Monday, March 18, 2013
Choosing the Best Detective
A blogger named August Wainwright has proposed a "March Madness" sort of competition, but instead of relating to sports, his relates to fictional detectives, whom he is pitting against one another in order to allow readers to vote for their favorite or, in essence, the best.
I chatted with Mr. Wainwright online and suggested that, if I were to play the devil's advocate, I could find certain problems with his list. He noted that there were several other detectives he wanted to include, but that they did not make the final cut.
A perusal of the list reveals that certain key detectives seem to be missing, many of them women. Therefore, like all lists, this one merely reflects the (perhaps unavoidable) preferences of its compiler. In addition, he has mixed fictional sleuths, television sleuths, and young adult sleuths, which I see as three distinct genres. I might find it easier to vote if, say, the list only dealt with detectives from mystery literature, since my criteria would be different for television sleuths. In a competition with adult sleuths, Nancy Drew would not even be on my radar. But if I were looking only at YA influences, she would be right up there with the best.
So the potpourri gives the list a random feel--but perhaps this is better for the voting?
What's your take on the list? Will you vote on Wainright's March Madness? If so, for whom would you vote overall? Who would you ADD to the list of choices that is not represented right now? Is there a best detective you would vote for that he does not have in the running?
For me, there are several, but I don't want to name them until I hear from mystery aficionados. Who absolutely belongs on this list? Or do you think the list is okay as it stands?
And August Wainright, feel free to chime in!
(Pictured: Joan Hickson as Miss Marple; one of the many women to play Marple on the PBS televised series, and possibly my favorite. Image link here).