Viewing posts tagged detective stories
5 years, 10 months ago
I have become convinced that the fundamental appeal of the detective story lies in fantasies of autonomy.
Think about it. What does every detective story have in common? The hero or heroine who can move as freely as they choose from place to place, doing what they wish according to their own judgements as they make those judgements, managing their own time, roving from person to person conducting interviews, or from scene to scene gathering evidence or perceptions, entirely under their own steam.
Sherlock Holmes hangs around in his rooms until he decides to take a case, whereupon he follows the scent wherever it leads. He makes money from his cases and doesn't do any other kind of work. Poirot similarly - when he isn't on holiday, that is. Like Miss Marple, Poirot is retired and financially self-sufficient. Other classic detectives combine one or more of these traits. Spade and Marlowe run their own detective agencies. Some detectives are aristocratic and wealthy, some live off their earnings, but they are all, essentially, either unemployed or self-employed. Even the police detective characters - Morse, for instance - manages his own time. He ...