Having hit a few too many modern mysteries which didn't work for me, I'm plunging into a re-read of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe mysteries. (Somewhat overpriced) Kindle editions have made it easy for me to complete my collection, and I really enjoy doing end-to-end read-throughs of my favourite classic mysteries, to see the world change around the detectives.
Nero Wolfe, and his not-to-be-forgotten offsider Archie Goodwin, leap off the page of the very first novel. Wolfe is a brilliant man devoted to (and burdened by) his immense and costly collection of orchids. He is also a gourmand of expensive tastes. He undertakes his detecting primarily for money to feed his habit for food and flowers, (although there's no doubt some enjoyment of the intellectual challenge), and he cultivates his reputation of eccentricity to better prevent too many from attempting to stir him into working. Archie is the live-wire, the energetic go-getter, whose livelihood depends on ensuring the Wolfe earns both their livings.
Today, reading a review of some random steampunk novel, I saw a criticism about how the characters do not change significantly during the novel. This was termed a weakness, something to be forgiven, a detraction. And yet here am I, eagerly anticipating reading through 34 novels where the characters do not change. Oh, they get older, they bicker, circumstances on occasion oblige Wolfe to alter his routine or even, *gasp*, leave the building. One or two books force him to do rather more, but they don't essentially change the person that he is, and as soon as possible he returns to status quo.
I guess everyone has their own checklist of what is a 'right' novel. I do tend to avoid books with truly obnoxious treatments of women. Otherwise, make me care, don't cause my suspension of disbelief to go SPUNG, do not confuse me overmuch, and tie off the ends of the tale in a way that satisfies. Most of all, do not bore me. That's all I ask.