In my last post, a link is below, I discussed some stats from the last 25 mysteries I have read. I mentioned that one of the stats involved the question of whether sleuths watch T.V. I decided to put the
question to Saskatchewan mystery fiction writer, Tony Bidulka, in the form of a letter and seek his comments. I sent the letter, which is below, to Tony recently. He advised me that he is busy right now. If he is able to respond in the future I shall put his reply in a post.
Over the years I have felt few crime fiction sleuths were T.V. watchers. I decided to check out my hypothesis.
Of the last 25 mystery books I have read there were 5 that were set before television was invented or at least not commercially available.
Of the 20 in the T.V. era which is already fading, unless you include watching the computer, there were 13 sleuths, 65%, who never watched T.V. I actually expected the percentage to be higher.
A striking stat was that of the 7 sleuths who watched T.V. 6 were Canadian. The one non-Canadian sleuth to watch T.V. was an American indigenous sleuth.
My list contained 10 Canadian sleuths meaning 60% of the Canadian sleuths watched T.V.
My original expectation was born out with American sleuths. Of the 10 sleuths who were American only one watched television.
The 7 sleuthing T.V. watchers:
1.) Two watched Netflix;
2.) One watched delayed programing in Newfoundland in 1975 on one channel;
3.) One sleuth and her husband enjoy Scandinavian crime series;
4.) Two watched some T.V. but the programs were not noted; and,
5.) One watched some network news and old movies.
I do not recall Jake Hardy, your sleuth in Going to Beautiful, watching T.V. though Jake and his husband, Eddie Kravets, were very successful as reality T.V. stars. Please correct me if I was wrong in putting him in the non-watcher category. I do not recall whether Russell Quant watched T.V.
Virtually everyone I know watches T.V. I watch a lot of sports. I do not watch much other T.V. programming as few shows interest me.
I would appreciate knowing if you and/or Herb personally watch T.V.
I have no profound insight into why fictional sleuths outside Canada rarely watch T.V.
I do think many American sleuths are so obsessed with their investigations that they have little to no free time.
Equally I think most authors do not consider whether their sleuths watch T.V. Sleuth free time is not a priority. I just realized I am not sure how many sleuths are readers. I will keep track of sleuth reading in my next 25 mysteries.
If you have any thoughts on fictional sleuths and T.V. watching, whether in the context of your books or more generally, please let me know.
I will be posting this letter and any reply from yourself in a couple of days.
All the best.
What an interesting question, Bill! And I'll be really interested in knowing what Tony Bidulka says about it if he answers your email. If my memory serves me right, several fictional sleuths watch TV, although I'm not sure it's a big part of their lives, In fact, I've read a few books lately that mention the sleuth or a significant other watching TV. I'll have to think about it more deeply, but I think it does happen, although I've yet to encounter a fictional sleuth who's obsessed with TV, or who watches a lot of it. Really interesting topic!ReplyDelete
Margot: Thanks for the comment. I am looking forward to seeing what T.V. watching occurs in the next 25 mysteries. Maybe there will be a T.V. obsessed sleuth.Delete
I believe that in the later Rex Stout books, Nero Wolfe would occasionally go downstairs to watch Fritz' television set for a few moments just to prove that the vast wasteland still existed. I can't recall the exact title.ReplyDelete
Chris: Thanks for the comment. I vaguely recall Nero watching some T.V. I am trying to remember if he ever had a T.V. in his office.Delete
Bill, I have always noticed when characters in crime fiction read books (and especially mystery novels) or listen to music, but I have not noticed many references to watching TV. That is an interesting topic and I will have to pay more attention to that in the future.ReplyDelete
TracyK: Thanks for the comment. It is always interesting to hear what sticks with a reader.Delete