The other day I was reading over my mystery novella and while I encountered for the fourth time the central detective–the guy is a class act smart ass–I wondered why his snappish personality stuck out more than the rest of the characters. By fictional nature detectives are ofttimes those arrogant people who no one wants to engage in conversation in fear of coming across as unexperienced and, well, dumb; but maybe I am only thinking of Sherlock Holmes. What a prideful–oh, never mind, he stole the words already.
But why are they such charismatic strangers?
Phillip Marlowe comes first to mind. The slumming star of The Big Sleep is a one of a kind wordsmith; he knows so many ways to twist a simile that your mind gets as rattled as a pissed off rattlesnake. Second to his creative skills are his tricks with those dangerous ladies of Hollywood–in The Big Sleep alone he flirts with three dames, all of whom entangle him in near death situations (good thinking, Marlowe), but do eventually bestow upon his sarcastic lips a smooch.
For Marlowe it is easier to tell: he is after all the dirtiest detective in Hollywood; and everyone knows what dirty laundry lurks behind those towering white letters–his unwashed underwear from three weeks ago.
Then you come to someone like Sherlock Holmes, who is the best wisecrack in the biz; if not for his spectacular observation skills he would be starting laughing fits along Baker Street all evening long…and perhaps a gun shot or two, because, c’mon, it’s Sherlock Holmes–who doesn’t want to silence his jabbering mouth?
Answer: John Watson, his one true love.
Aside from Watson; however Holmes falls short of Marlowe in the affection department, but makes up for it using his unique charm: informing the women of his dreams of their imperfections and, sometimes, old flames which they have not yet blown out.
If any ladies wish to contact Mr. Sherlock Holmes for this special treatment, then kindly visit 221 Baker Street. The door will be open and he will be waiting.
It seems the endearing quality in these literary investigators is sarcasm. Who knew they could be so good at talking? It’s not as if they interview witnesses or anything…