We know that Holmes would have been nowhere without Dr John Hamish Watson. Similarly, can you imagine of Hercule Poirot without Captain Arthur Hastings or Byomkesh Bakshi without Ajit? Their supportive roles have made these detectives complete. These assistant-cum-companions act as the surrogate audience for us, the readers. But, they all are part of male bastion. What harm it would have been had our Pradosh Chandra Mitra aka Feluda met a nice charming lady, not as a soulmate, but as an able assistant and narrator of the stories? Female mystery busters in fiction were few and far between then and the tradition continues. What is stopping the thriller writers? Concern for womanly primness? But, that wasn’t always a female monopoly. Holmes was chaotic in his ways but like Poirot, the Baker Street resident was moderately fashionable, if we consider his attire. Is it then that the world of detectives is not ready to accept women as equals? A lady boss called M here, a Jessica Fletcher and few gun-totting lady cops there doesn’t really make much difference. A hot lady like Beyonce Knowles as the detective, larger than her ‘If I were a Boy’ dreams, will be a super hit. When will the writers realise that? Why should only James Bond have all the fun?
With fashion comes the physique. The writers have been successful in making us believe that detection and the hot pursuit cannot be done by someone like, say, short-plump Danny de Vito. Through the ages, protagonists of the thrillers and mystery stories have been ‘tough men with sleek ways.’ Whether it is Ethan Hunt of the Mission Impossible series or Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan — writers have depended on the agile and well-shaped heroes to maintain the pace and inspire awe among the readers. There have been few exceptions though, like Agatha Christies’ portly Poirot or Sherlock Holmes’s rather lazy and armchair-loving elder brother Mycroft, or in recent times writer Jeffery Deaver’s preference to mind’s power in his story The Bone Collector where a quadripeligic and bed-ridden ex-cop Lincoln Rhyme solves the mystery of a serial murder in New York.
Ref – news from Sakaal Times