I was talking to my husband the other day, and I asked him how he was doing with his “project” to read (or re-read) all of Agatha Christie’s books from the beginning. Over the years he has read or listened to many of Christie’s books, but he never completed any of her series. So, now that he has more time on his hands (early retirement), he decided to begin again and to read them all the way to the end in the series’ chronological order (not as a marathon – but with taking breaks here and there to read other books.)
He told me he had finished the first Miss Marple, the first two Poirot, the first Tommy and Tuppence and the first Inspector Battle books. He is now taking a break from Christie but will resume his little “project” in a week or so. In our discussion, he mentioned that one of the things that makes Christie great is her creation of two of the greatest sleuth characters in mystery fiction – Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. And, that both of these classic characters are quite different even though they both rely on insight into human nature as the primary means to solve mysteries.
Of course, Christie’s other main sleuths, Tommy and Tuppence and Inspector Battle are also classic characters in mystery fiction, but, in my opinion they don’t measure up to Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot as truly great creations. I haven’t read the Battle books in a long time, but the Tommy and Tuppence stories are in a way more like adventure stories than they are straight mysteries (at least that is the way I remember them.) The first Battle book actually has very little of Inspector Battle and is more along the lines of the Tommy and Tuppence stories. Marple and Poirot are more “classic” Agatha Christie, in my view. At the least, their popularity is reflected by their having been portrayed in movies and TV far more often than Christie’s other characters.
Anyway, this conversation got me thinking about making a list of other authors who have created two or more memorable sleuths who are wildly different the way Miss Marple and Poirot are and that will (possibly) stand the test of time and be thought of as classic mystery sleuths in the future.
So, I wanted to pose the question – which Cozy Mystery authors do you think have created two or more classic sleuths (in two or more of the author’s different series) who are so good that you feel compelled to read both (or more) of the author’s series from beginning to end? I’ll take the easy way out and start the list with Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. (I told you I was taking the easy way out!)
I started compiling a list of the Cozy Mystery authors who write two or more series with sleuths who are very different from each other, but there have been so many comments that I have decided to stop listing them and let the comments speak for themselves. I encourage you to read all of the comments below.