Advent calendar 6th December – favourite fictional detective

Gaudy Night by Dorothy L SayersMy friend Cat Down Under has summed up today’s category in a nutshell. Or in rather more than a nutshell as that’s kind of the problem. If you read crime fiction, how do you narrow down the brigade of fictional detectives to just one? Just as the type of crime fiction you choose to read depends on your mood, so does the detective you want to call on. If you’re feeling logical and methodical then you might want to read a Hercule Poirot novel, if you have a yen for Italian wine and sunshine then Donna Leon’s Guido Brunetti might be ideal, and if your love life’s a mess and you can’t do a thing with your hair then Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum is the ‘tec for you.

But one of my favourite crime writers is Golden Age novelist Dorothy L Sayers and her detectives Lord Peter Wimsey and his wife (after several years’ courtship) Harriet Vane. Peter is far more than the usual toff-turned-detective and has a fascinating backstory and Harriet, who Peter first encounters (as do we) in Strong Poison when she is on trial for the murder of her lover, is a novelist and early feminist – the intellectual equal of Peter. Checking a date on this web page reminded me that I have never actually read most of the short stories, so I’ll have to rectify that in the next few months.

Also, apologies for having to use a stock image from the publisher’s website. These books are only available in horrid B-format paperbacks and my own copies are beyond shabby. What I really need to do is track down a copy of this Folio Society box set

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