About Me

My photo
Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Crime Fiction Sleuths do not Watch T.V

I have been noticing how sleuths do not watch television in crime fiction. I have been noting for a couple of months what sleuths do in their spare time. It is remarkable how different sleuths are from the vast majority of people as they do not watch television.

In the early 1990’s in Black Echo the author, Michael Connelly, has Harry Bosch, living in Los Angeles, listen to music, especially jazz, and drink heavily. Twenty years later he drinks less now that Maddie is in his life.

The next sleuth was Staff Sergeant Karl Alberg of the RCMP in Sechelt, British Columbia living on the Sunshine Coast in 1984. He has a small house. In The Suspect by L.R. Wright he gets a library card to help fill his spare time.

Travis McGee, created by John D. MacDonald, lives on his houseboat, The Busted Flush, in Fort Lauderdale in the mid-1960’s. He enjoys listening to jazz musicians such as Dave Brubeck playing Cole Porter and playing chess with his friend Meyer.

Guido Guerrieri, an Italian lawyer, in the series written by Gianrico Carofiglio spends quiet evenings at home. He does use the T.V. Mainly he rents movies to watch as, in his words, “the local stations had taken to showing hard porn again”.

Paul Christopher in Secret Lovers from the spy series by Charles McCarry back in the 1960’s seems to spend all his free time in fine restaurants but never before the television.

In Stray Bullets by Robert Rotenberg the lawyers are either too busy working (defence counsel Nancy Parrish) or partying (Crown attorney Ralphie Armitage). The police led by detective Ari Greene, equally have no interest in television.

Russell Quant in Dos Equis by Anthony Bidulka will curl up in bed to watch videos, especially the original Charlie’s Angels, with his dogs but he did not watch a current T.V. series.

The Holy Thief by William Ryan takes place in the 1930’s before there was television. In his new shared apartment Detective Korolev does not appear to have access to a radio. I do wonder how many Russians of that era had any chance of listening to the radio for entertainment.
Joanne Kilbourn-Shreeve and her husband Zack Shreeve in Kaleidoscope by Gail Bowen certainly watch the news as Joanne has been involved with Nation News but they do not sit in the living room watching sitcoms or dramas.

Helene Tursten’s sleuth Detective Inspector Irene Huss in Detective Inspector Huss has an average family with her husband, Christer, and their teenage daughters, Jenny and Katarina. While they spend time together it is not in front of the T.V. in Goteborg.

I will be back with another post on the subject of sleuths and T.V. after another 10 books.


  1. An addendum: Karl Albert does, however, spend time with Cassandra, the librarian.

    And Harry Bosch, in the 5 or 10 minutes he gets as free time a few times a week seems to be trying to have a social life.

    Venetian police commissario Guido Brunetti does not watch TV, but he reads Roman classics, including some on military strategy.

    Erlendur, Icelandic police detective reads about blizzards and ruminates about his childhood trauma.

    V.I. Warshawski listens to opera and runs her dogs around Lake Michigan.

    Our favorite Sicilian curmudgeon reads mysteries, including some by Sciascia and even by Camilleri himself, after, of course, indulging in countless gourmet meals.

    Inspector Espinosa of Garcia-Roza's series reads.

  2. Bill - Now that is a really interesting observation! Donna Leon's Guido Brunetti watches the news, and so does Andrea Camilleri's Salvo Montalbano. But they don't spend time watching other things on TV. Brunetti is more of a reader and Montalbano reads too, swims and sometimes takes walks. As I think of it, Ǻsa Larsson's Rebecca Martinsson isn't a big TV watcher either. And although her Anna-Maria Mella sometimes watches something on TV, it's not a big part of her life. I think you're on to something here.

  3. Very good point, Bill, I am glad there are some people out there like me even if they are ill-adjusted detectives in the main! I hate TV and never watch it live, though I do occasionally watch recordings of a film or drama series.

    I've always thought that in novels people don't watch TV because it is boring to the reader, but I suppose I do read a lot of books in which the protagonist likes some kind of music I've never heard of, and that isn't boring to read about (necessarily).

  4. kathy d.: Thanks for the comment. I was partly sent on my study when I kept seeing sleuths who read but could not recall sleuths who watched T.V. I appreciate your examples of reading sleuths.

  5. Margot: Thanks for the comment. With your amazing recall of crime fiction I knew you would come up with sleuths who at least looked at television. Rebecca will be mentioned in the next group of 10.

  6. Maxine: Thanks for the comment. With all the books you read I did not think you had time for T.V. I watch sports on T.V., the occasional current series and the Food Channel. My wife thinks I should have more creative ideas for cooking than I do from the shows on the Food Channel.

  7. Maybe if they watched more crime shows on television they would be able to crack the cases sooner. Someone had to have committed the same crime on one of the CSI episodes somewhere. I love this observation. My characters don't watch a lot of TV either but it's because they're fed up after watching hours and hours of CCTV footage.

  8. Clarissa: Thanks for the comment. I expect they are numbed from watchin CCTV. On sleuths being able to solve cases from watching T.V. crime shows I think you have a book concept for an enterprising writer!