Why is it that every detective novel features the same stereotypical hero? Do they bear any resemblance to reality?
I’ve read a few recently, courtesy of an unofficial book club, ie my neighbour gets free books and passes them onto us.
The latest one I read was a Kathy Reichs tale, Death du Jour. Our gritty heroine, Temperance Brennan (what a name, no wonder she had problems with alcohol, perhaps that was the author’s sense of humour) is a forensic anthropologist, somewhat like the author. She gets called Tempe for short. I am waiting for the day when she becomes vegetarian and starts eating tempe(h) because that was what came to mind every time I read the name.
This isn’t just bog-standard crime and gory post-mortem exams, this woman looks at bones. I haven’t seen the TV series Bones, but no doubt everyone else has so you get the idea.
But onto the detective. Naturally there is a tall dark handsome detective in there, with stunning blue eyes. He is of course, somewhat cynical, incredibly intelligent, witty, has firm lean muscles, and comes out with brief one-liners.
Despite this tough macho exterior, he is of course deeply caring inside. Dedicated to his job, and trying to bed our heroine. She of course finds him annoying, irritating, and very attractive. Conveniently she has split up from her husband (that was in the first of the series, this is the second).
In fact, there isn’t that much interaction between them in the book, there was far more detail about flies and maggots and in what order they feed on corpses, which it seems is a good way to date time of death. Who would want to read pages about that apart from forensic anthropologists or entomologists?
It’s not the only tale I’ve read like this with gritty professional heroine and tall handsome detective who end up working together. It just happens to be the one I finished two days ago.
Whatever happened to Hercule Poirot though? A nice short fat arrogant man. Far more likely to be the average detective I would have thought.
In fact the only detective inspector I met worked for the London Metropolitan Police force, and I wrote about him on Everypic. If you haven’t read it, nip over to read about corruption in the Met. 😀
He definitely wasn’t tall dark and handsome. He was not tall, darkish, probably going receding hairlinish, not handsome, think he was verging towards solid (ie chubby) rather than lean and mean in the muscle department, although to be fair I didn’t see him with his clothes off. He was usually sitting on our step with partner having a beer on Friday evening when I arrived.
And that’s the limit of my personal knowledge of detectives.
Back to the stories (I think novel is a bit grandiose for crime tales). As so many of these crime novels are written by women, I’m wondering if this stereotypical detective is every woman’s fantasy man.
1) Invariably stunning deep blue eyes or piercing green ones. Soppy brown eyes don’t do it in the sexually attractive stakes.
3) Not fat. Lean, taut muscles.
4) Colour of hair isn’t that important, but brown or dark tends to add to that air of authority.
5) Single. They have to be, because they need to be available for our heroine.
6) Had a recent previous relationship, that their inner self is getting over.
7) Witty, funny, and just so intelligent. Very good at their job and catching the crims.
9) Assertive, both at work and with women.
10) But also charming when necessary.
11) Always good in bed and knows exactly what to do to turn women on.
12) Persistent. When our heroine rejects their advances, they don’t take no for an answer, continuing to
pester call, thereby showing their absolute and faithful desire for this particular woman.
13) Protective of said heroine.
14) Caring, loving, and thoughtul when they aren’t taking the piss or being cynical or flippant or provocative.
15) Well dressed. Although they are so gorgeous, their clothes are probably irrelevant.
Where are these men?