Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Take a bow, Harry Bosch

He's a grizzled and graying veteran detective who is named after a Flemish painter and was partially inspired to work in law enforcement following the murder of his prostitute mother when he was 11.

He was a 'tunnel rat' in Vietnam, still has a stylised rat tattooed on his shoulder as a memento, and is the only member of his police academy class still working for the LAPD.

He has scars on his knuckles from where his drill instructor during US Army basic training ordered him to punch a wall until his knuckles bled, to remove the "Hold Fast" tattoos that he'd had tattooed there when he was 16 ("Hold Fast" is a navy motto).

He loves jazz, is left-handed, apparently looks somewhat like Hugh Laurie with a moustache, and is one of the last detectives trained in hypnosis left in the LAPD.

He is Michael Connelly's superb creation, Hieronymous "Harry" Bosch, and he has been named the 'World's Favourite Detective'.

Several hundred votes were cast last week, and in the end Harry Bosch won over Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe (another gritty detective who prowled the mean streets of LA, half a century earlier) in a landslide (79% to 21%) in the championship round of the fantastic 'World's Favourite Detective' knock-out tournament that has been running for the past couple of months on Jen Forbus's excellent blog Jen's Book Thoughts.

Bosch is one of my very favourite modern-day crime fiction main characters, so on the personal front I am happy to see him win the overall vote. He was the front-runner from early on - the only detective to consistently score over 75% of the vote, no matter who he was up against. While most contests in the popular knockout tournament (which started with 64 detectives - a number that had already been culled down from the overall nominations) were close - surprisingly close in some cases - Bosch was never really in trouble in any of the rounds.

You can watch an interesting video of Michael Connelly in Hong Kong, talking about the most recent Bosch story NINE DRAGONS, and the character of Harry Bosch, here.

I like other detectives, old and new, as well - and sometimes perhaps even more - but in the end I don't think anyone could say that Harry Bosch is unworthy of the title 'World's Favourite Detective'. Thoughts and comments welcome.

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