The Best: literary detectives

Detective fiction is generally traced back to nineteenth-century sleuth C. Auguste Dupin, the creation of one Edgar Allan Poe. Since then, there have been innumerable detectives characters from a range of authors. Sherlock Holmes, the invention of Arthur Conan Doyle, is probably the most famous, with a range of spin-offs in culture, most significantly the magnificent Sherlock. Adaptations often serve to bring a detective to a wider audience, as exhibited in Agatha Christie’s renowned characters Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, Colin Dexter’s Endeavour Morse, and James Runcie’s Sidney Chambers. In short, the crime genre is booming in a variety of media, with plenty of top-class detectives to show for it.

File:Statue of Sherlock Holmes in Edinburgh.jpg
A statue of Sherlock Holmes in Scotland. Image by Siddharth Krish, via Wikimedia Commons

Continue reading


The Best: Harry Potter books

Everyone knows the Harry Potter series. J.K. Rowling’s internationally bestselling books now exist in at least 69 languages and sold nearly 450 million copies for a staggering $7.7 billion total. To put that into perspective, that means that one in fifteen people have bought one of the books. More people own a copy than there were in the British Empire at its pinnacle (412 million in 1913). So what better place for our blog to start than with a ranking of the best Harry Potter books. For this list, we will be looking at the book series, and ignoring (for now) the spin-off books by Rowling. Spoilers, inevitably, will follow…

File:1 christ church hall 2012.jpg
Christchurch College Oxford dining hall, which the Hogwarts dining hall was modelled upon. Image from chensiyuan on Wikimedia Commons.

Continue reading