Thursday, March 10, 2011

Who's your favourite amateur sleuth?

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 starts with 64 sleuths, who are put into 32 pairings. Voters choose their favourite from each pair, the winner goes through, the loser is out. Next week there will be 32 left (16 pairs), and so on, until only one amateur sleuth remains.

The voting 'lines', so to speak, are now open - with the first week's vote underway. Here's the full list of amateur detectives in the running, and their initial pairings:
  1. Rebecca Robbins vs Hannah Swensen
  2. Hector Lassiter vs Ellie Foreman
  3. Goldy Schultz vs Henry Gamadge
  4. Hitchcock Sewell vs Myron Bolitar
  5. Ruth Galloway vs Jack Garrett
  6. John Putman Thatcher vs James Qwilleran
  7. Nancy Drew vs Josie Prescott
  8. Kiki Lowenstein vs Jack Reacher
  9. Lord Peter Wimsey vs Lady Emily Hargreaves
  10. Lily Moore vs Penny Brannigan
  11. Stephanie Plum vs Lucy Stone
  12. Ned Oglive vs Stella Hardesty
  13. The Hardy Boys vs Odelia Grey
  14. Ollie Paras vs Wiki Coffin
  15. Amelia Peabody vs Paula Holliday
  16. Poke Rafferty vs Jane Marple
  17. Carter Ross vs Stewart Hoag
  18. Troy Chance vs Gervase Fen
  19. Gus Carpenter vs Amanda Pepper
  20. Annie Kincaid vs Abby Knight
  21. Alafair Tucker vs Asey Mayo
  22. Benni Harper vs Emily Tempest
  23. Emma Lord vs Doc Ford
  24. Dorothy Martin vs Flavia de Luce
  25. Lisabeth Salander vs Father Brown
  26. Kelly Flynn vs Charlotte McNally
  27. Duffy Dombrowski vs Kent Murdock
  28. Lori Shepherd vs Annie Darling
  29. Annika Bengztrom vs Omar Yussef
  30. Phryne Fisher vs Brett Kavanaugh
  31. Candy Holliday vs Wollie Shelley
  32. Zack Walker vs Amlingmeyer Brothers
I must confess that I've read or heard of far less of these 64 amateur sleuths than the 64 detectives (police and private) last year. At a guess I would imagine several of the above are popular or well-known in series in the United States, although perhaps not published widely throughout the world. It is great to see Joan Druett's terrific hero, Wiki Coffin, in the running - anyone who's read any of Druett's books or short stories in AHMM and EQMM etc will know that Wiki is well deserving of a vote (with apologies to Ollie Paras).
It will be very interesting to see how the vote goes - especially given some of the initial pairings (seems a shame to lose one of Salander/Father Brown and one of Bengztrom/Yussef in the first round, given some of the other pairings). But that's the nature of these things - and it's fun to see how the cards fall.
You can back your favourite and make your own vote count by voting here.
Who is your favourite amateur detective? Have you read many of the above sleuths? Who would you like to see win? Who should win? Are there any glaring omissions?


  1. Craig - Thanks for announcing this. Should be an interesting competition!

  2. Definitely - I'm hoping a few faves of mine like the Hardy Boys and Wiki Coffin get through okay - it certainly will be interesting, especially given some of the pairings. Like many things, the results always tell us almost as much about the voters, as what they're voting on :-)

  3. Thanks for the heads-up, Craig. I fully expect Jack Reacher to win, but what fun that Wiki got a nomination.

  4. I haven't heard of many of these either. I'm a big fan of Wiki Coffin, though. And I'm delighted to see one of my favourites, Phryne Fisher, is on the list too. For those who don't know, it's a series of delightful mysteries set in 1920s Melbourne, by Kerry Greenwood. The protagonist is a 30-something English immigrant by the name of the Hon. Phryne (pronounced Fry-nee) Fisher. She's a glamorous, wealthy, thoroughly modern woman and I enjoy the descriptions of historical Melbourne.

  5. It will be interesting to see how Reacher does - he's quite different to most of the other amateur sleuths.

    Good luck to Wiki - although unfortunately I think by the way Jen's set it up he might be up against the Hardy Boys in the next round (if they both win) - that would be a tough call for me, given my childhood nostalgia for the 'Boys.

  6. Thansk for the comment Caron. I have 2 Phryne Fisher books in my TBR pile, and I'm very much looking forward to reading them given the positive things I've heard from others.

    It is good to see the likes of Wiki and Phryne get through - some antipodean flavour in the US-based vote.