In honor of Valentine's Day, Mystery Scene surveyed our romantic readers on their favorite couples of mystery and crime. And the winning couple is...
Nick & Nora Charles
created by Dashiell Hammett
Winners by a landslide with more than 48% of the vote, the equal parts sass-and-class duo from Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man (1934) left all other couple contenders in their wake. Most readers agreed their favorite manifestation of the couple was not from Hammett's original novel, though, but rather from W.S. Van Dyke's popular films of the 1930s and '40s. Nick and Nora of the screen were played in all six films by William Powell and Myrna Loy (pictured). The Charleses also appear on radio and on stage. As voter Ann Mettert summed up, "Wit and class and equals." And as reader Kate Rohloff added, "Don't forget Asta, too!" We raise our martini glasses to our readers' all-time favorites.
Tommy & Tuppence Beresford
created by Agatha Christie
Thomas and Prudence "Tuppence" Beresford tied with another power couple for second place in Mystery Scene's reader poll. Tommy and Tuppence bill themselves as "two young adventurers for hire. Willing to do anything, go anywhere. Pay must be good. No unreasonable offer refused" in their first Agatha Christie outing The Secret Adversary (1922). The detectives go on to appear in three more Agatha Christie novels as well as several short stories. Their complementary combo of Tommy's steady focus and Tuppence's energy and insight makes for a match made in sleuth heaven. "[They] were such an interesting pair of sleuths," wrote reader Valerie Williams Tucker, "plus a very intriguing couple!"
(Pictured left is the first known illustration of Agatha Christie's characters of Tommy and Tuppence from the December 1923 issue of The Grand Magazine by Arthur Ferrier.)
Lord Peter Wimsey & Harriet Vane
created by Dorothy L. Sayers
Mystery writer Harriet Deborah Vane first meets lord and criminologist Peter Wimsey while on trial for poisoning her lover in Dorothy L. Sayers' novel Strong Poison (1930). Needless to say, by book's end the dashing Lord Wimsey proves that there's no antidote like true love—even if its full effects don't kick in until two books later in Gaudy Night (1936) later when the resistent Harriet finally gives in to his affections. In Masterpiece Mystery!: The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries of the 1970s, the literary and lordly Harriet and Peter are played by Harriet Walter and Edward Petherbridge (pictured).
Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes
created by Laurie R. King, Sherlock created by Arthur Conan Doyle
Who knew the whip-smart fifteen-year-old Mary Russell of Laurie R. King's first series novel The Beekeeper's Apprentice (1994) was going to crack some serious cases and Sherlock Holmes' heart? Readers are thrilled that 14 books later, the latest of which is The Garment of Shadows (2012), the evolving relationship of Mary and Sherlock is still stronger and richer than ever.
Finally, as one voter, Airieanne Andrews, said, "...and...and...too many to choose just one." Worthy runners-up include Mr. and Mrs. North, created by married writers Frances and Richard Lockridge, Egyptologists Amelia Peabody and Radcliffe Emerson of Elizabeth Peters' popular series, and socialite Sarah Kelling and detective Max Bittersohn from author Charlotte MacLeod, plus several other great nominations from the page, stage and screen. Thank you to all our readers for your votes and comments. We will announce our free book winner soon!
With love, Mystery Scene