My Favourite Detectives from the Bookish World
My Favourite Detectives from the Bookish World who made me fall in love with thrillers
It is said, that books are a man’s best friend and I feel that this statement is 100% correct. My love for books started when I was just a small girl. Every year, when my parents bought books for the new school session, I would be too excited. The moment we reached home, I started reading the stories in my Bengali and English textbooks. By the time school started, I would have finished reading all the stories at least twice.
As I grew older and got introduced to comics and other stories written for kids, my passion for reading fantasy and comedy tales also increased.
Although I did not realize it then, I was especially fond of reading stories that had an element of thrill and suspense in them. However, it was only in the fifth grade that my father, introduced me to the world of novels. He simply handed me a thriller novel Pandav Goyenda by Sasthipada Chattopadhyay. He said I should stop reading comics and start reading something more interesting.
It was the first detective novel I had ever read. Reading the book gave rise to an unquenchable thirst for thrillers in my heart. Even during my college days, when my girlfriends were smitten with the romantic tales of Mills & Boons, I was in love with the thrill and excitement of detective novels. My love for this genre has only deepened over the years, and during this time, I have also developed a list of my favorite detectives from the bookish world. So here are my top-loved fictional detectives who have kept me entertained over the years.
Feluda by Satyajit Ray
Feluda is a fictional detective character created by none other than the great writer-director Satyajit Ray. Undoubtedly, Feluda is one of the finest creations of Satyajit Ray. Coming from a Bengali background, the detective uses the name Feluda as an alias. His real name is Pradosh Chandra Mitra, and he is assisted in his investigations by his two sidekicks Jatayu and Topshe. Ray introduced Feluda as a next-door guy, and that gave a realistic feel to the character. In 1965, Feluda’s first story (Feludar Goendagiri) was published in one of the leading Bengali children’s magazines Sandesh.
In no time, Feluda won the hearts of readers in the age bracket of 8 to 80 years. Ray illustrated Feluda as a young man roughly 27 years old (1938 born) and 6’ in height. He is brilliant in analytical and observation skills. In addition to this, he is excellent in martial arts.
Feluda, is strongly inspired by Sherlock Holmes. The character shares various similarities with the fictional legend. What appeals to me most about Feluda is that he is extremely choosy about which cases he accepts. He prefers the ones that are intriguing and require strong intellect rather than physical strength. Many of the Feluda stories, were made as Bengali movies by Satyajit Ray himself. ‘Sonar Kella’ is one of the initial releases of the Feluda series as a film.
Hercule Poirot by Agatha Christie
This fictional Belgian detective stole my heart. He was the creation of the famous British writer Agatha Christie. Poirot was featured in 33 novels and 51 short stories penned by the author. He was also featured in 2 plays written by Agatha Christie. Poirot’s popularity is second only to Sherlock Holmes, and his remarkable intelligence is what made him so successful in his field. His background as a police detective helped him significantly in solving cases.
Poirot is one of the longest-running fictional detectives and has a more laid-back and introverted persona. I love his signature curly moustache, as it adds a unique style to his personality. His complete faith in his instinct and brilliance in noticing even the minute details have contributed significantly to his success. His first appearance happened with the book The Mysterious Affair at Styles in 1920.
The Hardy Boys – Edward Stratemeyer
I first started reading the Hardy Boys series when I was in my early teenage years. The characters and book series were created by Edward Stratemeyer. He was the founder of Stratemeyer Syndicate. The fact that brothers Frank and Joe Hard were teenagers, and that played an important role in attracting me to the series. What do I most like about them? It was that despite being amateur detectives, they did not miss even the smallest detail while solving a case. It helped them to stump even highly experienced professionals in the field.
Most importantly, the brothers never seemed to get afraid of the risk involved in dealing with nasty villains and hardened criminals. The Hardy Boys are also part of the video game world. Isn’t that interesting to see their journey from book to silver screen and then also in the video games world.
Nancy Drew -Edward Stratemeyer
I started reading Nancy Drew while I was still enjoying the action and adventure of the Hardy Boys series. The series was the brainchild of Edward Stratemeyer, so I was sure that I would find it appealing. Stratemeyer had created the character of Nancy Drew as a female counterpart of Hardy Boys. Even though the format of the books in the Nancy Drew series was somewhat similar to that of the Hardy Boys series, her method of solving cases was quite different.
Stratmeyer presented her as an attractive and amazingly talented young woman. Nancy loved to solve mysteries when she was still a teenager. I was impressed and inspired by her cool attitude and sweet yet strong personality. As any parent, do you wish to introduce thriller mystery books to your kids? If yes, you can surely start with Nancy Drew. Young kids will love reading such thriller stories.
Sherlock Holmes– Arthur Conan Doyle
I think there is hardly any lover of the thriller genre who does not adore Sherlock Holmes. Many even believe that the renowned British author, Arthur Conan Doyle based the character on an actual person. I simply love the unique manner in which he investigates each case, which many feel borders on eccentric. However, his excellent skills of observation and deduction, combined with his knowledge of forensic science and logical reasoning make him one of the most successful detectives in the literary world.
He is assisted in his detective work by his friend and housemate, Dr. Watson. His popularity can be gauged by the fact that dozens of TV shows and several movies have been made, featuring his cases. A Study In Scarlet was the first book published of Sherlock Holmes in 1887. I started my Sherlock Holmes journey with Bengali translated books and then later moved to English versions.
Byomkesh Bakshi -Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay
It would not be wrong to say that writer Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay based his detective character of Byomkesh Bakshi on Sherlock Homes. He has the same observation and deduction skills and holds significant knowledge of forensic science. However, this did not in any way, diminish my pleasure in reading about his unique style of investigation and skills in solving even the most complex cases. Like most other detectives, Byomkesh is assisted in his quests by his sidekick Ajit Kumar. He refers to himself as “Satyanweshi”, which means “seeker of truth”. Later his wife Satyabati also played a significant role by assisting Byomkesh with her intellect.
The popularity of Byomkesh as a detective extends beyond the literal world. That is why multiple series and movies featuring the character in the lead role have been produced and directed to date. Just like Feluda, several movies are adapted based on the stories of Byomkesh Bakshi. Its true majority are Bengali films, and only 1 so far made in Hindi which cast late actor Sushant Rajpoot as Byomkesh Bakshi.
Miss Marple -Agatha Christie
Miss Marple changed my perception of a good detective completely. This fictional detective, created by Agatha Christie, is an elderly lady who never married. She is an amateur detective, who solves some of the most difficult crimes using her shrewd intelligence.
Miss Marple is a brilliant listener and can connect any casual comments made by people around her with the cases she is working on. She was featured in 20 short stories and 12 novels penned by Agatha Christie. Her image of an old spinster hides her character as a smart sleuth remarkably well.
All detectives featured above have taught me something new about human behaviour. Even though all of them are fictional, they constantly inspire me to think outside the box and look beyond what is apparent. Thrillers are something which make my brain do the maximum exercise to identify the culprit well before the climax.
“This post is part of the Bookish League blog hop hosted by Bohemian Bibliophile“