Sunday, September 6, 2009

The function of the detective

Monday, September 7, 2009

What is the function of the detective?

My Sunday Quotes for the last several weeks have caused me to think about that. Nero Wolfe says he tries to entrap. Another detective says he stirs things up and sees how they fall out.
A third says he is like a dog hunting a rabbit. Nothing will keep him from catching his prey.

Still another (an amateur detective) says he is a scapegoat, a tarnished cloth. He carries away nastiness.

Spenser seems to try to put the world back right, to make it conform to his code.

I hadn't thought of it before I started collecting quotes. Those of us who write crime stories, do so with some preconceptions about what the function of our detective is. And those preconceptions are often different for different writers.

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