After my recent review of Stella Duffy’s Money in the Morgue, and in anticipation of Sophie Hannah’s next reimagining of Agatha Christie’s Poirot, I started thinking about all the other detective series that could do with a revamp. Sherlock Holmes and Philip Marlowe have been done to death, but there are so many great series out there whose authors are gone, but could still be bought up to date by a modern fan with the panache to recreate the original writer’s passion and flare.
5. Father Brown: I’m not actually a mad fan of Chesterton’s original series of short stories about his ecclesiastical sleuth, but there is definitely scope for a revival. Some of the stories are pure genius, and I reckon with a bit of work an intrepid author could make a real good go of recreating the Father Brown series and giving it a new lease of life. The stories themselves were well-plotted, with excellent characterisation, and were only really let down by poor dialogue and bad pacing, and these issues could be addressed by a new writer as they created a new dastardly scheme for the cerebral Father Brown to uncover.
4. Tommy & Tuppence: Christie’s doesn’t really do justice to her intrepid sleuthing husband and wife duo in the four novels she penned which feature them, so it would be great to have a more modern take on them. After all, Poirot has been reinvented, but he, like Miss Marple, had a long run of excellent novels and stories created by Christie; she abandoned her Partners in Crime series after just four books, possibly due to its lack of popularity, and as such it would be great to see the pair bought back to life in a new novel.
3. Inspector Morse: I know I know, ITV have done Morse to death with their prequel and sequel TV shows, the lacklustre Lewis and the increasingly unrealistic and unlikely Endeavour. Despite this, I think there is real scope for a talented wordsmith to craft a new novel featuring our intrepid duo. Dexter’s short stories featuring Morse, as well as almost all of his novels, were unique portrayals of both academic and traditional life and the secrets that lurk within, and it would be awesome if someone could reinvent this with a new story for those of us who have re-read Dexter’s own works so many times we know them off by heart.
2. Inspector Maigret: Someone needs to write a new version of Simenon’s classic French detective and give him a new lease of life. A new case, or the portrayal of an old one, would give modern readers the chance to explore this often overlooked sleuth, who manages to be both cerebral and thuggish in equal measure. His Paris is a city of debauchery, deceit and desecration, and one in which only the toughest of cops stands a chance, and as such Simenon created a man of great strength and intellect who was able to rise to the challenge. A new Maigret novel is never a bad thing, and with a new generation introduced to the character thanks to Rowan Atkinson’s portrayal of the character, now is a great time for someone to take him on.
1. Inspector Kurt Wallander: As many of you may very well know, I am a huge fan of Henning Mankell’s dour Scandinavian sleuth, and following his death there is plenty of scope for a Nordic writer to reinvent. Although Mankell effectively ended the series with The Troubled Man, there is space for someone to revisit an old case, exploring some historical setting, event or time period and allowing Wallander the chance to intrigue, delight and surprise a new generation of readers.