The WSJ posed the question: Who is your favorite fictional detective? They printed five answers, and I’m not sure any of them would have made my list. Perhaps there are just too many from which to choose especially for someone like me who mostly reads mysteries.
Not that I need any books to add to my To Be Read list, but I had to look up the two that were new to me. The first was DC Smith from Peter Grainger’s DC Smith series. As so often happens, this British detective series isn’t available at my local library, so I’ve ordered a used copy of book one, “Accidental Death,” from Amazon. I’m a sucker for British mysteries.
Next up was Phryne Fisher from Kerry Greenwood’s series set in 1920s Australia. There are twenty books in the series, and the tales were briefly turned into a TV show and one follow-up TV movie. These books seem right up my alley, and the description reminded me of the Mrs. Bradley series starring Diana Rigg, though Phryne Fisher is a younger character. That series is available at my library, so it’s on my online list to order later.
Miss Marple was also on the list. Funny, I have a vague memory of reading maybe one Miss Marple book. The rest I’ve enjoyed on television. We have a running debate at our house as to who played the best Miss Marple. I’m partial to Geraldine McEwan, and my husband prefers Joan Hickson.
Jules Maigret who is featured in 75 novels and innumerable television productions was the fourth detective mentioned. Written in French by George Simenon, the books were later published in English. Again, I’ve never read any of these, but have enjoyed the latest BBC production starring Rowan Atkinson.
The fifth detective appeared only on TV—the beloved Columbo. Didn’t we all love him? I’d forgotten he had a dog until I read that fact in the paper.
This list was not meant to be definitive nor complete. It was comprised simply of responses that came into the WSJ mailbox. Who would I put on my list? That’s a difficult question. I’m not sure I could come up with a number one favorite, though I can list several characters whose stories I’ve followed with great pleasure. Robert B. Parker’s Spenser leaps to mind as do Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache and Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch. Kinsey Milhone was a long-time favorite, but these days it’s the British sleuths like Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs and Charles Todd’s Inspector Rutledge who top my list.
Is it any wonder my TBR list at the library has over forty books on it, and my wish list on Amazon is a lengthy one too? Who’s your favorite fictional detective? Can you narrow it down to only one?