Intro- and outrospection
I'll use the contrast as occasion for some stray remarks between more substantive posts. The first is that some of Cain's work has a streak of humor surprising in an author Bill Pronzini called the hardest boiled of the Black Mask writers. In "One, Two, Three," a trio of men wake up from unconsciousness, ruefully amused by how they wound up where they did:
"I was thinking about what suckers we had been. I'd popped Raines and Gard had popped me and Mrs. Healey had popped Gard — all of us. One, two, three. Tinker to Evers to Chance — only more so. ... The whole Healey play, what with one thing and another, cost somewhere in the neighborhood of a grand. I got a lame skull and about two bits' worth of fun out of it.
Back to Fossum. Her crime books are often referred to as the Sejer novels, after her lead investigator, the police Inspector Konrad Sejer, but Sejer appears less frequently than does the protagonist in any other crime fiction I can think of. (At least such is the case in He Who Fears the Wolf and When the Devil Holds the Candle, two of the six Sejer novels translated into English from Norwegian.)
In fact, protagonist is probably the wrong word to describe the tall, serious, compassionate and, yes, introspective Sejer. In the two from the series I've read, the readers learns more about the criminals, victims and suspects than about the people who investigate them. They are the real protagonists.
And here, readers, is your challenge: Can anyone think of crime fiction that features police or other investigators, but whose investigators are explored and portrayed less thoroughly than those they investigate?
© Peter Rozovsky 2007