Engaging in a good puzzle means more than just trying to solve puzzles. The best mysteries pull us right into the detective's life: we cheer when they uncover a crucial clue, and groan when they step squarely onto a telltale sign but don't see it.
In other words, our relationship with crime solvingProtagonistcan mean the difference between a great crime novel and one doomed to sit on the shelf forever.
Best Fictional Detectives in Literature
In no particular order, here are some of the best fictional detectives in history:
1. Sherlock Holmes
Classic writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle came up with something when Sherlock Holmes first stepped onto the site. Who would have thought that the eccentric, forgetful man Dr. Watson goes on board, can read characters in bare footsteps or markings on the wall? As he likes to say, "Primary, my dear Watson."
Since his birth in the 19th century, Holmes has been portrayed on radio shows, on stage and even in film as one of the most popular fictional detectives of all time.
Ever since they hit bookshelves in the late 1920s, brothers Joe and Frank Hardy have inspired countless boys to seek adventure of their own. The first books in the series were praised for offering excellent quality of writing, not common in children's books at the time.
Since then, the Hardy Boys have appeared on TV shows, computer games, and even inspired a parody in South Park.
Best-selling author byThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, brings us Douglas Adams Dirk Gently, whose real name is Svlad Cjelli in his booksThe holistic detective agency by Dirk Gentlyand theLong dark tea time of the soul.
Dirk takes a "holistic" approach to his investigations, which gives him reason to take a tropical vacation and count it against his bills. A quirk of his investigations is that his clients never seem to be able to pay him!
4. Philipp Marlowe
Raymond Chandler first created the rough, hard-drinking, but oddly charming Philip Marlowe in his bookThe Big Sleep.Despite his gruff personality, Marlowe is actually highly educated in philosophy and poetry, and also plays a mean game of chess.
His quirks include being finicky about his coffee and not easily influenced by women who try to seduce him. Since then he has appeared in radio shows, films, television adaptations and even a video game.
5. Mr. Peter Wimsey
As the lead detective in Dorothy Sayers' classic detective novels, Lord Peter Wimsey first appears in the 1923 book.Whose body?Since then, he has successfully solved murder mysteries in 5 short stories and 13 novels, as well as several film, radio, television, and stage adaptations.
While solving various mysteries as a hobby, Lord Wimsey also writes his own books and is known as a lover of classical music, fashion and wine. Some critics believe that Sayers created the character as a light satire of upper-class Britain during this period.
The dignified Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, the brainchild of classic mystery legend Agatha Christie, is the main investigator in 33 of her novels and more than 50 short stories. He uses logical thinking to solve crimes, which he calls "order and method."
Since then, Poirot has been portrayed in film adaptations, television shows, radio plays and even on stage and in an animated series.
7. C. Auguste Dupin
Edgar Allan Poe's protagonist has played a significant role in the changing faces of crime fiction over the years.The Murders in the Rue MorguePublished in 1841, it is said to be the first detective novel published at a time when the term "detective" was not even in common use.
In this story, Poe C. introduces us to Auguste Dupin, who has almost superhuman reasoning and a deep understanding of how the criminal mind works.
Who says detectives have to be male? Agatha Christie's older maid Jane Marple has starred in 20 of Christie's short stories and 12 of her novels. She is known for spending her free time solving mysteries in her hometown of St. Mary Mead.
Over the course of 40 years, Miss Marple has evolved significantly: she started as a curious gossip girl but grew into a well-educated woman who uses her experience, knowledge and wit to solve problems. She is known for relating her cases to things that happened in her past.
Josephine Teysthe daughter of timeDescribed by the Crime Writers' Association as the greatest crime novel of all time brings us an inspector from Scotland Yard. Rather than investigating a current case, Grant actually goes back 300 years to examine the life of Richard III, the War of the Roses and the Tudor Empire.
Sue Grafton's private investigator Kinsey Millhone is a highly independent, rebellious woman who is also practical and funny. She's known for not shying away from a difficult job, even if it means breaking the rules at times. She is the main character in Grafton'sAlphabetSerie.
11.Professor Robert Langdon
Dan Brown strolled onto the best-seller lists with his superbly done detective Robert Langdon, making his debut inangels and demons,followed byThe da Vinci Code.His uniqueness lies in the fact that he is not a professional investigator; Instead, he's actually a professor at Harvard University, teaching art history and a fictional field called "symbology."
Dan Brown allegedly created Langdon as a fictional alter ego of himself. But he shares that he named Robert Langdon after a real-life typography professor, John Langdon, known for his ambigrams, some of which appear inangels and demons.
12.Wilhelm von Baskerville
InThe name of the Rose, Umberto Eco brings us a medieval Franciscan friar with a young sidekick to solve mysteries in 14th-century Italian monasteries. William is portrayed as having great reasoning and analytical skills. A 1986 film adaptation starred Sean Connery as William.
Another detective in priestly garb, G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown stars in 51 short stories as a short and plump Catholic priest who lacks a fashion sense. Though severely lacking in glamor or elegance, his intuition would always lead him to solve the crime. He was known for putting himself in the criminal's shoes and understanding which of the suspects had the clearest motive for committing the crime.
Dashiell Hammett brings us Sam Spade in his bestsellerThe Maltese Falcon.Complicated, intrepid, and quiet, Spade is known for bringing out the best in everyone.
Humphrey Bogart's portrayal of Spade in the third film adaptation ofThe Maltese Falconremains the absolute standard for all Hollywood detective stories.
PD James brings us oneArchetypethe British gentleman detective in the person of Adam Dalgliesh: With a long cultural family history, Dalgliesh is known for writing poetry and being a very private man who spends a lot of time alone. Oh, and he drives a Jaguar!
16. Nancy Drew
Nancy Drew has been inspiring young girls with her independent, purposeful attitude and flair since the 1930s. Much like her contemporaries, The Hardy Boys, Nancy has starred in many films, television shows, and video games since her inception nearly a century ago.
What does crime mean?
Detective fiction is a subgenre of detective or mystery novels in which a detective investigates a crime (usually murder).
The detective can be a professional, amateur, or retired crime detective. Sometimes they are reluctantly drawn into the situation to solve a crime.
Similar genres includeThrillerand generalsecrets.
read crime novels
readingCrime novelsis a great way to test your own skills by compiling clues and solving puzzles throughout the story.
There's nothing more satisfying than realizing that you can actually find out something, either with or before the lead investigator - except maybe when it's excitingplot twistleaves you clueless!
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Yen Kabagis the blog author of TCK Publishing. She is also a homeschooling mom, family coach, and spokesperson for the Charlotte Mason Method, an educational philosophy that emphasizes classic literature and the masterpieces in art and music. She has also written several books, both fiction and non-fiction. Her passion is turning the next generation of kids into reading and learning enthusiasts in the midst of short attention spans.