Sunday, April 4, 2010

Bosch, Holmes, Marlowe, and Poirot...

After another very tough and close round, the quarterfinal results from the 'World's Favourite Detective' tournament being run by Jen Forbus of Jen's Book Thoughts have been announced. We have our 'final four' detectives who will battle it out for the title.

And what a final four it is, encompassing the detective who first popularised the crime and mystery fiction genre, the detective who lead the way during the 'Golden Age' of British detective fiction, the detective who led the way for the US hardboiled genre, and the modern day detective who perhaps best epitomises modern US crime fiction. No matter who your personal favourites are, it's hard to argue that from a purely 'historic' and broad view of the crime and mystery fiction genre, that these four detective aren't a bad final four, representatively.

After almost 800 people voted, the results of the quarterfinals were as follows (winner in bold):
  • Harry Bosch (79%) vs. Sam Spade (21%)
  • Sherlock Holmes (63%) vs. Lincoln Rhyme (37%)
  • Elvis Cole (46%) vs. Phillip Marlowe (54%)
  • Hercule Poirot (54%) vs. Dave Robicheaux (46%)
So that was three for the history boys, so to speak, and one for the modern-day favourites, in the traditional vs modern head-to-head battles of the quarterfinals. Interestingly, Jen notes on her blog post about the results, that with the exception of Harry Bosch, no detective stayed in the lead the whole time. All three other contests volleyed back and forth between lead positions.

I have to say I'm a little bemused that Lincoln Rhyme managed to be leading Sherlock Holmes at any stage - that would have seemed to me an absolutely ridiculous upset if Rhyme had won (no offence to Jeffery Deaver, who I really enjoy reading). In fact, given that there were almost 800 voters, the fact that almost 300 crime fiction fans voted for Rhyme ahead of Holmes is a real head-scratcher to me anyway.

It was also the first round that Bosch didn't have an 80+ % score, although he was still the leading vote-getter overall, which bodes well for his semifinal against Sherlock Holmes.

So, onto the semi-finals, which will see Bosch vs Holmes (one of those semifinals that might have made a better final, that you often see in sports etc) and Marlowe vs Poirot. Two US hardboiled-style detectives vs two British detectives from the classic tradition. It will certainly be a very intriguing week of voting. Will the fact that the competition is on a US-based blog help Chander's Marlowe overcome Christie's Poirot, in what might otherwise be a coin-toss decision re: historical importance? It's going to be fascinating.
Who do you want to see win? What would the best/most deserving final be? Does Bosch deserve to stand alongside (or even above) those latter-day greats of the genre? Thoughts and comments welcome.


  1. Craig - Thanks for the update : ). I'm a Bosch and a Poirot fan, so this is good news for me. It really will be interesting to see who wins.

  2. I too am bemused that 300 crime fiction fans voted for Rhyme ahead of Holmes, although I like Jeffrey Deaver's clever books.
    Holmes against Marlowe would be the ideal final, the classic British consulting sleuth against the best of the American hard boiled detectives. But I suspect a Bosch/Marlowe final with Harry winning.

  3. The semifinal round will be easy for me: Holmes and Marlowe all the way! I'm disappointed that Same Spade didn't make it, but that would have posed a problem then.