Brown River Queen cover art

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Markhat Revealed!

People are always asking me questions. Usually these questions are "Why aren't you wearing pants?" or "Is that your car up there in the tree?"

First of all, I am seldom without trousers. And second, most of these voices are in my head, and most of the time they just want me to panic so they can laugh and say 'Made you look!'

And yes, I have suffered numerous concussions. But that's really beside the point.

Lately, though, I have been asked more than once how I picture my fictional detective Markhat when I'm writing him.

That's easy. Markhat sprang to life with his face complete, and now, for the first time anywhere, I reveal it here, to you:

Yep. My fictional detective Markhat is a dead ringer for actor Timothy Hutton. Specifically, Timothy Hutton as he (brilliantly) portrayed fictional detective Archie Goodwin in A&E's 'Nero Wolfe' TV series.

Strange how these things work out, isn't it?

Here's another shot, of Markhat loitering with two women who are not Darla:

Speaking of Darla, I have an image in my head of her too. But I've not been able to match it exactly with anyone I can name. Darla is tall, slender, brown-eyed, black-haired, and just a touch pale. She wears her hair in a bob cut reminiscent of a Roaring Twenties flapper. She tends to be a conservative dresser, but favors purples and browns and umbers. She might wear a pillbox hat with a tiny bit of veil on it.

Any ideas?

Gina Bellman has been suggested. She works with Mr. Hutton now, on the TNT's show Leverage (which I love). She has a great look, and I think she'd be a wonderful Darla, given the right hairstyle. Here she is, below:

Darla is smart, brave, and nobody's shrinking violet. Bellman certainly has the look!

What do you guys think? Tell you what. Reply in the comments section, or email me at with your picks for actors to portray Markhat and Darla. The winner gets an all-expenses-paid trip to the set of the Markhat motion picture, OR I name a character after them in the new Markhat book, whichever event takes place first (I leave it to your judgment to determine the likelihood of that particular scenario).

So Timothy Hutton and Gina Bellman are taken. Who else should play Markhat and Darla? Contest starts...NOW! And runs until next Sunday, when I do another blog entry.

And for the benefit of anyone out there scratching their head and asking "Who is this Markhat character anyway?" I offer this, a complete listing of the Markhat books, in the order they are best read.

Dead Man's Rain

The Cadaver Client

The Mister Trophy

Hold the Dark

The Banshee's Walk

The Broken Bell

Don't have a Kindle? No worries, they're available in print too. Here's a link to all formats:

Frank's books on Amazon, including print!

So let's see who YOU think should play Markhat and Darla!


  1. I see Richard Armitage as Markhat though a bit more shaggy-haired and with a stubble...

  2. I like Lacey Chabert for Darla

  3. I had suggested Phyllis Diller for Mama Hog, but she passed away. So now I'm going with Cloris Leachman.

  4. Thanks April! I like both of your suggestions. Especially Lacey -- she'd be a great Darla!

    Kellie, Chloris Leachman is perfect! Especially if they shrunk her digitally, like they did the Hobbits in Lord of the Rings. Give the woman a meat cleaver and yell ACTION!

  5. Essie Davis who plays Phryne Fisher in an Aussie TV series set in the 20s had the hair and the wonderful dress sense that is Darla's