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.  :)
 

Views: 373

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I first came across Lynley through the TV shows, and even then I thought he could have done a lot better than Helen, who really grated.

The mystery project I'm working on right now does feature a supporting character who is deliberately annoying, but I'm trying to make him comically annoying to relieve the grimness around them. When he gets painfully annoying, I'm going to edit. Realism good, but too much can be toxic.
I first came across Lynley through the TV shows,

The casting in those TV movies was a joke. I thought everyone was miscast, especially Havers, my favorite George character---the actress they chose was way too cute and pixie-ish. If there's anything Havers is NOT, it's a pixie. I've read all of George's books, but only watched a few of the TV movies. They seem to be utterly lacking in suspense. Apparently they got a new Helen for the later ones---I didn't care for her either. The earlier Helen seemed rather serious. They present her as a profiler, which she was not, in the novels; the only helped out Simon St. James with his forensic investigations. I guess the makers of the TV series felt they had to give Helen something to do!
Havers is wonderful in the books. All segments with Havers in them are excellent. The best one was the one where plain Havers clearly has a crush on Linley, and he comes down on her like a ton of bricks. A wonderful character clash, and the reader knows very well what is happening to Havers, while Linley remains completely oblivious. Of course, that isn't the kind of thing that translates to the sceen. When George is good, she's very good.
All segments with Havers in them are excellent.

I agree. Somehow, George has got that particular character down so well that every gesture seems believable. It's much easier for me to "see" Havers than it is to "see" Lynley. I mean, i can see him....I just don't entirely believe what I see.

Can you remind me:--- I forget which book it was where Havers had the crush.... now, of course, she's attracted to her Pakistani neighbor, the father of Hadiya, the little girl Havers loves like a daughter.

I keep expecting that George is going to do a "makeover" on Havers. (The way Cornwell did on Pete Marino). In "This Body of Death," the latest one, the new acting superindentent, Isabelle, tries to do just that; she thinks Havers' mode of dress is a disgrace. Plus now Havers has two busted front teeth, from an earlier mishap. Does it work? Sorry, I can't give that away! All it would take would be a better diet, losing a few stone, quitting smoking, dental surgery, a hairdresser, possibly dermabrasion and makeup. But then she wouldn't be Havers! :)

The thing about Havers is that she doesn't actually believe in herself as a woman. She's a good cop, she knows that. But it's as though she's afraid to try being anything else. It's easier to be a loser (at womanhood and love) than to try NOT being one, and fail. Now, that's a very human trait! :)
I don't think we want to change Havers.
As for the book where she's best with Linley: My memory for titles is bad and George's titles don't really relate to content. I checked Amazon but could only get close enough to say it was the one that preceded PROPER SINNER.
George's titles don't really relate to content.

You've noticed that too! Actually, there seem to be very tenuous links, sometimes. And I like the titles. But you're right. They don't seem to relate.

And no, we don't want to change Havers! But will she ever find....true love? :) Maybe we better not go there. Her chances with Hadiya's father seem to have been blown, with the return of his wife in the last book....it seems clear he doesn't really love the woman but will stay with her so as not to lose Hadiya. And, he's Muslim, so no hanky panky.

Maybe sometime I will check back and see if I can find out which book we were talking about. Her early books might be worth re-visiting, as it has been years.
I'm not a huge fan of Stephanie Plum, the protagonist in Evanovitch's Plum series. Plum has one of the most inconsistent personalities I've ever come across. She's petty and short-sighted - she's a push-over when she's working with criminals and her family and needlessly aggressive and contrary in her personal life. I think Evanovitch surrounds her with attractive men (who all want to have sex with Plum) as a kind of wish fulfillment or wishful thinking. It seems completely unrealistic that strong, attractive men would want to be with a woman who seems genuinely stupid.
It seems completely unrealistic that strong, attractive men would want to be with a woman who seems genuinely stupid.

But then where did the dumb blonde myth come from?
And what if the strong attractive men are also dumb? Would they want to be with someone smarter than they are?
I haven't read the Stephanie Plum books. Somehow, I didn't think they would be my cuppa.
Now I'm sure of it. :)
I wonder if such characters aren't author wish fulfillment! Live vicariously through your heroine....or hero, as the case may be.
The first one was a laugh. Otherwise I agree that Stephanie Plum is a major annoyance. Evanovich is a romance author at heart. Yeah, ll those sexy men after plain old Plum are definitely wish fulfillment.
annoying, meddlesome

It's important, don't you think, for "amateur sleuths" to be meddlesome, and meddlesome people are usually annoying. At least to those in whose affairs they are meddling! :) So there's one good rationale for creating an "annoying" heroine. Or hero. Are women more inclined to be meddlesome than men, or is it just that when men meddle we call it something else? Investigation? :)
I really disliked Scarpetta's niece Lucy (Patricia Cornwell), whenever she was in a chapter I felt irritated, I just wanted to read through it quickly and get back to the story, when she featured I usually didn't finish the book. I don't feel she contributed to the overall Scarpetta background.

Having said that, as a newbie writer I have a character in my story who is well - YUK, and irritating/annoying as hell, but then so is he/she in real life. Perhaps that's where all these annoying people come from -
Good one! But it's Scarpetta herself I don't like. I find her very self-congratulatory.

RSS

CrimeSpace Google Search

© 2019   Created by Daniel Hatadi.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service