Advice From Sleuths ;-)

Advice/Agony columns are popular ways to get resolutions to sometimes-difficult problems. It’s not hard to see why. One can get suggestions for awkward or even tragic situations. And, since real names aren’t necessary, one can get that advice without friends and family knowing about it. It’s all got me to thinking. Our top fictional sleuths have a lot of world knowledge and wisdom, when you think about it. They find out answers, too. So, who better to serve as an ‘agony aunt/uncle?’ With this in mind, I invite you to settle your disbelief with a book, a drink, and some snacks as we look at:

Advice From Sleuths 

I Andy Dalziel (Reginald Hill)

Ask Andy

 Dear Andy,

I’m worried about my husband. We’ve only been married a year, but I think he may be cheating on me. It all started when I decided we ought to eat healthier. I got some good new recipes and even took a cookery class to learn to cook healthy meals. Within a few weeks, he started going to the pub a lot more, and spending too much time with his mates. He comes home late, and very late the other night, I heard him talking on the phone with someone. What should I do? 

Losing it in Leeds

 Dear Losing,

Are ye daft? A man wants real food, not that poncy organic stuff. When was the last time ye gave him a proper Yorkshire pudding? Or bacon with his eggs? Give him a steak and a good stuffed potato and he’ll keep his boots under your table. If you’re the same in the bedroom as ye are in the kitchen, I pity the poor sod! Stop whinging and start a roast!

 Andy Dalziel


II Kinsey Millhone (Sue Grafton)

Kinsey Knows

 Dear Kinsey,

I have a job interview next week. I want to make sure I look my best, but I’ve been out of the job market for a while. What should I wear, and what should I do about my hair? 

Job Hunter

Dear Job Hunter,

Is this the sort of job where you can’t wear jeans or track pants? I’ve found that those are the most useful things to wear, to be honest. But if you’re not allowed to wear jeans, then you might want to go for an all-purpose sort of outfit. I have a little black dress that I wear for just about every occasion where jeans won’t do. And as for your hair? I wouldn’t worry about it. Just run a comb through it, wash your face, and you’ll be fine. 



 III Flavia de Luce (Alan Bradley)

 Flavia’s Forum

 Dear Flavia,

I have an awful younger brother. He looks through my phone, he spies on me, and he gets me in trouble with our parents. When I tell them what a horrible sneak he is, they say that he’s my brother and I have to work it out with him. I tried that, and all he did was laugh. Then he poured pickle juice into my soda! What am I supposed to do?

 Fed-Up Sister

 Dear Fed-up,

It’s hard when you’re supposed to be nice to someone who’s so terrible to you. Especially if it’s a brother or sister. I suggest guerilla warfare. Make a stink bomb he won’t forget. All you need is a bunch of match heads (20 should be enough), a bottle with a lid, and some ammonia. Put the matchheads in the bottle, pour the ammonia over them, and close the bottle tightly, swirl everything around, and wait 3 or 4 days. You’ll have a great stink bomb, and the minute the bottle is opened, your brother will learn a lesson. 



IV Hercule Poirot (Agatha Christie)

 Poirot’s Place

 Dear M. Poirot, 

I would like to open a small, informal restaurant. I am thinking of having simple sandwiches, some soft drinks, tea and coffee, and perhaps wine and beer. I don’t think we need to offer anything special in the way of food. People go out for the company and maybe a few drinks, not for fancy food. But my business partner is insisting that we hire a chef and do more with the food. I don’t want to spend the money for that, but he won’t listen to me. What should I do?

 Opening Soon

 Mon cher Opening Soon,

A restaurant is much more than a place to meet one’s friends and family. It is an experience. Every meal should be a perfect poem. Ma foi, how can you even consider offering food that is substandard!  Me, I would never dine at a restaurant or even a small café if the food were not properly prepared. And for that, one needs a chef. I urge you to consider your business partner’s position on this matter. I believe he is entirely right. You will also want to consider a proper sommelier to be sure you have the right wine for each meal. I trust you will find this advice useful.


