When Sleuths Buy Gifts ;-)

When Sleuths Buy GIftsHave you ever taken part in a ‘Secret Santa’ gift exchange? Sometimes it’s called a ‘Kris Kringle,’ and sometimes a ‘Pollyanna.’ There are other names for it too. Whatever you call it, the way it generally works is that a group of people put their names into a hat, a box or some such thing. Each one draws the name of someone else and gets a gift for that person.

It sounds like a wonderful idea, doesn’t it? But it doesn’t always work out as planned. Don’t believe me? Let’s see what happens….

When Fictional Sleuths are ‘Secret Santas.’

I. Hercule Poirot (Agatha Christie)

Hastings: Whose name did you draw, Poirot?
Poirot: I have drawn…(Glances down at the slip of paper) Mlle. Kinsey Millhone (Sue Grafton).
Hastings: Any idea what you’ll get for her?
Poirot: I think, mon ami, that I will have Georges make an appointment for her at a dressmaker’s shop. Les femmes, they all love beautiful dresses, do they not?
Hastings: Er…well…I suppose so.

II. Rebecka Martinsson (Åsa Larsson)

(Having a coffee with Inspector Anna-Maria Mella)
Rebecka: So I got talked into this Secret Santa business.
Anna-Maria: Well, it might be fun. Whose name did you get?
Rebecka: Her name’s Corinna Chapman (Kerry Greenwood).
Anna-Maria: So what will you buy?
Rebecka: At this time of year? A heavy parka. If I rush it, she’ll get it before Christmas too. Hmm…. I don’t know her size. Well, I’ll just get her an average-sized coat – one I might wear. That ought to be safe. Can’t miss!

III. John Rebus (Ian Rankin)

Rebus: Shiv, you doing this Secret Santa thing?
Siobhan Clarke: Yeah, sure. You?
Rebus: Don’t have much choice, I don’t think.
Clarke: Who’d you get?
Rebus: His name’s Inspector Morse (Colin Dexter).
Clarke: Ah, fellow copper. What are you getting him?
Rebus: Everyone loves music, right? Think I’ll get him tickets to a Rolling Stones concert.
Clarke: (Looks down at her cup of tea) Maybe you ought to find out what kind of music he likes first?
Rebus: Who doesn’t love the Stones?

IV. V.I. ‘Vic’ Warshawski (Sara Paretsky)

(Having a glass of wine with Lotty Herschel)
Vic: So I’ve been thinking about this whole Secret Santa thing.
Lotty: That’s good. It’s coming up soon.
Vic: I know, and I think I have just the thing. I got this guy Nero Wolfe (Rex Stout). He’s never been to Chicago. So I’m going to take him bar-hopping! Really show him a Jack Daniels night. Then we’ll go to the Maxwell Street Market for some kielbasa. Ha! I might even get him a Cubs hat! What do you think?
Lotty: If you really think he’d like it.
Vic: Can’t go wrong!

V. Armand Gamache (Louise Penny)

(Having breakfast with his wife Reine-Marie)
Reine-Marie: So, have you decided what to do about this Secret Santa name draw?
Armand: Actually I think I have. I drew Lisbeth Salander’s name (Stieg Larsson). She’s from Stockholm, so I thought it would be nice to give her a real Québec welcome, with Christmas right here in Three Pines.
Reine-Marie: What a lovely idea! I’m sure she’d love a small-town holiday after living in the city. We can ask them to give her a room at the B&B, we’ll make sure she meets everyone, and she can come to Midnight Mass with us.
Armand: Good thinking. No-one does gourmet bistro better than Olivier and Gabri. She’ll love it!

VI. Nick and Nora Charles (Dashiell Hammett)

Nora: I’ve got it, Nick!
Nick: Got what?
Nora: The perfect idea for the Secret Santa draw, of course.
Nick: Oh, that. Who’d we get anyway?
Nora: His name’s Walt Longmire (Craig Johnson). He’s from Wyoming.
Nick: So what’s your brilliant idea?
Nora: Well, we’re going to be in New York for the next couple of months. Why not get him the best Broadway tickets we can? We’ll put him up at the Plaza for a few days.
Nick: Sounds great! I’ll bet he’s dying to get out of whatever one-horse town he lives in.

Perhaps after all it’d be just as well for these sleuths to stick to solving crime… 😉


Filed under Agatha Christie, Åsa Larsson, Colin Dexter, Craig Johnson, Dashiell Hammett, Ian Rankin, Kerry Greenwood, Louise Penny, Rex Stout, Sara Paretsky, Stieg Larsson, Sue Grafton

30 responses to “When Sleuths Buy Gifts ;-)

  1. ROFL, Margot! What a creative take on the Secret Santa exchange. And isn’t it true to human nature that we give the gift WE would like, rather than one suited to the recipient? Merry Christmas!

    • Thank you, Kathy 🙂 And to you! And thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. You’ve got a point too; people do so often buy gifts for others that they themselves want. As you say – it’s sort of human nature…

  2. Hahahaaha! “That ought to be safe. Can’t miss!” Reading your comment above; that’s the truth except when the person is not that nice, then they get the re-gifts! Thanks for the chuckle Margot.

  3. That’s hilarious Margot – what a clever idea, beautifully executied. I’ll be smiling all evening now.

  4. Nero Wolfe (Rex Stout):

    Wolfe: Confound it, Archie! Where are you?

    Goodwin: Don’t blow your top. I’m right here. What’s the problem?

    Wolfe: Last year you cajoled me into that Christmas drop-in and Margot Kinberg kindly assisted me in dealing with proper food for the occasion. While this year she contacted me about participating in some “Secret Santa” gift exchange. Seeing how she helped me I felt a sense of obligation to her and agreed to join the exchange. I believe it would involve me dressing up as Santa and passing out some gift to someone whose name I had drawn.

