Friday, March 25, 2011

Nancy Drew KOs Jack Reacher!

Okay, so that's an unexpected headline. But it's not some cross-over mystery from Lee Child and Carolyn Keene, no it's courtesy of the online poll to find the world's favourite amateur sleuth.

As I said earlier this month, following her popular 'World's Favourite Detective' online vote last year (won in the end by Michael Connelly's terrific creation Harry Bosch, over Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe in the final), award-winning crime fiction reviewer and book blogger Jen Forbus of Jen's Book Thoughts has now launched another worldwide vote - this time to find the favourite amateur sleuth.

Like last year, the vote is in the form of a knockout tournament bracket, similar to the FA Cup or Wimbledon etc (for those in Europe) or the NCAA basketball tournament (for those in North America). It started with 64 sleuths, who were put into 32 pairings. Voters chose their favourite from each pair, the winner goes through, the loser is out.

Due to the vagaries of a random rather than seeded draw, and some interesting voting, there have already been some terrific sleuths (eg Wiki Coffin) knocked out far too early (in my opinion), and there have been some early head-to-head battles between sleuths that perhaps both should have been making it further through, while others of lesser quality, influence, or importance have sailed through 'easier brackets'.

The results of the second round (32 sleuths cut down to 16) were announced earlier this week, with perhaps being the biggest headline the one above - Jack Reacher (an early favourite to win it all) is gone! Certainly Nancy Drew would have been a pre-tourney favourite to make it at least as far as the Sweet 16, if not the Elite Eight/Final Four (to continue the NCAA vernacular), but at Reacher's expense? Wow. I was feeling bad for Nancy being up against Jack, and undeservedly being gone too soon, but with this voting group, it seems it was vice versa.

Amelia Peabody was likewise knocked out by another favourite, Jane Marple (harsh draw there for Peabody), while in another shocker, Harlan Coben's immensely popular Myron Bolitar also fell by the wayside in the second round, being pipped 51% to 49% by Gordy Schultz.

So it's a topsy turvy poll this time around - with plenty of fireworks left to come, as Round Three (you can vote now, here) is underway. And again, two all-time-classic sleuths that could deserve to be in the semifinals or final are head to head; The Hardy Boys and Jane Marple.

Here's the line-up for this week's vote:
  • Ellie Foreman vs Goldy Schultz
  • James Qwilleran vs Nancy Drew
  • Lord Peter Wimsey vs Stephanie Plum
  • The Hardy Boys vs Jane Marple
  • Carter Ross vs Amanda Pepper
  • Benni Harper vs Flavia de Luce
  • Lisbeth Salander vs Annie Darling
  • Brett Kavanaugh vs Amlingmeyer Brothers
Wow - that's a tough top half of the draw still, even with Reacher and Bolitar already knocked out! Nancy Drew, Wimsey, Stephanie Plum, the Hardy Boys and Marple all on one side of the draw, talk about lop-sided. The path seems pretty clear for someone like Salander or Flavia de Luce to whip through the bottom half to the latter rounds.
Happy voting!
Who do you think should be named world's favourite amateur sleuth? What do you think of the voting and results thusfar? Of the upcoming battles?


  1. Craig - Thanks for the update. I'll be really interested to see who wins. And I have to admit there are some very funny mental pictures here!

  2. I was pulling for Amelia...

    I reckon Lisbeth Salander might take it. Salander vs Stephanie Plum would be amusing!