Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"Flawed" Characters

While I'm finishing my book, Linda Fairstein's Death Angel, I have a question for you. Yesterday, on Facebook, HuffPostBooks asked, "Who is your favorite flawed character from literature?" I'd like to put a twist on that. Who is your favorite flawed character in crime fiction? And, if you'd rather talk about a flawed character in literature, that's OK. But, I know many of us are fans of crime fiction.

Mine is Sherlock Holmes. I don't care of it's in literature, or if we're talking about Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes, Sherlock Holmes is my favorite flawed character. Oh, and he has his flaws. He used drugs. He's certainly impatient with anyone who isn't as brilliant as he is. And, who is? His behavior can come across as rude and abrupt. He suffers from depression at times, particularly when he's bored.  He's still my favorite flawed character in crime fiction.

Who is your favorite flawed character?






16 comments:

Janet C said...

OK, after some thought - I'm going with Mallory from Carol O'Connell's books. She continues to amaze me.

Lesa said...

Oh, that's a good one, Janet. Definitely has flaws.

Susan Elizabeth said...

Lincoln Rhyme is definitely my favorite flawed character. He's judgmental of people outside his bubble and stubborn of his investigation process, yet somehow he always saves the day (And this is not to mention his physical flaw or his tendency to slip sips of alcohol when he aide isn't looking).

Lesa said...

Thanks, Susan Elizabeth! I love to read about favorite characters. Thanks for discussing Lincoln Rhyme's flaws.

Page said...

My favorite flawed character is Monk. The man is flawed all because his wife was killed and he couldn't cope and became an sometimes obnoxious, smart detective that you wanted to fix.

Lesa said...

Thanks, Page! Because I haven't watched the series or read the books, I didn't know why Monk is the way he is. Thanks for letting me know!

Reine said...

Endeavour Morse is my favorite. I realize he might not seem very flawed, because his flaws are those of privilege. They don't seem to be flaws to most of us perhaps. While they upended his personal life and social relationships, his flaws seem rather to simply annoy people he works with. His brilliance and superior memory only serve to antagonize the people he works with, and he must struggle to do his job.

He'd left Oxford to become a police officer and immediately found resentment on arrival. He wants to do his job, yet the friction caused by his being who is, something impossible to deny, is something he is constantly fighting.

I like how he deals with this and how he keeps working and trying—how he handles the stress of being disliked and sabotaged in the workplace because of his advantage. At the same time that he must learn to live with this great disadvantage to survival in his career, he is alone due to social ostracism within his own family and class.

While we might interpret his flaws as strengths such as leaving the school of the privileged to do regular work that he believes in, the repercussions those strengths of character have on his life make them flaws.

Reine said...

...in effect.

Lesa said...

Fascinating analysis of Morse's character and flaws, Reine. You put a great deal of thought into that. Thank you!

Liz said...

Joe Pike. Not that he's terribly flawed, but he's clearly working through some issues. On second thought: my REAL favorite flawed figure in crime literature is Lisbeth Salander. I miss her a lot.

BPL Ref said...

I'll agree with Sherlock and raise you Nero Wolfe, who shares some of Sherlock's flaws and then some. What amazes me is how devoted we can be to characters whom we might not like in person at all. The only way I can explain it is to say that in both cases we have an intermediary, Watson or Archie, whose fondness for the character makes us like him as well.

Also, I'm reading Bryan Gruley's series with Gus and am finding him to be an interesting flawed character.I'm impressed that Gruley can use a first person narration and yet let the readers see how Gus's perceptions are colored by his pre-conceived ideas about people. I still am undecided about one character from the second book; Gus made his decision but I don't know that he was right.

Karen C said...

Fried brain - can't think of anyone besides Sherlock Holmes - just love him. And Nero Wolfe, too.

Lesa said...

Liz,

I love your answers. Both of those characters are definitely flawed.

Lesa said...

BPL Reference,

I find your comments interesting about the flawed characters we like because a friend made the comment that she loves flawed characters in books who she would never want to know in real life. I know exactly what you're talking about in Bryan Gulley's second book. I don't know if Gus was right, either.

Lesa said...

Me, too, Karen. Both of them.

BPL Ref said...

That's what fascinates me about Gruley's writing: his ability to use an I narrator yet give the reader room to see events and people differently than that narrator does. You see it in comic novels a lot but not so much in mysteries.
Jeanne