    Goodwin: Wait …. wait …. wait just a minute. You dressed up as Santa? You certainly are no elf and you’re suitably rotund but Santa is a happy jolly fellow. I have always thought you would be the perfect person to play Scrooge.

    Wolfe: Now Archie, you exaggerate as always. I may not always exude sunshine and I may have a touch of asperity to my personality but I tell you I have always harboured a secret desire to be Santa. I have the body and can “ho, ho, ho” with anyone. No one would ever guess I was Santa.

    Goodwin: While you got that right. Nero Wolfe as Santa. I’ve got to get a photo for proof. Lily will never believe me. While it is fascinating to contemplate you being Santa you do realize you have to buy a gift for the name drawn.

    Wolfe: Surely you jest. I have not been shopping since ….. since ….. I started living in this brownstone. Surely Ms. Kinberg did not expect me to venture forth and attend upon a department store.

    Goodwin: Even though Macy’s is but a few blocks away I am sure Margot would not anticipate you leaving the brownstone. I am positive she expected you to shop on the internet.

    Wolfe: You can shop on the internet? I thought it was for the exchange of messages and the provision of information, rarely reliable, but sometimes interesting.

    Goodwin: Who did you draw?

    Wolfe: Matteesie Kitologitak (Scott Young). Since I am buying a gift why not those colourful new swimming trunks by Armani.

    Goodwin: Why not indeed! I am sure Matteesie will enjoy wearing them to go swimming in the Arctic Ocean. You will be right in character as Santa when you give him the gift for he spends the holidays with his family in Sanirarsipaaq on Victoria Island north of mainland Canada which is right next door to the North Pole. I am looking forward to seeing you in a seal skin parka and mukluks. I’ll book our tickets right now. This is going to be the best Christmas ever!

    Excellent post Margot! Merry Christmas!

    • Bill – Oh, my! It took me almost ten minutes just to stop laughing when I read your hilarious comment! That’s priceless! I am glad, I must say, that at least Archie Goodwin knows what a Secret Santa gift exchange is for! You know, Internet shopping was custom-made for people like Wolfe… And yes, I think brand-new swimming trunks would be exactly what Matteesie would love. He’d make very good use of them, I am sure. It made me laugh, too, to think of Wolfe as Santa. He certainly does have the body for it, but I don’t know how good he’d be at the ‘Jolly’ part. He’d be more likely to say Pfui! Now I’m going to spend the rest of the day with this wonderful mental picture of a Wolfe in Sheep’s – er – Santa’s clothing. Thanks for making me laugh!
      And thanks for the good wishes and the kind words 🙂

  5. Inspector Morse and the Stones! Brilliant! 🙂

  6. This made my day, Margot! Happy Christmas, and hope your Secret Santa is a better sleuth 😉

  7. HahaHA! I so want to see Inspector Morse’s face when he open his present! Great fun – thanks, Margot! 😀

  8. kathy d

    Will wonders never cease at this blog? What a great idea and done so well, and humorously. I think Commissario Brunetti could probably come up with an appropriate gift for anyone, because he’d get Paola Falier’s advice, but a nice bottle of Italian wine would always be a good choice. Salvo Montalbano, hmmm. He probably doesn’t have a clue, but to have him get a gift for independent V.I. Warshawski would be hilarious. Or Commissaire Adamsberg — he does not have a clue; Danglard or Retancourt would have to help him.
    What would Sherlock Holmes get other sleuths — maybe a giant magnifying glass or a microscope to examine clues, or a book on forensic science. He would be very scholarly and scientific in his gift buying. No frivolity here.
    But universally, wine is almost always good no matter what country or culture one lives in.

    • Kathy – Thanks for the kind words. And I absolutely love your additions. I really enjoyed the mental picture of Montalbano looking for the right gift for Warshawski. Adamsberg, too, for the matter of that, and Sherlock Holmes. Your ideas are funny! As you say, wine is one of those gifts that can just about always fill the bill.

  9. I just loved this – and all of the helpful suggestions in the comments! I can imagine Pepe Carvalho gifting Philip Marlowe with dinner at a fancy restaurant – perhaps one of the famous chefs from Barcelona. And Marlowe imbibes too much whiskey beforehand and becomes very vocal about the fancy and tiny portions on his plate.

  10. Thanks for making me smile, Margot. I just don’t know how you manage to keep up the consistently high standard of your blog. Compliments of the season to you.

    • Christine – Thank you, and my best wishes to you too. Thanks also for the very kind words about the post and the blog. I’m very glad you enjoy what you find here.

  11. So funny! Mr Crimeworm was even roused from the football results (no mean feat, I assure you!) to ask me what I was laughing it! Wonderfully clever Margot!! You do rather well over there – two big grade days barely week’s apart! Anyway, I do hope you have the most wonderful Christmas and a grand New Year! xx

    • Thanks for the kind words, Crimweworm. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. I wish you all the very best for the holiday season as well :-). Oh, and I know all about spouses and sport. Mr COAMN is not easily distracted either…

  12. Grade=feast . Apologies; predictive text!

  13. What an original post. You must have had a lot of fun writing it. 🙂

  14. Very clever and entertaining, Margot. Amazing how many different personalities there are in mysteries.

  15. What a great idea, Margot. And as always, perfect execution. Some of those sleuths are unknown to me, but the ones I recognize, had me rolling!
    Perhaps they should stick to sleuthing.

    BTW- back to internet connectivity after two trips to rural India, and yours is the only place I visited after getting back!

    • Natasha – Thank you *blush* – I’m quite chuffed. Glad you’re back safely, too. Oh, and very glad you enjoyed this post. I think you’re right; it’s probably best to let sleuths solve crimes…

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