Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Competition: the great tenant-detectives

Competition time.

The recent passing of the great detective novelist P D James got us thinking back to our very first tenancy culture study, in which we considered the case of Sherlock Holmes: the 'very worst tenant in London', and a terrible flatmate to poor old Dr Watson. We noted briefly that Holmes was but the first in a literary tradition of tenant-detectives.

(P D James (right) and Ruth Rendell)

So the challenge we put to you, dear reader, is: identify another tenant-detective in fiction and tell us why being a tenant is significant to the character (a few words will suffice, or go for a full-length tenancy culture study, if you like).

The prize for the best entry: a copy of '13 Steps Down', the landlord-tenant murder thriller by Ruth Rendell, contender for James's title as reigning Queen of Crime and, previously, Vice President of Shelter (England).  

Send your entry to us by email [], private message on Facebook, fax, postcard, letter written in invisible ink, mysterious message written in fog on a bathroom mirror, or what have you. Entries close midnight Saturday 31 January.

Get reading!

[UPDATE 16 January: news has just been released that Ruth Rendell has had a stroke. We wish her well – she's our favourite crime writer-housing activist. The tenant-detective competition proceeds.]


  1. I nominate Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade. For the significance of being a tenant, how about this line form the Maltese Falcon:
    "Don't be too sure I'm as crooked as I'm supposed to be"

  2. A worthy entry, Anon... but we don't know your name or contact details! Please let us know by email, etc.


Please keep your comments PC - that is, polite and civilised. Comments may be removed at the discretion of the blog administrator; no correspondence will be entered into. Comments that are abusive of individual persons, or are sexist, racist or otherwise offensive will be removed, so don’t bother leaving them.