I’ve always been fascinated by detective stories and detectives. It’s strange, because I don’t really like the murders, just the solving of the puzzle. Can’t take the blood and pain, but like the brain-work.
I suppose Miss Marple was the first detective I came across in books. Once I saw the films I went off her a bit. She was so old, for a start, and maybe it also was because she was a bit dithery and I could see into my future and feared I’d end up that way.
I should have mentioned that in the main, I like my detectives to be male and handsome. I find it makes it easier for me to read the book or watch the screen happily.
There was Stratford Johns in ‘Softly Softly’, a TV series in the seventies. Kids were either strapped into chairs or let loose on the street (depending on the season) so that I could watch that at 6.30pm without fail. There was Inspector Wexford ( a bit slow he was), followed by Bergerack, (I still like him, John Nettles, I mean, in Midsummer Murders although he gets through an awful lot of bodies ), Then there was the wonderful John Thaw as Inspector Morse. We built a ‘family night’ in our house around him when the first series began. A women’s night, with my daughter and the transient girlfriends of my sons, complete with crackers and pate and red wine. Ever so sophisticated. The men in my life usually found the programme too slow and tedious, but of course we girls were all half in love with Morse and didn’t care how much opera he listened to, beers he drank, or time he took to unravel the tale. Now that a couple of years have passed I have even become quite fond of Lewis – the replacement of Morse in the series.
But my favourite Detective has to be Brunetti in the stories by Donna Leon. Not only does he solve crime in the wonderful setting of Venice, but he appreciates good wine and gourmet food, adores his wife (bless her heart, I don’t resent her too much) and his two quite normal children. He introduces me to that wonderful place as he takes note of the streets he walks along, and the boats he hops on and off. And he manages to bring romance to the readers of the books who (in my experience) range in age from 30 to well, a lot older….. You should check him out.