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Characters in Crime

Gail Bowen's Top 8 sleuths and villains


We asked crime writer Gail Bowen to share with us some of her favourite sleuths and villains. Here are eight characters (and then some) from the world of crime fiction that keep her captivated.


Favourite sleuths

Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin

Here is the opening paragraph of The Gifted, the 14th Joanne Kilbourn novel. I believe it reveals my deep love for both Mr. Wolfe and Archie.  

As my husband Zack slipped into the roomy yellow silk pajamas that would transform him from a Saskatchewan trial lawyer into Rex Stout’s brilliant, food-loving, orchid-growing, detective hero, Nero Wolfe, he was one happy guy. After he finished dressing, Zack watched approvingly as I zipped the fly of the slick vintage suit that would change me from a retired academic into Wolfe’s tough, street-smart confidential assistant and legman, Archie Goodwin. 

“You make a very fetching Archie,” Zack said.

I bent over and slid a fresh Phalaenopsis Aphrodite into Zack’s breast pocket.  “Nero Wolfe has always been on my top ten list of men I’d like to know carnally,” I said. “I am now speaking not as Archie Goodwin, but as the woman in your life.”  

“We’ll leave the party early,” Zack said. “I never say no to an intriguing possibility.”



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