Holmes or Poirot? A difficult choice.
Posted by RV Raman
Holmes or Poirot? I just can’t choose between the two. One goes by physical evidence and the other by behaviour and motivations. Both have idiosyncrasies that could initially be annoying, but they grow on you as you read more of them.
What is more interesting than the creations are the two authors themselves. Here is a contrast that may explain the different natures of their creations.
- Agatha Christie, in her own words, had a very happy childhood in a well-off family. Conan Doyle’s childhood was very different. His happiest moments were when he wrote to his mother from his oppressive boarding school.
- Christie was home-schooled and had a governess, whereas Doyle learnt his ropes outside in the world.
- Doyle travelled extensively, including to the arctic and Africa. At least in the initial years, Christie was mostly in England and France
- Doyle was a practicing doctor, while Christie was a pharmacist.
To me, this seems to explain why Holmes was an outdoors, vigorous, physical evidence detective, while Poirot was more of the indoors, armchair variety who relied mostly on soft aspects. The characters reflect their creators’ lives.
Their training seems to explain why Watson was a practicing doctor, while Hastings was an incorrigible romantic.