We approach the sharp end of things now, with 64 names reduced now to a mere eight, and only three rounds of voting before the legally-binding World’s Favourite Golden Age Sleuth is crowned.
The third round has left us with the following selections, so prepare to make some tough choices…
The general trend has seen support for a winning individual lessen over these votes as less popular characters have been thinned out, but Gideon Fell still pulled in twice the votes of Archie Goodwin, even if that does represent his thinnest margin of victory to date. And at least Archie dropped out at the same time as his boss Nero Wolfe, so the two of them can return to their brownstone together and trade barbs about who is the most-loved. Lord Peter Wimsey drew fewer than 200 votes for the first time, and I honestly don’t know how to call this first match-up…be sure to vote carefully!
The Wimsey/Wolfe vote above pulled in the join highest number of votes along with Poirot/Cockrill here, though our Belgian friend won by a much larger margin. Again, as with Wimsey, Poirot dropped below 200 votes, but got the most of any individual and so seems in pretty fine fettle. And, to no-one’s surprise but my personal disappointment, Albert Campion saw off a spirited challenge from Inspector Joseph French, the mysterious man at the heart of Margery Allingham’s thrillers preferred to the stolid dependability of Freeman Wills Crofts’ less showy protagonists. I mean, it seems Poirot will trounce anyone he comes up against, so perhaps it doesn’t really matter who went out in this bracket, but time and your votes will tell.
The complete lack of surprises continues here, with Ellery Queen putting paid to Roger Sheringham’s run, and Jane Marple — again, with a greatly reduced vote — smothering Gervase Fen with a fancily-embroidered pillow. Aunt Jane has consistently outscored Ellery in the previous rounds, but this is the one vote in this round which seems to me like it’s going to be very close. Sure, I don’t know who’s going to win in Fell vs. Wimsey above, but I reckon there will be a big swing one way or the other. Queen vs. Marple seems to me like it really could come down to only a handful of votes, so let’s see if this prophecy is borne out once the dust settles.
And a personal disappointment rears its head once more, with Dr. John Thorndyke falling just short of unseating Commissaire Maigret. It’s the vote that the fewest people seemed to have any interest in, but the one I was most hoping would come out in my preferred direction. Never mind. In the final vote, Henry Merrivale triumphed over Father Brown, although with only a slight drop in numbers — you may remember that H.M. polled 128 votes in both of the first two rounds, so he’s done well here in terms of retention. Will it be enough? Interesting to reflect, too, that if Maigret fails to get through here, there will be no professionally-employed sleuth in the final four. Truly the Golden Age was the heyday of the amateur detective!
Votes will remain open for a week, until 12:01am UK time on Saturday 3rd December, so don’t tarry. The semi-finals would be up in two weeks on the 10th December but, assuming I don’t get too busy, that should be the date of my one thousandth post and so I should probably do something a little special for that. Instead, I’ll delay a day and the semi-finals will go up in my one thousand and oneth post on Sunday 11th December. Check back then to see how your favourites fared…