When Sleuths Meet Online ;-)

Online meetings and get-togethers have become an important part of the way we communicate. And that makes sense, even without considering the pandemic we’ve been living through this past year or so. Online meetings are efficient, less expensive than travel, and arguably better for the environment. Of course, they’re not without their drawbacks, especially for those who aren’t comfortable with the technology. It’s all got me thinking about how some of our top crime-fictional sleuths might do at online meetings. So, if you’ll set your disbelief up with some snacks and a binge-worthy TV show, let’s take a look at what happens…


When Sleuths Meet Online

A group of fictional sleuths are beginning a Zoom meeting.

Precious Ramotswe (Alexander McCall Smith) (Sitting at her desk, looking directly at the camera): Welcome, everyone, and thank you for meeting today. I think it is important that we work together to help us all do our jobs better. (She smiles and takes a sip of bush tea)

Hercule Poirot (Agatha Christie) (He is wearing a perfectly pressed suit with a fresh flower in his lapel): Me, I am always happy to meet with others and offer them my little ideas. (Miss Lemon’s hand appears briefly on screen as she adjusts the computer a bit). Ah, merci, Miss Lemon.

Walt Longmire (Craig Johnson) (Longmire’s chair is empty. Ruby’s voice can be heard in the background: ‘Your meeting’s already started!’ A second later, Longmire slides into his chair): Sorry, it’s been one of those mornings. I miss anything?

V.I. Warshawki (Sara Paretsky) (She is wearing a baseball cap and a T-shirt): Not really, Walt. We’re just getting started. (Longmire nods vaguely at the camera).

Precious Ramotswe: Yes, we have just begun. I suggested this meeting because this pandemic has changed so much, including how we do our jobs. I thought it might help us all to discuss ideas for adapting to it.

Nero Wolfe (Rex Stout) (He is sitting grumpily at his desk. There is a beer next to him.): New ideas! Flummery! There is no need to go through all sorts of machinations. Simply insist, as I do, that any clients come to you. That way, travel becomes unnecessary. It’s a perfectly efficient way to get our jobs done.

John Rebus (Ian Rankin) (All that can be seen are his eyes, eyebrows, and the top of his head). I don’t do a lot of travel myself, but – what, Shiv? Oh…. (He pauses a moment and moves his screen. Now all that can be seen are his chin, shoulders, and the top of his chest).

Armand Gamache (Louise Penny) (He and his wife, Reine Marie, are sitting together. He is dressed casually in a sweater): Well, even if you don’t travel a lot, it is a good idea to take precautions. Masks, for instance. After all, we do have to talk to people sometimes, and go places.

Rebus: (Shiv is standing next to him. She’s just finishing adjusting his screen, so that they can both be seen now). Fair enough, but masks and such just get in the way. How are we supposed to get anything done if we’re forever pulling masks and gloves on?

Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle) (He is sitting on his sofa, smoking his pipe). Nevertheless, Dr. Watson tells me that this pandemic is much less likely to affect those who take precautions. A little study that I conducted bears out his proposition. In fact… (Mrs. Hudson comes in and silently hands Holmes a note. He nods to her, glances at the note, and looks up). You’ll forgive me, but this is urgent. It is vital information on a case I have been pursuing. He gets up abruptly, claps a hat on his head and leaves the room.)

Mma Ramotswe (Takes another sip of tea): Perhaps we do not agree on things like masks and gloves. But I am sure there are some things we can agree on. For example, meeting with clients online. I prefer to meet people in person, but that is not always possible, especially now. (Various people nod, all except Rebus, who looks annoyed).

Poirot:  Me, I prefer also to speak with clients in person. One must admit, though, that meeting in this way means that one does not have to travel in the boat or the aeroplane. At least one is spared that suffering. (Nero Wolfe nods in agreement).

Longmire: I do a lot of my work outdoors. I think that makes a difference. (Both Poirot and Wolfe look askance at the thought). It helps if you’re not cooped up inside.

Mma Ramotswe: That is a very good idea. Fresh air is better for all of us. (Warshawski nods in agreement).

V.I. Warshawski: It’s safer too – more exits if there’s trouble.

Inspector Morse (Colin Dexter) (He’s been sitting silently, working on a crossword puzzle. Now he glances at his watch.) Sorry, I must be going. I have another meeting in just a few minutes. (He gets up from his chair and leaves without remembering to exit the meeting. His voice is just audible: ‘Lewis, The Coachman’s Rest opens at eleven, right?’)

End Meeting

What do you think? How do you think our top sleuths would handle a Zoom meeting? Got any ideas you’d like to add?


