Hi! This is my blog post as part of the #MurderOnTheBeach event, which is celebrating the releases of Jame’s Dawson’s CRUEL SUMMER and Kate Harrison’s SOUL STORM this summer! #MurderOnTheBeach is taking place all over Twitter and various blogs on an epic Blog Tour! The theme for this post is Top Five Detectives, as chosen by Kate Harrison. This blog post is twinned with Jack’s (thebookstop.biz) post, which contains James Dawson’s top five. Hope you enjoy both of these, and stick around for the rest of the Blog Tour!
Kate Harrison on her Top Five Detectives
Watching the Detectives – Kate’s view!
I love a mystery… so how come my list of TV detectives is a mile long, but my list of literary sleuths is almost non-existent? Could it be the lack of feisty female detectives in books? TV has more than its share of memorable women investigators – from Cagney and Lacey back in the 70s (surprisingly gritty if you can catch a re-run) through to their modern-day equivalents, Scott and Bailey or even the female lawyers in Damages. The characterisation of those women keeps me hooked, whatever the storyline.
Whereas in books, the gumshoes are mostly men, and caricatures at that – boozy, unwashed yet somehow still irresistible to women.
There’s another explanation though – in books like The Talented Mr Ripley, the appeal is in spending time with the villains, in inhabiting their heads.
In the Soul Beach trilogy I got to do both – write the character of Alice, who investigates her sister’s murder and the afterlife… and write from the point of view of my serial killer. Not to mention bring them face to face in Soul Storm. It was the best fun I’ve had in years…
Alice certainly has the grit of my top 5 Fictional Investigators. Some are – how shall I put it – retro, but you can find them on digital channels and they’re well worth checking out.
5. Velma Dinkley from Scooby Do: Poor Velma didn’t get the fancy wardrobe, but she got the brains to go with her orange jumper – in many ways, a forerunner of the legendary snowflake sweaters worn by Sarah Lund. She’s smart, science-minded and kind to animals. And she’s a hell of a lot less likely to get tied up than her more glamorous counterpart, Daphne.
4. Sarah Lund from The Killing. Let’s hear it for the jumpers! There’s a lot more to mopey Sarah than her knitwear. She’s smart and passionate and her instincts are generally very good. Which is more than can be said for her choice of men. The female ‘tec with a disastrous love life is a cliché in itself, but Lund does it so well. See also her sexier French cousin, Captain Laure Berthaud, from Spiral/Engrenages.
3. Fitz from Cracker. This guy is overweight, slobbish, abusive and absolutely brilliant. The storylines were seriously unsettling – and the series made a huge impact over very few episodes. I recently watched it again and there were some parts that really alarmed me, but that character is incredibly memorable, and the forerunner of so many other psychological ‘detectives’ that have followed.
2. Horace Rumpole – at last, a character that works equally well in John Mortimer’s excellent books, and in the long-running TV series (interestingly, it started as a TV play and the books followed). It is impossible to read the books without picturing Leo McKern as the clever, disrespectful barrister who gets to the truth and also gets his (often dodgy) clients off.
1. Jane Tennison from Prime Suspect. She made such an impact when she first appeared – the first in the ‘female detectives with issues’ list, but so well done by Helen Mirren, and always grittily realistic.
So, there’s my crack team. With these guys and gals on the case, the streets would be an awful lot less mean. Though the bars and sweater shops might be running low on stock…
Great answers, Kate! I myself don’t have many other fave TV detectives apart from Velma- though I love Poirot and Sherlock Holmes literary wise. Readers! Who are your favourite crime busters?
Be sure to check out the rest of the #MurderOnTheBeach blog tour! Here’s the dates:
(click on the image for a close up)