Top 5: Stefanie Pintoff


Dobbs Ferry resident Stefanie Pintoff’s first novel, In the Shadow of Gotham—which takes place in some Hudson-side neighborhoods we may find strikingly familiar—brought home the Edgar Award for Best First Novel this year. (The Edgar is like the Oscars of mystery novels.) Pintoff’s second crime novel, A Curtain Falls, was released in May. We figured this makes Pintoff qualified to name her favorite fictional detectives. “No detective on my list is ‘an eccentric’ in the style of Sherlock Holmes,” she says, “but each has some unique quality that enables him to see the world through a different lens.”

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1) C. August Dupin (created by Edgar Allan Poe)
“Dupin is considered by many to be literature’s first detective—and he is the main reason Edgar Allan Poe is often cited as the ‘father of the detective novel,’” she says. “Like so many detectives who follow him, he is an eccentric character who relies on his keen observations and analytical mind to solve the crime.”

2) Philip Marlowe (created by Raymond Chandler)
Pintoff describes Raymond Chandler’s detective as “a wisecracking, hard-drinking character with a penchant for chess and poetry. His best trait as a detective is his uncanny ability to spot a lie. I love him in Chandler’s books, but he will always be a favorite of mine because of how Humphrey Bogart brings him to life in The Big Sleep.”

3) Detective Inspector Adam Dalgliesh (created by P.D. James)
“P.D. James’s creation is cerebral and aloof, a published poet as well as an accomplished detective,” she says. “I like the way he thinks: he brings a creative mind and a solid understanding of the psychology of motive to his many cases.”

4) Lincoln Rhyme (created by Jeffery Deaver)
“Jeffrey Deaver’s retired criminalist, left a quadriplegic by a horrible crime-scene accident, can sometimes be irascible and quick-tempered. But he’s always a brilliant forensic scientist, able to untangle the most baffling of crime scenes.”

5) Chief Inspector Armand Gamache (created by Louise Penny)
“He’s been called a ‘twenty-first-century Hercule Poirot’—but I like him better,” she says. “Louise Penny’s French-Canadian detective is devoted to his wife, a lover of poetry, and fiercely intelligent. Above all else, though, he is a decent man.”

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