensed, but he will be one day, I think), and who knows what? Perhaps he has some musical talent, athletic ability, or artistic talents we can take advantage of for some future undercover work?

Vincent Romero

A former CIA agent from Wisconsin and Iquiqe, Chile. Vincent first appears as a character in “The Surreal Killer”, where he plays a major role while we learn his backstory in some detail. He moves to Los Angeles where he joins Roger’s detective agency shortly after the events in The Surreal Killer, initially as a bodyguard, later as Roger’s partner. Vincent is a character I initially envisioned as a one-hit wonder, but he worked his way into a prominent role as a featured player in subsequent books in the series since he now plays much the same role in North America as Eduardo Gomez does in South American settings. He’s a good friend of Roger and Suzanne, but still has shadowy connections to the international espionage community that give him access to people and information that may not be available to the local police. Vincent has an additional major role in “The Deadly Dog Show”, as well as being part of the supporting cast in “Someone Did It to the Butler”, “The Haunted Gymnasium” (in “Five Quickies”), “The Body in the Parking Structure”, “Unbearably Deadly”, and “The Origin Of Murder”.

Gretchen and Barbara Kaufman

We first meet the Kaufman sisters in “The Origin of Murder”, where they play an important role in the case. They appear again as major players in “Unbearably Deadly”. I very much doubt that they’ve finished their roles in this series.

Jason Culpepper

We first meet Jason as a special agent attached to the FBI office in Anchorage, Alaska in “Unbearably Deadly”. We’ll meet him again in subsequent books in this series, including the current work in progress.

Juliet and Romeo

The family dogs. We first meet Juliet, an adult German Shorthair Pointer, in “The Deadly Dog Show”. She rises to the rank of supporting cast in this novel, set in the competitive world of canine conformation contests. Her son, Romeo, is born at the end of the book. Both dogs are featured in my current work in progress, Book #10 of this series, set in the world of canine hunt tests. For readers of my blog, it’s an open secret that we have several German Shorthaired Pointers at home. By an odd coincidence, one of these is an adult named Jolie, while another is her grandson Ries. The real dogs act as consultants when we need to think about appropriate canine behaviors in the fictional situations of the novels.

Several other miscellaneous characters

In an early post on my blog (Reuse, Recycle...), I discussed the reuse of minor characters in multiple books in a series. I like doing this, so familiar names of good guys or bad guys crop up in subsequent stories with some frequency. For example, “The Body in the Bed” was fully upright and functional as a featured minor character in “The Ambivalent Corpse”. Sharp eyed readers will find other examples. Thank you.

To see more of Jerold Last's work, click the link to his website or scroll down to the bottom of the page to view his member details Visit Roger and Suzanne Mysteries.

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One of the essentials of writing a series is having some type of linkage between the books in the series. They can be linked by place, by recurring characters, or by some shared object or experience. One of the classics...

The Origin Of Murder by Jerold Last

The Origin of Murder is a fast paced whodunit mystery that brings Roger and Suzanne back to South America. The couple are on a luxury cruise through the Galapagos Islands when Suzanne finds a woman’s body with a couple of bullet holes in it floating in the Pacific Ocean. There’s a ship full of suspects, including a shady DEA agent and two nubile sisters from San Francisco, with more dead bodies to come. The supporting cast includes their young son Robert, Bruce the nanny, and...

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