On Stephanie Plum

I Love Stephie

By Carole Nelson Douglas

What is it about Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series that has put her at the top of the New York Times bestseller list and made her loyal readers see purple? What has made them, in the words of Janet’s promotional catch phrase, go “Plum Crazy” for thirteen laugh-a-lot years?

Is it Janet’s unique mix of a quirky, loveable heroine with a quirky, lovable, but dysfunctional family? Is it the sinister-humorous take on East Coast Family in terms of the mob? Is it the dark underside of the humor: real danger and a slew of Fargo-like venal, bumbling psychopaths for Stephanie to go up against? Or the classic romantic triangle with two desirable Alpha guys courting a feisty gal trying to make it in a man’s world just to pay the rent and keep her independence?

Or is it the inspired underpinnings of another comic leading lady from long ago and far away?

Janet told me once that she knew from the beginning that the series had to run on “the humor and the chase.” That phrase could describe everything from Keystone Kops shorts in silent films to Romancing the Stone. The chase in this case is both criminal and romantic. The motive is Stephanie “getting her man.” Criminal or criminally attractive. And the method in both pursuits is often hilariously comic.

Stephanie’s Literally Comic Roots Are Showing

Janet has often cited an Uncle Scrooge comic book addiction as a child. (I had that one too.) So what was the Scrooge  …

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