Story: A journalist covering the drug scene on a Los Angeles beach soon finds himself embroiled in a bigger mystery involving a bigamist and his beautiful wife.
Detective: Irwin M. Fletcher
Release Date:  May 31, 1985
Writer: Andrew Bergman
Source: Fletch by Gregory McDonald
Mystery Analysis:
Detective as protagonist?

Jenny: Yep, right off the bat.  Good start.
Lani: Yes, and he’s right into the trouble as soon as the movie fades in. Well done.
Murderer as antagonist?
Jenny: Yep, right off the bat.  Plus Tim Matheson.  Excellent start.
Lani: Yes, and he’s there from the start. You could argue that Karlin is also an antagonist, and you’d be right, but he’s also there at the start; although we don’t see him until later, his influence is right there, causing trouble on the beach when Gummy’s getting beat up. So no matter who you think the main antagonist is – it’s Matheson – both antagonists are active in the opening scene.
Conflict created by mystery/murder?
Jenny: Yes, by the request for murder.
Lani: Yes.
Fair play with all the clues given?
Jenny: Yep, we see them as Fletch finds them.
Lani: Yes; we see everything as Fletch finds it. We don’t get his deduction; he says he figured it out when Gail said he was about the same size as her husband, and he doesn’t tell us that. He doesn’t have to. We get the clue, and we can make the deduction from that as well. I kind of liked that he had it figured, but we still had to do our own work.
Solved using deduction, not luck?
Jenny: Yes.  Except for the glaring coincidence at the beginning which is allowable since it’s the first move in the plot, every is discovered using logical deduction.
Lani: Yes; Fletch (well, Smart Fletch) figures it all out on his own. Stupid Fletch sticks straws up his nose.

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Jenny says: 3 Pops  (They had a good book and they put garbage in it.)
Mystery: 5, Craft: 2, Suspense: 2, Romance: N/A, Comedy: 3
Lani says: 4 Pops
Mystery: 5, Craft: 4, Suspense: 2, Romance: n/a, Comedy: 3

IMPORTANT NOTE: I recommended the Fletch books on the podcast, and then afterward sat down to read the first book for the first time in about twenty years.  In this book, he sleeps with a fifteen-year-old, a detail I evidently missed the first time around.  I no longer recommend the Fletch books. Try the Flynn books. Francis Xavier Flynn is a good guy.

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8 responses to “Fletch”

  1. You know, I haven’t read the books (and now uh…won’t be), but it seemed like a drastically different movie to me since I wasn’t comparing it to the book. Mostly it seemed fine by me. Sure, it had plenty of Silly Chevy Chase Moments (like any Robin Williams or Adam Sandler movie…not overly thrilled with that, but it seems to be a requirement of the entertainment industry), but beyond that it pretty much worked for me and I was entertained, even though I seem to forget most of the plot after I’ve watched the movie every time. Which is why I re-rented this even though I last watched it a few months ago.

  2. The plotting in the book is good and it has a much better ending, I think, although I think the movie had to go with this one. McDonald just seems to have a tin ear for women-as-people. Of course it was written in 1974, but still . . .

  3. It’s just you. No ducks.
    Might have been me sneezing or blowing my nose. Alastair tries to cut all of that out, but it might have ended up on Lani’s audio and then he wouldn’t have been able to get it.

  4. Oh, well, then we have ducks.
    Actually, there are a lot of ducks on the river, so we do have ducks. But the windows weren’t open, so I don’t think that’s what you heard. Unless one of them landed on the deck. I have a glass door in my bedroom that leads out to the deck, and I looked up one day and two turkey buzzards were out there sunning themselves. Kind of cool. Pictures are here: http://www.arghink.com/2006/07/14/there-goes-the-neighborhood/

  5. I’m soooo very far behind in viewing and posting as life has been elevated to LIFE recently. I vaguely remember renting Fletch from the video store when I had a Betamax and watching it one night at a friends house because my mom hates Chevy Chase. She still does but I think he’s grown into his skills. This, sadly, is not a great vehicle for either a comedy or a mystery.

    You mentioned the V.I. Warshawski movie several times. I had that on a loop my senior year in college while working on my thesis on women in detective fiction. It truly has flaws that I don’t think purists of the books would ever forgive, but it’s not another Fletch. It’s more of the hair-tossing, tight jean, and leave out essential characters issues – as I recall. I could be really wrong though – that was going on 20yrs ago and time has not been kind to my memory in some ways:)