Of course Albert Campion is a pseudonym – my hero is also referred to as ‘Rudolph’, ‘Christopher Twelvetrees’ and ‘Orlando’ - but we know that he is the younger son of an aristocratic family and has displeased them with his mysterious exploits.
So, Albert: In the earlier novels, which are set in the ‘20s at the height of the Bright Young Thing mania, he is a pleasant young man who is described as six foot tall, thin with pale blonde hair and light blue eyes which are concealed behind ridiculous, owlish tortoiseshell spectacles. He has a vacant, almost foolish expression that – now this is the sexy part – grows deceptively vague at the moment when his brilliant mind is working feverishly to solve the problem. HOT. Campion moves effortlessly between disparate worlds – that of the aristocracy and the criminal underworld and his suave, affable manner usually charms anyone he encounters. He’s physically fit and brave and has excellent taste in clothes and interior design.
As he ages the blonde hair becomes paler and he acquires a certain hardness from his various adventures (spying in WW2, solving countless murders and despicable plots) which makes him even more attractive. I don’t really fancy Peter Davison in the BBC series of the books, just the Campion that I have constructed in my mind – the affable adventurer with a frighteningly sharp mind, delightful wit and stern sense of honour. Sigh. I also have a bit of a thing for Campion’s policeman pal Charlie Luke who I like to imagine looking like Rufus Sewell, but beefier.
Now is this just me, or do you have crushes on fictional characters too? I don’t know, there’s just something so liberating about being able to construct a version of a person in your imagination, based simply on what you know of them from the words on a page, that’s so intense and personal. No-one else will see them in quite the same way as you do, you can tailor their looks, mannerisms and personality to your specific tastes and they’ll never disappoint you.*
Tell me which heroes and heroines do you fancy! Anyone have a crush on Sherlock Holmes? Nurturing a burning, secret passion for Lisbeth Salander? Or shall we broaden this out to include fictional characters on TV and in film? Note I don’t mean the actors or actresses who play the parts, but the characters themselves.
*Except when the hunky, noble Sir Baldwin Furnshill cheated on his beautiful wife in The Outlaws of Ennor by Michael Jecks – I never read those books again. BETRAYED.