Sweet mother of Lucifer, every time I turn around there's another googly-eyed detective with an eccentric habit solving an increasingly ludicrous crime before the hour is up. Is it a law that every network must have a crime drama with a detective who sees ghosts/uses obscure mentalism/possesses some manner of irritating OCD/exhales a lot in dimly lit areas for at least 15% of the show?

Crime shows on TV are as ubiquitous as Billy Mays after midnight. As with every trend, there has to be backlash at some point. Could that tide break on the heads of novelists, too? Will crime fiction in the book world also go the way of the late King of Shouting Until You Buy Something?

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I loved Fargo -- did anyone else enjoy that?

Absolutely---one of the best movies ever! Stellar cast--and the lady detective one of the most appealing movie heroines to come along in ages. And also, a prime example of how "humor" CAN work in a story that's deadly serious.
Plenty of re-runs for us old geezers to watch, though. My favorite was The Cisco Kid.
And they do keep making big western movies. I say the genre still lives!
Seems to me the quirky detective has been around since Auguste Dupin solved the murders in the Rue Morgue back in 1841--I don't think M. Dupin's influence is likely to wane anytime soon. As for the quirky TV detective--was Columbo the first? If so, his influence goes back to 1971. There were others then, too--Ironsides (grouchy), McCloud (hicky), MacMillan and Wife (beardy) and so on, so the current spate is nothing new. More channels, more quirky detectives, I guess.
True, the detective with a quirk has been around a long time, but recently the quirks have become more outlandish, to the point where the stories themselves have to suspend all credulity to accommodate the style of the detective.

Now that I think about it, this might be why I find crime fiction more attractive than traditional mysteries as I get older. They have real people in them, people who will kill, to paraphrase Chandler, for reasons, not just to provide a corpse.

BTW, Jon, your detective has his quirks, too, but they're the quirks of real people and they're organic to the story, not something to be written around.
Thanks, Dana--I didn't take it personally. I know the tradition I'm writing from, I think. Also, Frank's quirks have nifty Freudian roots--they're all about alienation from the past, from his father, from his job. I was thinking about Dupin right now, and I think his diagnosis these days would probably be Asperger's syndrome--which made me think one could write a pretty interesting Asperger's detective, maybe. Very, very high IQ but socially completely inept. Hmm...
Socially inept: I'm very fond of Reginald Hill's Dalziel. Great character. Pascoe is comparatively flat, and Pascoe's wife is an irritant. There's something to be said for quirks.
Unfortunately, I find most of the television detective shows unwatchable, except for the occasional CSI. Now, the Mystery series on PBS has done some very nice work, in my opinion. While I enjoy the occasiona quirky detective, it has to be occasional.

For books, the quivalent annoyance is becoming PI with the bad ass sidekick. I sometimes think we have enough Spencer/Hawk, Elvis/Pike, Myron/Winn, etc/etc, combinations.
Remember the old Poirot series on PBS? That was killer good. I haven't seen one since the 90s. I think they also did Miss Marple at some point. I remember watching "Mystery" as a kid, which is probably why I ended up writing crime fiction. I'm grateful for the experience.
Saw some episodes recently on PBS. Probably reruns. The Miss Marple ones featured an actress I hadn't seen before but liked very much -- a kinder version. I prefer the newer shows because I'm burned out on Christie, but these were technically very good. British shows generally are much better than American ones.
I think, like most places, Britian just exports their best shows and the rest don't make the cut so we don't see them.

If we just pulled the best 3-4 American shows a year they'd look pretty good, too. Even the best couple of shows from Canada look pretty good on their own ;).
Can't wait for yours. In fact, I don't recall seeing any Canadian shows. But then I'm not really a very good TV watcher. And you're right about not all British shows being good. I've seen some lousy ones. Still, PBS Mystery has been excellent, and so is Masterpiece.
Yes, I.J., thanks for mentioning Masterpiece Theatre! We love that one. Oh, ouch, methinks age is telling on me. What a great show that is!


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