Thursday, March 11, 2010

Have your say: Voting underway for the "World's Favourite Detective"

As I mentioned last month, fellow book blogger (and Crime watch competition winner) Jen from Jen's Book Thoughts is running a "Detectives Around the World" theme week from 11-17 April this year.

As part of that theme, Jen is creating a tournament for the "World's Favorite Detective." This tournament consists of weekly contests similar to the college basketball tournaments that will be going on (ie "March Madness" as it is affectionately known in the States). It has started with 64 nominated detectives this week, and there will be weekly knock-out votes until a winner is declared. In each round the detectives are paired up, and blog visitors can vote for their favourite from each pair.

Already this week there are some interesting pairings, which will see some 'big names' knocked out. You can vote for your favourites here, with voting in this first round open until midnight EST on Friday March 12th. I've just voted, and even in the first round there were some tough calls. I felt a bit of a turncoat, not voting for the only Kiwi-penned detective in the competition (Dame Ngaio Marsh's Inspector Roderick Alleyn), but Jen paired him up against Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch - one of my alltime faves. Fans of PD James and Ian Rankin will also have a tough first round choice - with Adam Dalgliesh up against John Rebus!

There are plenty of great detectives on the list, and it's a great reminder of the breadth and richness of the crime fiction canon. I hope that it may also help many people get a little more acquainted with some lesser-known, or forgotten, detectives. It will be interesting to see who makes it through to the final rounds - will the winner be a classic detective like Sherlock Holmes, Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade, or Hercule Poirot? Or will a modern bestselling titan like Bosch, Rebus, Alex Cross, or Dave Robicheaux take the title? Or will a perhaps a detective that is less widely known by the general public, but beloved by crime fiction fans 'in the know', come through (e.g. like Louise Penny's Gamache)? It will certainly be fascinating to find out.

So who are your favourite detectives? What do you think of Jen's tournament? Do you like regularly finding new detectives to add to the old favourites you read? Thoughts and comments welcome...


  1. See -- I told I would be keeping a beady eye on your blog, Craig. :-) Re the tournament, Maxine said on FF that she found it too much of a palaver, and I am wholly with her on that. Fun, but it's a complicated business and I'm not sure the game is worth the candle, especially given what I say below. The third of your excellent questions brings to my mind that I do, in fact, approach authors new to me, especially if I know that they are writing a series, rather hoping I'll find a new detective, or group thereof, to add to my list. These are like old friends, aren't they? If I cite favourite detectives I shall forget to mention some corkers, but off the top: Wexford, Rebus, Morse, Dalziel, Mallory, Robicheaux, Adamsberg, Montalbano, Brunetti, Falcon, Beck and Co., Sejer, Hole, Wallander, Martinsson, Erlendur. That's sixteen, and I think ten are on Jen's list, as also are about twenty I've never even heard of in forty or so years of reading crime fiction, and that's another problem with the detectival jousting. I shall be looking at a few of those to see whence they came. Stimulating post, Craig, for which thanks.

  2. Philip a sensational sixteen, although I have never read Mallory, but choosing only two female detectives might get you into trouble at FF. ;o)
    The pairings offered up some difficult choices and some pairs where I had never heard of either detective.

  3. Damn, Norman, I never thought of that. Very good of you to point that out -- stick together, monstrous regiment, etc. :-) I think my comeback might have to be that six female authors are represented,though with sixteen writers in total, that's a tenuous line of defence. I almost put in Tess Monaghan -- as if one more would help -- but Lippman has been really annoying me lately with a peculiarly compulsive use of 'reference' as a verb. But to the gist, Norman -- who are your own favourites?