Monday, April 6, 2009

Why do detectives detect?


Monday, April 6, 2009


"There's the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it." That's Sherlock Holmes in A Study in Scarlet.

So Holmes detects out of duty. Or does he detect for excitement? Does he want to be involved in the scarlet threads among the more ordinary threads of life? Really, it is excitement. He wants to put off boredom, to be able to stay away from his cocaine habit just a little longer. Detecting is an addiction for Sherlock Holmes.

Why do detectives detect? And why do folks such as us read mystery stories? These are interesting questions.

Who is your favorite detective? Why does he or she detect? And why do you read mystery stories?


2 comments:

Corey Wilde said...

I enjoy so many of the fictional PIs, it's hard to pick a favorite. But the make-believe detective who I find superior to all others in his work is Gardner's Donald Lam, a circa-WW2 detective. Donald first begins detecting because as a disbarred lawyer in the Great Depression he has trouble getting work. He wangles a job working for Bertha Cool, the toughest female PI (but not the smartest) you'll ever meet. They don't work together, Bertha is pretty much an administrator (and cheapskate). Donald does all the legwork and takes all the lumps.

I read mysteries because I like solving puzzles. Getting the solution is never the point, the point is the process, uncovering clues and heading up blind alleys and sometimes hitting brick walls. And doing all that with interesting characters. That's the fun part. The solution is secondary.

Joe Barone said...

Corey,
I read a lot of the Perry Mason, but not many of the A.A. Fair books. You keep leading me to add books to my TBR list.

Actually, I should thank you. That's why I do this, to find good books to read.