KD: I don't actually have a favorite sleuth. My favorite sleuth is the protagonist of the book I read last (assuming I liked the book.) On the other hand, I admire Dick Francis's heroes for suffering but being heroic. I love Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache because he loves his wife, he is so kind, he is insightful about people. And he eats that inspiring French Canadian food! I love Kinsey Milhone, of course, for her awareness.
I think I need a certain quality of awareness and bravery to get into a story. I just noticed that both male and female sleuths made it on to my list. Not surprising, but maybe it is for people who think Mysteries are for Women and Thrillers are for Men.
Marilyn, who are your favorite protagonists, and why do you like them?
Marilyn: Like you, KD, my favorite sleuth is the sleuth in the book I'm currently reading.
I do have some long-time favorites, though: Katherine Hall Page's Faith Fairchild; Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody, whose progeny seems to grow with each novel; and Alexander McCall Smith's Precious Ramotswe. These three sleuths are clever, resourceful, and likable characters. And I must include Lisbeth Salander, who features in Stieg Larsson's trilogy THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, and THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST. Lisbeth is brilliant, an ace hacker who doesn't like most people, and a super hero who solves problems her own way. I can't wait to read the third book in the series. I intend to see the movie of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO as soon as it comes out.
KD. I should read the Dragon Tattoo books, because I have smart but crabby protagonist in my work-in-progress! And I forgot about Precious Ramotswe. She is a wonderful sleuth, both traditional and modern. And her assistant, the one who had the high score in the secretarial school is great, so very hopeful and alive! I love the book titles, also. Who can resist MORALITY FOR BEAUTIFUL GIRLS as a title?
Do any of the protagonists remind you of your own work?
Marilyn: My protagonist tries to follow in the footsteps of Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie's most famous sleuths. Alas, Lexie's not as adept as they are and manages to upset many of the people in the upscale community where she's living. But, of course, she unearths the murderer in the end.
I think it's more interesting when the sleuth has some quirk or distinguishing characteristic like your crabby protagonist. And Nero Wolfe, who refuses to leave his home.
KD. Your slightly inept sleuth reminds me of Donald Westlake books that I have enjoyed, especially GOD SAVE THE MARK. It is so much fun to read a funny book, as the protagonist stumbles forward to solve the crime. I can hardly wait to read your book!
To wrap up, I guess there all kinds of protagonists we enjoy: heroic, inept, crabby, well-fed. The reason we can go from one type to another, enjoying them all- -well, it's a mystery!