30 thoughts on “When Sleuths Meet Online ;-)

  1. Love it. Vera would be adjusting her hat whilst worrying if she’d upset Kenny again. Scott and Bailey would be drinking wine and whispering about another secret to be kept from their long-suffering boss. Luther would be restlessly looking at his watch waiting for a call from Alice, worried who she’d killed and why…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Jane! And thank you for your examples; they’re fantastic! I can just see Vera and her hat. And, yes, no doubt Scott and Bailey would a) be at the meeting together; and b) have a very juicy side conversation as they sip. And your comment makes me wonder whether Luther would be able to sit through the whole meeting. He’d probably be too anxious!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep Luther would get up and leave. I can imagine Jack Frost losing his patience too, perhaps having a rummage in his pockets for a piece of paper about something he’d forgotten to take to the launderette and shouting at George to sort the Zoom thingy out, he had better things to worry about. Hurray Henry would not be happy, police PR and all that.


      2. Thanks for the comment, Jane. My former site is, indeed, deleted. My current site, margot-kin-berg.com is alive and well!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. If I go into my emails and pick you up from there I find you, no problem. If I try to find you from my WP blog, the message says site deleted. I wondered how you could leave me comments here if that is the case. curious.


      4. Hmmmm… It might be that you could change my site address on your WP blog? I’m not sure, but it could work…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha, great fun! Pascoe of course would be demanding that at the beginning of the meeting they set some rules regarding respecting people’s personal boundaries, while Dalziel would be peering past the heads on the screen to see the decor in the rooms, and making lewd and suggestive comments about the participants’ choice of paintings and ornaments…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahahaha! Oh, FictionFan, thank you, that’s fabulous! I can just see Dalziel and Pascoe doing exactly that. That’s a great contribution. I shudder to think what Dalziel would say about my home office… Glad you enjoyed the post!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Love this, Margot! And then there is all the potential for important clues to be missed because someone forgot to unmute . . . or the connection cuts out at a crucial moment and when it’s reinstated, there’s a body . . . wait, there’s the plot of my next story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! That would be a fantastic plot point, Christie! I look forward to reading the story. And you’re right; a Zoom meeting story has so many possibilities. You’ve got some great ones there. And now my own head is buzzing with story ideas…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, that is odd, Jane. I was going to suggest changing my site address in your reader, and you could try that, ‘though I don’t know if it’d work. Here’s how to do that:
        1. Go to your WP site.
        2. Click on ‘Reader,’ which you will see at the top left of your page.
        3. You will get to a list of blogs that you follow.
        4. Click on ‘Manage,’ which you should see at the top right of the page; the word’s in pink, so hard to miss.
        5. You will see a list of sites that you follow. Scroll down until you see mine. Or, you can search for it using the ‘search followed sites’ button towards the mid-top right – on the top of your list of followed sites.
        6. Check to see if the site you are following is my current site. If it is, then I’m afraid I don’t know why you’re getting the message you are. If it isn’t..
        7. Clock on the ‘following’ button. That will ‘unfollow’ you from my old site. Then you can go to my new site and follow it.

        I hope all of this makes sense!! If not, do let me know.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks for this Margot, I will have a god when on my desk top, laptop and phone never seem to work when doing these things. You are a star, thanks for going to all this trouble to help. Appreciated. xx Will let you know.


  4. Joanne Kilbourn: Walt I can hardly believe you mentioned meeting outside. If you have forgotten how cold winter is in Wyoming and Saskatchewan let me remind you I have never seen you without that sheepskin jacket. When it’s -40 and the wind howling no one is meeting outside or coming to the office. Zoom is a godsend.

    Longmire: Ah, Ms. Kilbourn I find conducting an interrogation outside in winter concentrates the thinking of all concerned.

    Kilbourn: I expect so. Your brains are all frozen under those cowboy hats.

    Poirot: Mon dieu! I would perish. Zoom must have saved your life Ms. Kilbourn.

    Kilbourn: Not to worry Monsieur Poirot Zoom also lets me show you that if you come to Saskatchewan I have a nice knitted toque to protect your follicly challenged head and a matching scarf to keep the frost off your moustache.

    Poirot: You have convinced me Madame Kinberg. I will Zoom, FaceTime, Facebook message, Skype, Google Meet with you 12 months of the year just to be safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, this is fantastic, Bill! You’ve got Joanne Kilbourn’s voice down pat. And I can just imagine Poirot’s reaction to having a frosty moustache! I can’t see him enjoying wearing a proper toque, either, even if it is hand-knitted and warm. I’d imagine he’d be very happy to use FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, etc.. instead. But you know, Longmire has a point about questioning suspects outdoors. It could have its advantages. .

      Thanks for your contribution – as always, it made my post better.


    1. No worries, M. Poirot. We’re both academic types whose surnames begin with the same letter…


  5. Very clever and entertaining, Margot. I love that you can have detectives from all time periods working together in this setting. I think Archie would have subbed for Nero Wolfe, though, as he is much more adaptable to change. All the additions in the comments were also good.


    1. I’m very glad you enjoyed the post, Tracy. One thing I like about posts like this one is that it’s possible to have sleuths from different places and time periods together at the same time – no disbelief needed! You make an interesting point about Archie, by the way. He probably would be more comfortable with a Zoom meeting than would his boss.


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