He’s tall and drop-dead gorgeous, with sandy hair and dark brown eyes. He’s a meticulous dresser with an upper crust accent. He drives an indecently expensive car, and yet he tries to pretend that he’s not the 13th Earl of something-or-other and seldom visits the family pile of rocks in Cornwall. He carries heavy baggage from a long-ago drunken driving incident that disabled his best friend, and he has issues with his mother.
He is Elizabeth George’s fictional Inspector Thomas Lynley.
We love him because he is the Wounded Hero. He has intimacy problems and a sharp tongue, and he can act a bit effete. But it’s OK because he is brilliant, and underneath that often crusty exterior beats a heart of gold. How can any female mystery lover not fall immediately in love?
Well, it took me a while. And, alas, I still have a the occasional aversion to his perfectly English ways. In truth, it took the introduction of Sgt. Barbara Havers to bring Thomas Lynley to his knees professionally. In doing so, she made me her lifelong admirer.
Also a Wounded Hero, Havers is working class and resentful–and everything Lynley is not. She’s lumpy and frumpy and gorges on junk food. She is the Glamour-Don’t nightmare from Hell. She lives with her parents for a good part of the series, and has been trying to attract a man since before the Flood. I personally think she should explore a same-sex relationship, but what do I know?
This unlikely combination of characters have won a special place in my heart, but it’s Haver’s who gets the nod for favorite detective. Her modus operandi is that of an abused dog. She is watchful and intuitive because she always has had to be. She lives in fear of criticism and of not being taken seriously. She is quick to anger and slow to forgive. And she is a risk-taker. She refuses to be a team player, and willingly risks her job to follow her hunches because at some level she needs to be right. It’s part of her DNA.