Why is it that so many of us love crime series? There may be many different answers, but I am sure the protagonist plays a very important role. Some are strong and active, others seem to be complete failures, but they always get their villain in the end. And some of them are nerds, one way or the other.
The definition of a nerd = an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit.
These days, Lisbeth Salander of Millenium fame is probably one of the best known crime fiction nerd. In my opinion, the passionate computer nerd and hacker is the main reason that this trilogy is so popular.
Another female protagonist is Alan Bradley´s very young Flavia de Luce. What sets Flavia apart from millions of young girls of her age is her scientific mind and her obsession with chemistry.
When I came up with the idea, I was certain I had come across several nerdy detectives, but with my unreliable memory... Would you call Inspector Morse a crossword nerd? Sherlock Holmes, perhaps?
Who is your favourite crime fiction nerd?
Today is also Two-Sentence Tuesday so let me introduce you to Niels, the young protagonist of "Crystal Night". He likes ciphers and licence plates, but perhaps that is not exactly nerdy, just normal behaviour for a ten-year-old boy.
Niels was waiting patiently, well hid among the foliage of an old elm tree near the local substation, a red-brick building that resembled a tiny church tower.
Morse with his love of classical music and words...definitely a nerd!
I love nerdy sleuths. :)
Elizabeth: so do I, and I know I had more examples in mind when the idea hit me - but that was probably in the middle of the night with the lights off so I couldn´t write them down.
Dorte - What a terrific idea for the letter "N!" Morse is a great example of a nerd, too. And Holmes is most definitely nerdy. And it's not just series, I think, that have delightfully nerdy sleuths. I've read several standalones where they feature. This is a really fun topic! Thanks :-).
I agree that character, setting and plot are the three key reasons I like crime fiction (though the plot one is frequently disappointing in the event, at least the "puzzle" aspect keeps one awake and reading).
Nerdy detectives? Joe Pickett (C J Box) is quite nerdy, driving his bosses et al mad. I agree that Lisbeth S and Inspector Morse are quite that way. It is quite a common characteristic of the fictional detective, I suspect because all the obvious plots have been used up long ago, so the crimes have to be fiendishly detailed, leading to only obsessed, nerdy types having the patience to solve them!
Margot: you are welcome - I am also pleased with the idea, I just wish I was as good at coming up with examples as you are.
Maxine: yet another reason to read Joe Pickett. I think there have been a couple of nerdy detectives in real life also - here in Thy they had one called ´the sheriff´ 20-30 years ago, and he is probably not the only country constable who had (or developed) quite a personality.
I love Lisbeth Salander! She made the books for me.
Should we include P.D. James' Commander Dalgliesh and his poetry writing?
Kelly: I think Dalgliesh might be considered nerdy - and certainly asocial.
I love nerdy detectives as well. The detective in my book is nerdy. I also like the detective from Monk.
Clarissa: ah, now you have made me curious :)
Thanks for this contribution to the CFA Dorte. I don't get the Niels bit though
Kerrie: Niels is the ten-year-old protagonist (or one of them) of my current work-in-progress.
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