Detectives - the dominant characters of the 20th Century Discuss

luka

Well-known member
ive talked a lttle bit before about how prizing certain kinds of 'honesty' incentivises more and more lurid 'confessions'
 

woops

is not like other people
well i can't defend them really cos that will just sound like i think having sex fantasies about serial killer victims is good, which i don't really
 

WebEschatology

Well-known member
ive talked a lttle bit before about how prizing certain kinds of 'honesty' incentivises more and more lurid 'confessions'
Eldridge Cleaver comes to mind, he's a footnote now but it's that exact kind of "honesty" why people don't want to go near him now
 

woops

is not like other people
having said that the scene of old cops sitting around having an old boys' dinner and cracking that kind of shit is straight out of one of ellroy's novels.
 

jenks

thread death
Started a Dorothy L Sayers, partly cos there’s an Essex connection and I read SquareHaunting last year and Backlisted have just done an episode on her.
That golden age of crime from the 30s is interesting because you have the classic crime puzzle but also the cult of the detective - Wimsey in this case allows for a critique of society under the guise of a page turner.
 

jenks

thread death
Sayers is a really interesting character - one of that early generation of women to take a degree from Cambridge, she moved in a very intellectual group including HD, Mirrlees and among others. Worked in advertising and then translated Dante for the general reader. While at the same she had an illegitimate child she managed to keep in absolute secrecy - a life lived entirely on her own terms.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Bizarre episode of Poirot on television the other day. Called Hickory Dickory Dock rather tenuously as the murders take place at some student digs at an address on Hickory Road. This seemed to give whoever directed this particular episode the great idea of constantly following a mouse that ran around in the background through the student accommodation - obviously in reference to the nursery rhyme which begins "Hickory dickory dock, the mouse ran up the clock" but nothing ever came of this gimmick which became more and more annoying each time it occurred.

The episode was also noteworthy (in fact, I'd say it was particularly noteworthy) for the subplot involving Poirot's homoerotic sparring with Inspector Japp. A kind of running joke in the series is the way that "Madame Japp" as Poirot dubs her is never seen on screen, but in this episode she is not only invisible but actually away as the Japps are supposed to be on leave, however he is recalled to deal with potential unrest arising from the Jarrow Marches. And with her away there is apparently nothing to interfere with the previously invisible sexual tension which we must assume has always existed between Poirot and the Chief Inspector (to give him his full title). So in the opening scenes we see Poirot drag Japp to his own posh butcher and overrule Japp's request for a bit of scrag end saying "Ah non Inspector, the scrag-end is a creature native only to Isleworth I fear" forcing him instead to buy a filet mignon at an astronomical price.

Then, throughout the episode we see Japp unable to fend for himself without his wife; his clothing increasingly rumpled and thinner by the day, plus we see pictures of his home covered in piles of dirty plates and so on. Poirot seemingly takes pity on him and invites him to stay chez Poirot - but sadly the "square meal" he is looking forward to turns out to be a pig trotter, he is unable to sleep due to Poirot keeping the central heating on full blast all night - and worst of all he is constantly embarrassing the urbane Poirot by repeatedly asking him and Miss Lemon to explain what "that contraption in the bathroom" (the bidet) is for.

In the final scene though Japp repays Poirot's hospitality - or gets his revenge - and invites Poirot round for some real grub. The first course is mushy peas, mash and faggots and it is to be followed with spotted dick. Poirot manages to dodge the former saying that he suffers from what the Belgians call "Phobia de Faggots" and then the episode, in which the two men struggle to demonstrate their superiority by forcing the other to take their thing inside them, culminates with Japp saying "Well you may have a phobia of faggots but I hope you don't have a phobia of dick".

It almost makes me want to check out the book and see if Christie wrote it that way... I say "almost" here but of course there is no need, she definitely did not write anything like that. In fact in the books neither Japp nor Hastings (Poirot's younger live-in lover) are such major characters as they became in the long-running BBC adaptation. And I find something quite interesting in the way that this series in many ways became the definitive version of Poirot - Suchet's version of the detective as the hitherto asexual, elegant ADHD sufferer is surely fixed in more minds (at least in the UK) than Christie's version and the BBC's decision to keep Poirot living in a luxurious art-deco/modern international paradise completely trumps the 50 odd years of detecting through various style eras that Christie actually wrote for him. His sidekick and foil (Hastings and Japp) are greatly increased in significance and so on. Of course, Christie is not the first author nor is Poirot the first character where this has occurred, but still it's something of an ignominy for the biggest selling writer of all time to have allowed her most famous creation to wriggle out from under her pen where she thought she had him pinned him down, and take on a life of his own long after she herself had gone... or has she, she herself has now been recreated as a detective in her own right in some new series they're showing on Portuguese telly. A post-modern detective who goes around solving mysteries to aid her inspiration as a budding mystery writer or something. I dunno, it's six thirty in the morning and I have lost count of the levels of reality in the matrix between Christie the mystery solving mystery writer and Christie the mysterious mystery writer whose most famous - and unsolved - mystery was when she herself mysteriously disappeared.
 
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