what makes a great detective ?

I am currently reading Jo Nesbo new book the snowman ,enjoying it ,it got me thinking what makes a great detective in fiction ? Although I don’t read a lot of crime fiction over the years ,there have been a few .So I came up with a few points of my own to good detective fiction .

  1. Location-The location can be key ,from the country house crimes of Christie or Doyle ,the gritty streets of Edinburgh from Rankin’s Rebus .to the current trend for nordic crime with the cold climate and barren scenes .Christie moved Poirot to loads of wonderful settings , P D James also does this with Adam Dalgliesh .
  2. Idiosyncrasy – all the detectives i ve enjoyed reading seem to have habits that make them stand out ,morse with his crosswords and classical music ,Poirot with obsessive neatness .Holmes with his deductions and pipe ,harry hole from my current book and Rebus both like music .
  3. Sidekicks-they tend to be three sidekick ,the likes of Watson and Hastings that are used as a sounding board for ideas ,Lewis and Havers where there is class and background differences that can help and hinder the case ,the third is the team like in Rebus or Harry hole where each of the team bring some different skill to the case .
  4. Drugs-we all know well Holmes drugs habit ,but morse and Rebus where both heavy drinkers use the drink to help them relax and mull over the cases at hand ,even a m smiths mna Ramestowe is always drinking her bush tea
  5. Intelligence homes was stated by Watson to be the cleverest man in a lot of areas poison ,human character ,morse was a Oxford grad with an amazing analytical mind that’s able to do the times crossword .Marple has a mind the can draw comparisons between her tiny village and the most gruesome crime .

of course there are many other points that can make great crime fiction .

what makes a great detective for you ?

do you have a favourite detective ?

March 2010
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