Detective Style

Between my mother's love of puzzles and classic detectives (think Agatha Christie), and my father's aborted FBI dreams and his love of gritty crime dramas (think Chinatown), I was destined to love detective shows. I started watching them when I was very young. As a result, I find them very comforting and I'm particular about my sleuths. So in honor of my detective love and the premiere of Elementary -- Sherlock Holmes' 10,000th incarnation -- on September 26, let's dress up detective style.

Speaking of Sherlock Holmes, Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch are both pretty great in the role, but Jeremy Brett, star of the 80s and 90s series from Granada Television -- will always be the best Sherlock. He's pure Victorian eccentric. No updates or revisions. As such, paying tribute to the role with an ensemble should involve Victorian drama with a touch of the gothic.
Sherlock Homes

Agatha Christie's Poirot as portrayed by David Suchet is certainly my favorite detective. I started watching this show on Mystery! on PBS when I was six-years-old and it's still running! I have no doubt this 1930s period piece has contributed greatly both to my love of Art Deco and to my love of detective stories. There's a reason Christie is the best-selling author of all time. The plots are so clever that I've actually seen many of them rehashed on CSI, Castle, Bones, and several other current detective shows.

Hercule Poirot, a Belgian refugee living in London, is a very particular man. Part of the reason I love Suchet's version so much is that he doesn't play the mustache-waxing, spat-wearing, gourmet-loving dandy as a goof. He's a fully realized person with exacting tastes. I don't doubt that a modern, feminine version of the character would love a sexy heel and fitted sheath dress.
Hercule Poirot

Christie's Miss Marple is set in the 1950s, but as the titular character is a little old lady, her clothing has overtones of 20s and 30s. I'd never noticed before how librarian her look was. Don't forget the magnifying glass necklace, warm layers, and flowered hat.
Miss Marple

Monk is a cute little show about murder. While his phobias and tics can be hard to track -- and occasionally irritating -- he's a very fun detective. Sadly, I couldn't do much with feminizing his look as it can't be too tight or too colorful or too fun. Those things may kill you.

Columbo was another childhood favorite of mine. With a friendly demeanor, wrinkled trench coat, and constantly burning cigar, Peter Faulk did an excellent job of throwing the murderers off their game. While he was the everyman unlike the eccentrics Holmes, Poirot, or Monk, Columbo was certainly a sharp detective.

Who is your favorite detective? Will you be watching Elementary when it premiers? Pop quiz: Which author invented the detective story? I'll post the answer on our Facebook Saturday.


Anonymous said…
I have a soft spot in my heart for Peter Falk's character, and as a kid I would also read Agatha Christie novels. In retrospect, some were a little grim for a 9-year-old, but I enjoyed them.

Overall, I like Miss Marple, but her "coy look," kind of bugs me.

becca said…
I love this!

I too was raised on a variety of detective and murder shows.

My favorite TV detectives are Columbo (love the look you made) and the technically-not-a-detective Jessica Fletcher. I love her because I always loved the idea that being a writer could land me detective work. I'll add Castle to this list.

My favorite look has to be the one for Poirot. Love!

And I'm excited for more Sherlock--never too many Sherlocks.
Jael Paris said…
I'd completely forgotten about Jessica Fletcher. I used to watch that show too. When I was four, I asked my mom to read me a Perry Mason as my bedtime story. Not a detective, but still, I was pretty hard core for crime.
Unknown said…
this is hilarious and awesome.

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