Thursday, October 23, 2008

You Know Who (wink-wink, nudge-nudge)

Todays post is familiar detectives in mystery. Those dependable, tried and true investigators.

1. LOLs: No, I don't mean Lolzcats. I mean Little Old Ladies. They are a snoopy breed with free time and disposable income. Between cups of tea and their knitting, they manage to ferret out evildoers from our midst. THE CLASSIC: Miss Jane Marple of course.

2. Nosy Kids: If there is anyone more curious than an LOL, it's a kid. Put a gang of them together and apparently they are more potent than a trained police force. Hey, school only lasts a few hours and if it's summer then they have nothing but free time. I'm including teens and that means THE CLASSIC: Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys tie FTW! (but I'm not ignoring the 3 Investigators or Trixie Belden!)

3. Falsely Accused: They don't want to be embroiled in a crime and would rather not try to investigate a murder, but they have no choice. The coppers think they did it and--not fancying a looooooooong sentence breaking rocks (or a date with Old Sparky the electric chair)--they must marshall their faculties and find the true bad guy. THE CLASSIC: That guy on the Fugitive. Richard Kimble maybe? I'm too lazy to google it. Or I don't care enough. Take your pick, but feel free to correct me in the comments.

4. The Professional: This is where you find the defective detective (police or private) or cop with a mistake in his past that he's trying to atone for. Maybe he convicted an innocent man and discovered it too late. Perhaps he was an alchoholic and now his wife and kids no longer speak to him. But he's always got personal reasons for his Holy Crusade for Truth and Justice. You can bet that the other cops will try to thwart him, but he's the Good Guy and will prevail. Not only is he battling the forces of evil, but his own personal demons as well. THE CLASSIC: Sherlock Holmes. He's a brilliant drug addict with serious personal issues.

5. The Investigative Reporter: Of course he is after the story, but mostly he just has a passion for revealing the hidden. Expect lots of freedom of the press speeches with this one and expect those in power to be engaged in a conspiracy to cover up the crime. But Clark Kent is not deterred by those who seek to hide under rocks. He believes in absolute truth, justice, and the American Way. Just don't ask his real identity. THE CLASSIC: Carl Kolchak of The Nightstalker.

So who am I missing? You tell me!


AC said...

Aw man. My heroine fits right in with The Investigative Reporter.

I'd say you've got all your bases covered. You could add the Average Jane whose best friend/child/spouse goes missing and the cops aren't doing enough to find him/her, so of course she has to pursue the kidnapped. Because as we all know, some random person can solve a crime waaay better than the FBI and the cops.

Mary B said...

Oh! The crusading citizen! How could I forget! Thanks, AC!

Don't fret that your heroine fits in the tropes. Mine is of the falsely accused variety.

:cues Billy Joel's Innocent Man"

Anonymous said...

Hi there Mary,

There's also the fun adventurous couples: Nick and Nora Charles, Tommy and Tuppence etc...

And for couples in "serious mysteries"-
Have you read Anne Perry's Pitt series? It takes place in Victorian times. Thomas Pitt is a police officer who gets involved with the high-middle class Charlotte when her sister is murdered.

Mary B said...

I love the Anne Perry series (both Monk and Pitt!) Yes, I think I should add the Crimesolving Couples! Good catch!

Rafael said...

Nice roundup. I am not much into Mystery writing, but I love character studies.