When Fictional Sleuths Go Christmas Shopping ;-)

When Sleuths Shop for ChristmasIt’s the last week before Christmas, and a lot of people are doing their final rounds of shopping and preparation. Everyone’s got a different way of buying gifts, so I thought it might be enlightening (or at least entertaining!) to think about how some of crime fiction’s sleuths go about it. So now, if you’ll kindly have your disbelief stay home and watch some holiday films, let’s take a look at what happens…


When Fictional Sleuths Go Christmas Shopping


I. Andy Dalziel (Reginald Hill)

Dalziel and Sgt. Wield are in Dalziel’s office.

Dalziel: One more thing, Wieldy. I’m needing a Christmas present for Ellie.
Wield: Ellie, Sir?
Dalziel: Aye, Ellie. Soothe some ruffled feathers, that sort of thing.
Wield: What’ll you get her?
Dalziel: I dunno, lad! Think I’d ask you if I did?
Wield: Right. Well, a food gift basket’s always welcome. You can find some nice ones, too. And not too expensive.
Dalziel: All right, then. What store, do you think?
Wield: I know just the one. She loves it. Here, I’ll write it for you. Scribbles a name and address on a piece of paper and pushes it across the desk to his boss. Dalziel nods his thanks.

Later that day, Dalziel goes into the store Wield suggested…

Shop Assistant: Welcome to The Good Life. How may I help you?
Dalziel: Do you have gift baskets?
Shop Assistant: We certainly do, Sir. We offer only all-organic, gluten-free, planet-friendly baskets. Now, would you be interested in our Orchard Treasures basket? Our Green Tea and Rest basket? We also have a lovely Natural Grains basket. Or perhaps (pointed look at Dalziel’s waistline) our Refresh and Fit basket?


II. Walt Longmire (Craig Johnson)

Longmire and Ruby are in his truck.

Longmire: Thanks for coming with me, Ruby. It’s getting harder and harder to buy Cady something she wants.
Ruby: No problem. I don’t want to hear you complain for the rest of the year that Cady didn’t like what you got her.
Longmire: I really wish we hadn’t had to drive into Sheridan for this, though.
Ruby: What do you care? You drive a lot further than this all the time.
Longmire: Guess so.

They arrive at the store.

Longmire (Looking askance at the store): You serious, Ruby? A cosmetics store?
Ruby (Smiling): You should thank me. Vic wanted me to take you to Victoria’s Secret…


III. Kurt Wallander (Henning Mankell)

Wallander is having coffee with his sometimes-lover, Baipa Liepa.

Walander: That’s the thing. I want to get something for Linda’s baby, but Mona always handled those things when Linda was that age. I have no idea what to get.
Baipa: Let’s take a walk. It’s not too cold, and maybe we’ll see something.
Wallander: All right.

The two are walking….

Baipa: How about here?
Wallander: I’m not sure about that.
Baipa: We don’t have to stay long, and I’ll bet you’ll find something.
Wallander, looking none too happy, nods in a resigned way and they walk in.
Christmas carols are playing loudly on the store’s sound system. A determinedly cheerful young man, dressed as a Christmas elf, greets them:
Welcome to Lattjo Toys, where all your Christmas dreams come true!
Just then, a small child rushes by, brushing against Wallander and smearing chocolate on his sleeve.


IV. Annika Bengtzon (Liza Marklund)

Annika is having a glass of wine with her friend Anne.

Anne: So, have you finished your Christmas shopping yet?
Annika: No, not yet. I still need to get something for my cousin Klara.
Anne: Any ideas?
Annika: I don’t know. She’s getting married in a few months, and I was thinking of getting her something for their home.
Anne: Good idea! I know just the place, too. It’s called Lilian’s. They’re supposed to have all kinds of bridal things there.
Annika: All right. Go with me?
Anne: Sure. I might even look around. I’ve never been in.

Later, the two go into Lilian’s.

Shop Assistant: May I help you?
Annika: Thanks. I’m looking for the right gift for my cousin, who’s getting married in a few months.
Shop Assistant: Wonderful! I have just the thing. We’ve got some lovely treasures in our ‘Together Forever’ collection.
Annika (Looking a bit doubtful): Could you show me a few things?
Shop Assistant: Absolutely. Right this way. Here we’ve got some things I really love. The ‘Together Forever’ collection has everything from matching ‘his and hers’ hand towels, to these heart-shaped ‘photo frames, to these beautiful wine glasses. See? They’ve got ‘Bride’ and “Groom’ etched on them. Perfect for those special nights. She winks knowingly.


V. Hercule Poirot (Agatha Christie)

Poirot is talking to George.

Poirot: And so you see, Georges, I would like to get something special for Miss Lemon.
George: A very good idea, Sir. Perhaps I might suggest something?
Poirot: Ah, non, merci. I already have the best idea. I want to give Miss Lemon a new desk and office chair. Something that will be comfortable for her.
George: An excellent idea, Sir. I was thinking something along the same lines myself.
Poirot: Bon. Now, I must choose the furniture and arrange for delivery. Putting his hat on. Please arrange for a taxi for me, Georges, as I do not know how far this place is.
George: Yes, Sir. If I may ask, where are you planning to go?
Poirot: I have heard that Asda sells the sort of thing I want.
George: But, Sir…
Poirot: Not now, Georges. I am in a hurry. Puts his coat on and gets ready to leave.
George: Shaking his head sorrowfully and muttering to himself. I don’t know what he’ll do when he learns that Asda’s owned by WalMart.


