I was asked who my favorite detective is. Wow, that’s like asking what’s my favorite movie, or my favorite food. I love them all, that’s for sure. I even love my own troubled Steve Music, problems and all.
There have been so many interesting detectives over the years. Precocious child that I was, I lost my virginity to Charlie Chan when I ventured into the “adult” section of our local library. I knew him of course from the movies, but who knew he came straight out of BOOKS?
By the time I had exhausted all the Charlie Chan books on the shelves, I began to read other mysteries. There was Ellery, Nero and Archie, the suave Philo and Nick (I feel like I know these guys so well we should be on a first name basis). There was Fletcher (and without his creator Frank Gruber I might never have got a heads up on Wyatt Earp years ahead of the average American).
These guys just got tougher and tougher. There was McGee…Sam and Phil, Mike Shayne…I know I’m going to omit so many wonderful detectives it’s already embarrassing. Hercule Poirot of course and when I was a kid I wanted to grow up to be like Lord Peter. I even learned how to prepare what I called Chicken Bunter, a dish perfected by Lord Peter's former batman, Mervyn Bunter.
In more recent times I was captivated by William of Baskerville in “The Name of the Rose”. Way ahead of his time. Between you and me, that’s the novel I wish I could have written.
But okay, I don’t want to pad this out too long, so I’m going to have to break down and divulge my lifelong secret absolutely favorite detective of all.
I don’t love her “that way” because she’s really rather snappish, aloof, a bit of a snob, a terrible snoop (move over Mrs. Kravitz!) and I imagine having to live with her would be extremely tedious.
But when it comes to sitting back and following the quiet investigations of this unassuming, self-deprecating nosey old amateur detective, there is absolutely no one who can ever top my beloved Miss Jane Marple.
Although Helen Hayes was good, in general the film industry has been very unkind to Miss Marple, until the late Joan Hickson came along. She was Miss Marple, the only Miss Marple. Earlier I mentioned that I felt pretty casual with many famous detectives, even comfortable calling them by their first names. But I would never ever dare call Miss Marple "Jane".
Good picture of Joan Hickson as Miss Marple right here: www.cmalbrecht.com