This idea struck me the other day. I can’t really say why, other than that someone – on Twitter, where else? – was talking about Martha Washington, and my mind made some sort of strange connection wherein I started thinking about what kind of sleuth Martha might make.
Using real people as fictitious detectives isn’t anything new, of course. From Amadeus Mozart to Elvis Presley and the entire Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., etc.) the artistic element is well represented in fiction, as is the political sphere, including both Theodore and Eleanor Roosevelt, at different times and in different series. My personal favorite might be Lizzie Borden, solving crimes thirty years after being acquitted of murder.
As far as writers go, they’re the most heavily represented, of course. There are mysteries out there featuring Mark Twain and Daphne de Maurier, Louisa May Alcott and Beatrix Potter, Edgar Allen Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle, not to mention Geoffrey Chaucer, Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë and Oscar Wilde, along with the entire Algonquin Round Table, headed by Dorothy Parker.
If you go HERE, you can see a long list of real people used as fictional sleuths. It isn’t complete, but it’s pretty darned good.
One name that isn’t on the list is Coco Chanel. I’ve decided that if I ever decide to write a series of mysteries with a real person in the lead – and don’t hold your breath –
be my protagonist. Can’t you just see it? High fashion murders in in the 1920s? Paris
So what about you, fellow Stiffs? If you had to write a book with a real person solving crimes, who would you choose to write about? Or if not that, who would you choose to read about? Does anyone in particular come to mind?
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On a not at all related note, if you haven't already seen the cover for DIY-6, Wall to Wall Dead, here it is. The spooky shadow is missing, but I've put out a call. I have hopes that one might be added. We'll see. At any rate, Wall to Wall Dead will be released September 4th, and will feature Avery Baker and Derek Ellis, who are both as fictitious as they come.