Serendipity- the faculty of making happy and unexpected discoveries by accident (OED)
Do you think of serendipity as random good luck?
Gert did too until she actually read the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip from which the word comes. Horace Walpole put us on the wrong track when he described the three princes in the tale as “always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of”. In fact the three princes were an early version of Sherlock Homes, using keen observation to make inferences about a stolen camel that turned out to be true, amazing everyone. So there was nothing flukey about it.
Voltaire has a variant of the story in Zadig, and Wikipedia says Edgar Allan Poe in his turn was probably inspired by Zadig when he created C. Auguste Dupin in “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, calling it a “tale of ratiocination” where “the extent of information obtained lies not so much in the validity of the inference as in the quality of the observation.” Poe’s M. Dupin stories mark the start of the modern detective fiction genre. Émile Gaboriau, and Arthur Conan Doyle were perhaps also influenced by Zadig.
That said, not all detectives are as coolly reasonable as Sherlock. There’s more than a little serendipity in the random sense in Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, don’t you think?