It’s the time of year for several different awards events. We’ve recently had the BAFTAs, the Academy Awards, and the Grammys, and the Tony Awards are coming up in June. But you know, there are no awards for fictional sleuths. Well, their creators sometimes get awards, but the sleuths themselves? Not so much. I think it might be fun to imagine the sorts of awards our top fictional sleuths might get. So, if you’ll send your disbelief shopping for that perfect awards ceremony ensemble, let’s take a look at…
The Sleuthie Awards
The scene is a richly decorated theatre. The camera follows several famous sleuths as they walk the red carpet towards the building, almost all of them in formal wear. A few of them stop to sign autographs or to pose for pictures, but most are making their way inside to find their seats. An orchestra is playing as everyone settles in. The music stops as the emcee takes the stage to audience applause.
Emcee: Thanks for being here. You’re in for an exciting night as we pay tribute to some of the finest sleuths in the business. Let’s start with the award for Best Dressed Sleuth! After all, appearances do matter! And the nominees are…. Hercule Poirot (Agatha Christie), Phryne Fisher (Kerry Greenwood), Aimée Leduc (Cara Black), and…James Bond (Ian Fleming). (The camera pans the nominees’ faces, then goes back to the emcee, who is slowly drawing the winning name out of a gold envelope).
And the Sleuthie goes to…… Aimée Leduc! (Aimée Leduc makes her way to the stage as everyone applauds. She gives the emcee a hug and accepts her award. As she begins her short list of thank-yous, the camera pans the audience again.)
Emcee: Next up, here are the nominees for the Long-Suffering Second in Command Award! (Glances down at a list). And the nominees are…. Peter Pascoe (Reginald Hill)…. Dr. Watson (Arthur Conan Doyle), Sergeant Lewis (Colin Dexter), and …. Archie Goodwin (Rex Stout). (The camera pans the audience and returns to the emcee). And the Sleuthie goes to…. Peter Pascoe! (There is applause as Pascoe makes his way to the stage. The camera lingers a moment on Andy Dalziel’s face. He’s muttering something but seems to be taking it all in stride. Pascoe shakes hands with the emcee and, holding his trophy in one hand, starts his thank-you speech).
(As the applause dies down, a stagehand brings the next envelope and list to the emcee) Emcee: We’re ready now for the Attitude Award for Grumpiest Sleuth. And the nominees are…Salvo Montalbano (Andrea Camilleri), Andy Dalziel (Reginald Hill), Inspector E. Morse (Colin Dexter), and … Nero Wolfe (Rex Stout). And the Sleuthie goes to…. Nero Wolfe! (Applause). Here to accept the award on behalf of Mr. Wolfe is Archie Goodwin. (Archie stands up and heads for the stage, where he shakes the emcee’s hand. He takes the trophy, walks to the microphone, and takes a slight bow. He thanks everyone, and then mentions how well deserved the award is before returning to his seat.)
Emcee: It’s been a really exciting evening so far, hasn’t it? (Applause). But there’s still more to come. (Pauses while a stagehand brings him the next envelope). Let’s move on to the Globetrotter Award! The nominees this time are…. Russell Quant (Anthony Bidulka), Sir Roderick Alleyn (Ngaio Marsh), Ava Lee (Ian Hamilton), and…Emily Pollifax (Dorothy Gilman). And the Sleuthie goes to… Ava Lee! (The camera pans the audience, focusing on Ava Lee’s face as she hears the news, then follows her as she goes up to the stage to accept her award.).
Emcee: It’s not easy being a sleuth. Very often, sleuths get into dangerous situations, and take real risks, and some sleuths have taken more risks, and survived more danger, than others. That’s what this next award is all about. It’s the Survivor Award! And the nominees are (Glances down at the list), Dave Robicheaux (James Lee Burke), V.I. Warshawski (Sara Paretsky), Walt Longmire (Craig Johnson), and (Looks at the list again) Anna Pigeon (Nevada Barr)! And this Sleuthie goes to….Walt Longmire!! (There’s a burst of applause as Longmire walks up the aisle towards the stage. He shakes the emcee’s hand, nods to the audience and takes his trophy. The emcee looks a little surprised as he goes back to his seat with only a short thanks.).
Emcee (Trying to get past that slightly awkward moment): Moving on to our next Sleuthie, the Most Innocuous Award goes to a sleuth who seems non-threatening, but who shouldn’t be underestimated. The nominees for this year’s Most Innocuous Sleuthie are… Miss Jane Marple (Agatha Christie), Miss Maude Silver (Patricia Wentworth), Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte (Arthur Upfield), and… Flavia De Luce (Alan Bradley)! (The camera pans each nominee). And the Sleuthie goes to…. Miss Maude Silver! (Applause as Miss Silver gets up to accept her award. She reaches the stage, transfers her knitting from her right to her left hand, and takes the trophy with her right hand. She coughs gently once or twice, and then gives a short acceptance speech).
Emcee: We’ve got much more just ahead, so stay tuned! We’ll be right back!
Which awards would you give? Who do you think was ‘robbed’ of a Sleuthie?