We started back in August, with readers of this blog nominating sleuths of their choosing to be put into a series of gladiatorial head-to-heads that would result in an overall favourite from detective fiction’s Golden Age, and finally, in January, we have our winner.
I don’t intend to drag this out, but thought I’d run some numbers to see how the overall process has been received as it’s progressed. For instance, the number of votes cast in the quarter-finals took a significant upswing in comparison to the earlier rounds, so I thought I’d see if there was a trend there…and, sure enough, the average number of votes per poll round-by-round does generally increase:
First Round: 218 (top half)/148 (bottom half)
Second Round: 218
Third Round: 212
Equally, I wondered if the eventual winner — and, yes, you’ve probably scrolled down to that already — could be divined ahead of time by seeing who the most popular character was in each round of voting:
First Round: Lord Peter Wimsey (271 votes)
Second Round: Hercule Poirot (231 votes)
Third Round: Hercule Poirot (181 votes)
Quarter-Finals: Lord Peter Wimsey (254 votes)
Semi-Finals: Jane Marple (302 votes)
Our final, remember, was between Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple, and from this is seemed that Poirot started off the more popular but Marple got something of a boost as the rounds went on. Was there anything in that? Well, the head-to-head round-by round looks like this…
…so, yes, it really does look as if Aunt Jane’s star was on the rise.
So, how’d that play out? Well, drumroll, please…
Yup, we started with over 100 names, and after 5 months, six rounds of voting, and 13,526 total votes being cast, the World’s Favourite Golden Age Sleuth is…M. Hercule Poirot!
It’s pretty close, too, making it far from the walkover that might well be suspected, and showing that there’s much to be found in both of Christie’s sleuths which appeals to the fans and maybe, just maybe, contributes to these characters being so beloved all these years after their first appearance. Hell, given another couple of days or a slightly wider reach of the sharing of this poll, it wouldn’t be beyond reason to expect the opposite result.
So, let’s do it again! No, no, I jest.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank-you for coming with me on this quest, even if everyone will claim to know how it was going to turn out in the end — for your simply entering into the spirit of the thing, I am very grateful.
Crikey, between this and the Reprint of the Year 2023 has been a big year already, fraught with uncertainty, nervousness, and the eventual release of revelation, however crushing that might be; let’s hope things settle down now so that we can just enjoy our normal lives, eh?!
See you soon…