And the answer is . . . well, sort of.
I write seatopants-style so very often the one I thought dunnit turns out not to have in the end and I suppose you could say switching a character from "murderer" to "non-murderer" is a bit of a moral upgrade.
One time I really did turn someone from a moustache-twirling, cape-swirling baddy (bwah-hah-hah, all that) to a bunny-hugging (well, bunny-shooting since it was the 1920s and this person was a countrydweller but let's not quibble) poppet. But I did it after the character was dead so there wasn't much in it for them.
Usually though, it's a question of ever-increasing complexity. I can't decide whether it's a drawback or a side-benefit of writing a series that minor comic characters grow and deepen over the course of a few books so that you can't use them for cheap laughs any more.
Dandy Gilver's husband, Hugh, was pretty much a stuffed shirt in the first book or two, but as I've written about his childhood, his reaction to his wife being in danger, his fears for his teenage sons as the clouds of war begin to gather, I've grown fonder of him and developed a grudging respect. In the last two books I've given him a moment of glory to off-set the fact that I still laugh at his fossilised take on the world.
And actually,as I write this I remember that a few years ago, in a different frame of mind, and under a pseudonym (although not very far under: it was Catriona McCloud) I wrote a slightly cross-genre, tricky to decribe and therefore tricky to keep in print, puzzle novel called Straight Up which had a massive shift along the scale of sympathy for one of the characters.
I'm being cryptic because tis is the season and so I've decided to give a couple of copies of Straight Up away (should anyone want one). In short, if you'd care to read a crime/road/buddy caper about lies, fibs, whoppers, tall tales and total bull in which a depressed florist takes on Hollywood and wins (kind of), just comment and I'll draw names at the end of today. (With regret, US only.)
Whatever you're reading on the days off next week, though, have a wonderful feast/rest/holiday, won't you.