I've been reading mysteries in my off time when I'm not writing, I mean writing my book.. It's like chewing gum for the mind. But I worry about the dietary habits of these driven, dedicated people. They just don't eat well and most of them drink too much. Did it all begin with Mickey Spillane? He liked rare steak, raw whisky and hard women, not quite in that order. Whisky first. A number of protagonists (they're not all cops or even PIs, but they work hard in whatever role they've been cast) have followed Spillane's unhealthy ways. Steak and booze. No mention of vegetables. Ian Rankin's Rebus has a drinking problem so he drinks Bru - is that the name of it? - a non-alcoholic brand of beer, I gather. Temperance Brennan is an alcoholic so she doesn't drink liquor at all, but longs for it once in a while. VI Warshawski eats and drinks like the men but she has a friend who feeds her quite well, and a favourite restaurant, so she eats. Ditto Kinsey Milhone who has 2 cooking friends: a neighbour who bakes bread and a cook in a restaurant who gives her huge, cholesterol-laden meals. She drinks California Chardonnay. Left to herself she eats tunafish sandwiches but never has time to shop for food. No one has time to shop, or even go to the bathroom, unless something disastrous is going to happen or something to further the plot. That's enough to give them constipation. Well, there's hope for Kay Scarpetta - Patricia Cornwell's forensic medical examiner - she cooks and makes nice Italian food with good sauces for the pasta. Then there's Stephanie Plum (I think) in Jovanovitch's books. One can hardly call them mysteries though the protagonist here is a professional of sorts - a bounty hunter. She doesn't cook either and she has a terrible sweet tooth. The men never seem to go home. When the women drop in to change or shower, they either tidy up a bit or let it all go. I don't want to know about their housekeeping or laundry habits. Now Jack Reacher, he has it solved. He just throws away his clothes when they're ragged, beat up or dirty and buys new, cheap ones. Once in a while someone buys him some decent threads as part of the plot but they don't last long. As for his drinking habits, he's a caffeine addict and drinks gallons of coffee yet manages to take 2 breaths and sleep instantly. He seems to eat a lot of breakfast, nothing continental for him, lots of eggs and bacon and pancakes (and coffee), and he misses a lot of meals. They all do. And they don't eat their vegetables. I worry about them.