So there you have it. What sort of shopping experience do you think your top fictional sleuths would have??

ps. You may notice that I didn’t include Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe here. Now that he’s learned to shop online, he has no need to go out… 😉


Filed under Agatha Christie, Craig Johnson, Henning Mankell, Liza Marklund, Reginald Hill

21 responses to “When Fictional Sleuths Go Christmas Shopping ;-)

  1. Haha! Great post! Poor Andy Dalziel! It’ll take him till New Year to recover!

    But you forgot one detective who epitomises the Christmas spirit…

    Rebus bumps into Siobhan as he comes out of a shop carrying a bottle bag with pictures of Santa on it.

    Siobhan: What’s that you’ve got there then?
    Rebus: 20-year-old Highland Park, single malt…
    Siobhan: In a gift bag?
    Rebus: Aye, it’s for Malcolm Fox.
    Siobhan: But, John, he’s teetotal!
    Rebus: I know, but he’s invited me round for dinner…

    • 😆 Oh, FictionFan, that’s fabulous!! I absolutely love it! Thank you! And I’m so glad you filled in that gap. There was only so much room in this one post, so I was hoping you good folk would round it out. You sure did. And that’s just exactly the sort of gift I would expect Rebus to buy for ol’ Malcom…

  2. Russell Quant (Anthony Bidulka) and Kinsey Milhone (Sue Grafton)

    Ring !

    Quant: Hey Kinsey, its Russell calling from sunny Saskatchewan. How’s life in beach country?
    Milhone: Just fine Russell, what’s up?
    Quant: Well, Margot Kinberg just put up a post on sleuths buying Christmas gifts and I had a great idea.
    Milhone: Which is?
    Quant: Margot does a lot to promote authors and books from around the world and I thought we should get her a present.
    Milhone: I like it. What should we get?
    Quant: She likes hats. I was thinking we should get her a ball cap. I think she still loves the Philadelphia Eagles. Why don’t you head down to the New Era store on Melrose in L.A.?
    Milhone: I’m on my way.

    At New Era

    Milhone: I would like a Philadelphia Eagles ball cap for my good friend Margot.
    Clerk: Would that be a fitted cap or a snapback cap or a stretch fit cap?
    Milhone: I just want a ball cap.
    Clerk: We want to ensure the right cap for the right head.
    Milhone: Oh my! Well, what about for the woman with lots of curly hair?
    Clerk: I think we should be looking for a customized cap with the Pinnacle Silhouette look specifically designed and personally crafted for your friend.
    Milhone: What?

    (Great post Margot. Thanks for remembering Nero entering the online world of shopping last Christmas.)

    • Thanks for your comment, Bill – Oh, wait just a moment. I just got flagged that there’s an important email coming in….. Hey, wow! I just got an email that there’s a gift on the way to me from New Era! Oh, my!! That’s such a nice store! I don’t usually indulge there, so this will be a real treat. Wonder what it could be. Hmm…..It’s not my birthday, so it must be a holiday present. How nice. I’ll just have to wait and see what it is and whom it’s from.

      (This was absolutely hilarious, Bill! Thank you 🙂 – pitch perfect. And of course I remembered Nero Wolfe’s an online shopper now. Amazon is still trying to figure out the meaning of flummery)

  3. This was entertaining, Margot. Thanks! I enjoyed reading FictionFan’s and Bill’s contributions too. Now if only I’d make time to actually read all these wonderful mystery writers.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post, Prashant. And I agree: FictionFan and Bill made outstanding additions. I’m still chuckling over them. And about having time to read? I only wish I had the time to read all I want to read…

  4. Such fun, thanks for coming up with this Margot. Wonderful.

  5. Kathy D.

    You’re right on all counts about all these possibilities. And Nero Wolfe could shop online, but I’m not sure he would; he’s not a gift-buyer in general. He has paid for college for a young woman, though. Now maybe he’d invite people for dinner so Fritz could cook for them.
    V.I. Warshawski would order wine online for friends.
    Salvo Montalbano would ask Adelina to prepare dinner for friends or else he’d purchase some mysteries by Sciascia or by the eccentric Camilleri.
    And Guido Brunetto, I fear, would ask Paola Falier to get a gift, or else he’d ask Elettra Zorzi to find a good gift online at an obscure shop which only she could locate, given her skills. Or else he’d purchase a classic Roman military journal, if anything. Paola might just buy books by Henry James as gifts.
    Commissaire Adamsberg would completely blow it; I mean, can you imagine him in a department store? Even shopping online?
    Annika Bengtzon would rush into a store on her way to a crime scene for her job, buy the first thing she sees and rush out.
    Irene Huss would buy a thoughtful gift, perhaps related to martial arts.

    • Thanks, Kathy. And I absolutely love your suggestions, too. I can just imagine what Adamsberg would be like trying to shop, online or onground – hilarious!!! Just hilarious!

  6. What a fun post, and the comment section was fun too. So creative. Love it!

    • Very glad you liked this post, Sue. And you’re right: the comments are fabulous. The thoughts shared by people who comment on these posts are the best part of this blog.

  7. Col

    Entertaining post Margot and a reminder to try one of Hill’s D+P novels.
    Maybe Elvis Cole needs to visit a Disney store to refresh his office decor.

  8. Loved the Longmire scene — I can just see Walt in Victoria’s Secret trying to shop for his daughter. The cosmetic store was definitely a better choice.

  9. Great post Margot, really funny.
    I can see Elly Griffiths’ Harry Nelson trying desperately to get the right thing for wife Michelle and on-off Ruth – I feel that the two women might sort him out in the end, they might even choose something for each other…

  10. Pingback: Crime Fiction News Break | Confessions of a Mystery Novelist...

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