Fiction

Literary Boyfriends Round 4: Battle of the Delightful Detectives

DetectivesSherlock Holmes (2) v. Spenser (7)

The playoffs continue as the second round starts to take shape. Up for their first bout? Detectives. As much as I like mysteries, I have to admit the pickings are slim among the gumshoes, PIs and off-duty detectives. They all seem to have more issues than members of a 12-step meeting. And they aren’t necessarily nice guys. If I were to pick up any detective at the bar of my choice, I’d probably go for Kinsey Millhone, Sue Grafton’s doctor heroine (and original CSI gal). But this isn’t the literary girlfriend bracket, now is it?

Regardless of detective novels, there are few literary creations more compelling than Sherlock Holmes. He’s been reinvented countless times, each generation discovering a new Holmes with whom to fall in love. He’s arrogant but brilliant, and certainly never boring. His on-again-off-again drug habits are offset by an ambiguous bromance with one Dr. John Watson (or, in the recent American television adaptation, Dr. Joan Watson). Aside from film and television, the character has been reimagined by various authors over the past 125 years.

Then there is Spenser, the Boston brute with a sensitive heart and an amazing capacity for friendship and romance. He’s honest, loyal and true. He proudly announces his name is spelled the same way as the Elizabethan author of The Faerie Queene. This is a fella who obviously is both in touch with his feminine side while completely confident in his masculinity. Spenser has his flaws, but mostly they are relegated to areas outside his interpersonal relationships. Oh, and did I mention he loves to cook?

Ultimately, as much fun as Sherlock would be to pal around with (and as dashing as his latest incarnations of Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey, Jr., and Jonny Lee Miller are), it’s hard to imagine having anything other than a good time (or a dangerous time) with Sherlock. He’s like a day at the amusement park. It’s thrilling, but you wouldn’t want a lifetime of it.

Thus, in a stunning upset, Sherlock is distracted by a mundane detail that no one else noticed… and Spenser rocks his clock.

Spenser wins in a knock-out.

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