This is meant to be a fun post, I hope. :) But with a somewhat serious intent---keep reading. During some other discussions, I.J. Parker and I both concurred that we really did not like Lady Helen Clyde, the wife of DI Thomas Lynley, who got bumped off by Elizabeth George in "With No One As Witness." A shocking demise, especially since Lady H was pregnant, but it served to remove a character who had come to seem....well, superfluous, as well as downright aggravating. Her husband and friends all adored Lady Helen, but to me she seemed for the most part a frivolous, vacuous, spoiled woman whose main interest in life was shopping.
Whether or not this vapidity was an act, it did grate on some readers' nerves. Deliberately? I had to wonder how long George had it in mind to take Lady Helen out. From the start, or later on when she no longer had an interest in developing the character.
Then I thought of another character who has also gotten my nerves no end: Spencer's girlfriend Susan Silverman in Robert Parker's series. A woman who showers before sex, in case she might seem human, and eats like a damn bird. You can be sure she never drops a piece on food on her immaculate clothing, or burps or....anything. How in the world did a guy like Spencer come to be besotted with a princess like Susan Silverman? Is this a joke?
Or does she serve some other purpose? (To give class to Spencer, the way Fred Astaire was meant to give class to Ginger Rogers?)
Someone else mentioned being annoyed by Holmes' Watson, although without him, as Jon Loomis has pointed out, how would we ever know Sherlock Holmes at all? So irritating or not, he's essential.
So. now I would like to invite all who are interested to name their "favorite annoying character" (or characters) in a murder mystery/detective novel. It can be the detective, of course, or a partner/sidekick, or a wife/girlfriend/boyfriend---someone who regularly appears in a series. Tell who, tell why. :) That's the fun part.
Because my other "serious" question is (and as writers you can perhaps shed some light on this one)---is the creation of really annoying characters intentional on a writers' part? I don't mean just the characters who annoy the detective---but characters who are liable to rub readers the wrong way, to raise hackles, even when they are liked by the detective?
Naturally someone is always getting the detective's' goat---that's par for the course, it seems, in every detectove novel, usually a superior officer, or some nosy journalist whom nobody can stand. I'm talking about characters that you as a reader would perhaps like to throttle--- a character you've got to put up with. :)