As a mystery writer, I love the analysis in this list! My favorites:
No. 2) Isn’t it great when the police are conveniently so stupid that the detective can look smart with very little effort? That dates at least to Arthur Conan Doyle (remember Lestrade?), but it’s a long way from the truth. Rachel is absolutely right that police work can be a difficult and thankless task.
No. 3) Follows from No. 2, as Rachel points out. The detective is the only one with the basic common sense to detect foul play.
What am I guilty of? Well, My Failed Novel had a depressed detective hero. Never again. I plead guilty to inserting some attractive female characters in my first two books, now online. I hope these women are just a little bit nuanced so that they’re not total clichés.
What would I add?
- The info dump at the end where the hero lines all the characters up and exhibits his or her brilliance by explaining the whole case, which he or she was the only one smart enough to unravel.
- That, and books where people just tell the detective what he or she needs to know rather than allowing the detective to work for his or her discoveries.
- And finally, detectives who don’t share things they’ve learned. Of course they’re smarter than everybody else if they’re keeping secrets!
What would you add?