Sunday, December 11, 2005

Historian Detectives

Careful readers of my sidebar will note that I have been on a bit of mystery novel kick since the summer. But what has been more interesting is that I keep running across detectives who are (former) historians.

First, I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Ohayon of the Jerusalem Police department when I happened to pick up a Batya Gur novel to read on the plane to Israel last summer. Ohayon has an MA from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in medieval history. Then, when I mentioned to my stepfather that I had read and enjoyed a couple of the Batya Gur novels, he dug out a thriller from the mid-80s from one of his shelves--William Bayer's Pattern Crimes. At one point the detective mentions to another character that history is a passion or interest of his. Then, a few weeks ago, I noticed Gaudy Night on the shelf in my friend's new bookstore (see "My AAR-SBL" below). I had read all the Lord Peter Wimsey novels when I was a lad (I think circa 8th grade but I can't be sure now) but had completely forgotten the plot of Gaudy Night. I can't imagine that the musings on academic life, returns to places of one's youth, or the questions of marriage, family, career meant anything to me then. In any case, I had completely forgotten (if I ever paid attention) that Wimsey of Balliol had taken a First in history.

Dear reader, please leave the names of other literary historian detectives in the comments. Many thanks.