Hercule Poirot


V  Archie Goodwin (Rex Stout)

 Archie’s Answers

 Dear Archie,

 I just got a new job that I like. The problem is my boss. He’s very demanding, and he can be insulting. He never asks my opinion on anything, and he gets furious when things don’t go his way. The worst thing is that sometimes, I know I’m right and he’s wrong. When that happens, should I just go ahead and do what he wants and kiss up to him? Should I follow my own instincts? What do you think?

 Job Jitters

 Dear Job Jitters,

Some bosses have to be handled a little differently. You got to manage them without them catching on. Trust me. I know. What you want to do is figure out ways to get things done without going through the channels if you know what I mean. Sometimes, it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission. Once your way turns out to be the right way, your boss will get over it. You don’t want to be a patsy. Bosses work best when we keep them in line! Take my advice and everything’ll be jake.

 Archie Goodwin

 What do you think? Would these sleuths be good at advice columns? Got any additions?



22 thoughts on “Advice From Sleuths ;-)

  1. Margot, my husband and I read Ask Amy in the Los Angeles Times every day (probably because they are on the comics page). Sometimes the questions are so stupid or irritating, but we read them anyway. Amy answers them pretty well.

    I loved all your examples here. And that you included Archie … a perfect example.


    1. Thanks, Tracy – I’m so glad you liked these. And I’ve read Ask Amy, too. She is pretty good at answering all sorts o f questions, whether they’re sensible or stupid. She seems to keep her poise. Funny how people can ask the kinds of questions they do…


  2. LOL! Oh, Margot these were brilliant! I particularly love the Flavia de Luce one. And the Poirot one really made me laugh too, I can just hear him saying that. I’ll have to think about additions.


  3. Haha. you have Andy down to perfection! Must admit he’s got a point! 😉 Am I the only one of your readers who now has an overwhelming desire to make a stink bomb? I could have done with that recipe in my schooldays, but I do have a brother… and he can be annoying sometimes… 😂


    1. Thanks, FictionFan! And, typical Andy, he has something to say, but – er – not the most tactful approach! 😉 And no, I suspect you are far from the only one who’s now imagining making a stink bomb. They are definitely useful when you have annoying siblings or classmates. If you make one, though, just…don’t tell where you got the recipe, OK? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Enjoyed the post Margot. Well done. Might I add a couple more.

    Nero Wolfe (Rex Stout)

    Nero Knows


    What do you do with an impudent assistant? His work is somewhat satisfactory but he is constantly wisecracking and barely listens to my instructions. I threaten to fire him and he offers to resign. I am in despair.

    Upset Boss

    Dear Upset

    I understand your dilemma completely. Despite the lack of precision in your language I presume he is actually satisfactory at accomplishing the tasks assigned. When besieged by a verbose assistant I find drinking two bottles of beer takes the edge off the irritation. I then depart the room leaving the assistant talking to an empty chair. It is so satisfying to see him frustrated by my sangfroid.

    Nero Wolfe

    Armand Gamache (Louise Penny)

    Armand’s Advice


    My neighbour has a pet elephant. Life is ghastly. She leads the elephant around our small town treating the beast as if it was her child. The snorts and braying are beyond belief. Please help me.

    Pachydermed Out

    Dear Pachydermed

    The phenomenon of the exotic pet child is not uncommon. I have witnessed it in my own village. There is no point in admonishing the owner. They are oblivious. I recommend establishing a personal relationship with the elephant. Once the pachyderm comes to trust you the aggravating sounds will diminish to a tolerable level.

    Armand Gamache


    1. Oh, Bill, these are great! Wolfe’s suggestions are right on point, and I have a great mental picture of ‘Pachydermed’ trying to befriend an elephant! I liked this a lot. Thanks for adding to my post.


  5. I love how you captured the personalities of these sleuths in their answers. Very fun and creative, Margot. Would they make good advice columnists? That’s another question for them. 😀


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