The 12 Greatest Fictional Detectives (Who Aren't Sherlock Holmes) (2023)

We all love Sherlock Holmes, but maybe we've loved him enough by now. There are many great detectives out there. If you're looking for an incredibly intelligent fictional detective who isn't raising a deerstalker hat, check out a list of the other best detectives the world has to offer.


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12) Alex Cross

Alex Cross, the protagonist of a series of novels beginning withThere came a spider, is the quietest member of a list that includes several little old ladies. His hobbies include playing the piano, owning a contented cat, and silently observing social injustice. He has chosen to live in the Have-Nots populated area of ​​Washington and spends much of his time as a consulting detective and psychologist working on the operatic crimes committed on and by the Haves. Both persistent and empathetic, he proves that you don't have to be an idiot to be a great detective - even when people give you every reason to be an idiot.


11) Mr Peter Wimsey

Peter Wimsey was created in part as a wish-fulfillment fantasy. When Dorothy L. Sayers, a scholar and essayist, was feeling depressed about her material circumstances, she would write a scene or two of the amateur detective sipping the finest wine in his opulent townhouse as a prelude to a ride in his 1927 Daimler Take Participate in an auction of ancient documents - or solve a murder case. Rich and carefree, though burdened with a lingering shock from his time in World War I, Lord Peter Wimsey appears frivolous until he accomplishes something spectacularly brilliant. InWhose body?, the first book in his series, Wimsey's best moment doesn't come when he takes on the killer, but when he takes a medical student (who unwittingly witnessed part of a crime a week ago) over for dinner. With wine and conversation, he expertly turns the man's mind back so he can competently recall a pivotal moment without letting the guy know he's witnessed a crime.

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10) Precious Ramotswe

founder ofThe #1 Female Detective Agency in Botswana, Ramotswe might be the only true extrovert on this list. Her optimism, energy, and kindness blind the offenders and even the reader for a while to how well she can solve confusing situations. Her books may be too easy for people who expect their detectives to constantly find themselves in the midst of sordid, smoldering family feuds or the targets of diabolical and well-connected criminal masterminds, but Ramotswe lacks drama, not wits, guts or talent.


9) Ralf Dibny

Yes, I know Batman is the "greatest detective alive," but anyone can call themselves a title. Does Batman have a magic nose that smells when something is wrong? No. Did Batman continue to be spotted in ghost form after he was dead? No. Is Batman hired by J'onn J'onzz, a Martian who works as a detective on Earth, to be a detective for him? No. So Batman loses this one. Ralph Dibny is literally a detective's detective. Sip on it, Batman.


8) Charlie Chan

Charlie Chan is a controversial figure. His comics, books, films, and radio shows are very "out of their time"; Chan often speaks broken English, has a permanent grin and doesn't stop at the aphorisms. But in 1925, whenThe house without a keycame out, he was the most positive Chinese character ever introduced to American and European audiences. Since then, Chan has inspired interpretations across five decades and three continents. What's more, it was himbased on a real guy. Chang Apana was an American detective working in Hawaii. Clever and badass (he carried a bullwhip), he inspired Earl Derr Biggers to write something other than the typical British gentleman detective. There's no denying the works are offensive, but Chan is still smart and capable.


(Video) Sherlock Holmes - Season 1 - Episode 33 - The Case of the Baker Street Bachelors

7) NeroWolf

Fat, picky, and stuck, Nero Wolfe doesn't do much except eat and think. But then he doesn't have to do anything else because he does both so well. Definitely don't open a book about him without something to eat in front of you. That means agonizing over descriptions of allis shad roe and roast duck and big breakfasts.


Wolfe comes closest to the Holmese model on this list, as we never get to see him except through the eyes of his chronicler, Archie Goodwin. However, unlike Holmes, we don't expect any exploits or exploits from Wolfe. He talks, he listens, he thinks and the case is solved.

6) Jessica Fletcher

Jesse Fletcher is the old lady we all want to be. She has plenty of money to travel the country, fame from her writing career, professional contacts in every police department around the world (and meets Tom Selleck during a crossover episodeMagnum P.I.), and she lives in a town where all her annoying neighbors are murdered.


Fletcher is one of the slimmer detectives on this list. Aside from being a writer, she doesn't have too many eccentricities. She doesn't fall in love with the wrong person. She doesn't waste her time on meaningless drama. She does not burden herself with eccentric clothes or behavior. She just does the damn work. Compared to Jessica, Sam Spade is a drama queen.


5) Hercule Poirot

This guy could get lost among the many other sophisticated detectives with her eccentric nature and long, suspenseful speeches in the drawing room at the end of the book. However, through a bit of alchemy, Poirot manages to set himself apart. Maybe it's because he appeared in the IncomparableMord im Orient-Express. Perhaps it's the fact that the mustache and accent made him an instant icon that every single detective parody can easily relate to. More often than not, however, he's one of the few detectives who's purposely meant to look silly - not silly in our view or silly of our time, just plain silly. The combination of grandiose ego, low-grade embarrassment, good heart and mangled English grammar makes every moment in a Poirot tale a giggle, even as it amazes you with its brilliance.


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4) Dirk Soft

In a genre very concerned with the physical, it's nice to have at least one metaphysical detective. Dirk Gently is sort of the anti-Holmes. He explicitly rejects Holmes' famous maxim: "Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever is improbable must be the truth." Dirk does not want to "eliminate the impossible" and makes it clear why. He would rather keep his mind circling around seemingly impossible concepts (which he says is just acknowledging that we don't know some things about physical reality) than believing in things totally contrary to human nature. It makes sense when he explains it. Or maybe it doesn't make sense, but he's still right in all the books.


3) Miss Marple

What makes the stories of Miss Marple interesting, especially those in the television series, is the contrast. Miss Marple is the sweetest and most grandmotherly lady one could wish to have tea with. She travels to the most picturesque villages in England. And as she converses with people over crumpets and jam, she reveals the seething cauldron of resentment, pain, murder, abuse and incest that lies just beneath the surface of every town she visits. On every single vacation this woman has, she stumbles upon things that Rust Cohle encounters only once in a decade. How she doesn't burn herself just to feel something is beyond me. But no, she's just knitting in her wagon on the way to the next atrocity.


2) Veronica Mars

Smart, tough, and preternaturally cocky, Veronica Mars is the teenager we all wanted to be - even those of us who have grown up. But she's not just the perfect teenager for audiences to project themselves on. Mars has a gift for spotting mistakes - being too big for herself, always reaching out to the wrong person, taking advantage of her friends without a second thought - which we can recognize as problems but cannot blame them for. As for her particular strengths, while all of the characters on this list are smart, only Veronica Mars truly delights in her cleverness and how she can use it to set traps for the idiots she is up against. No other detective on this list had as much fun being so mean.


1) Colombo

Oh, and just one more thing.

Listen, there's one more thing.

ThereIsjust one more thing.

I'm sorry,Onlyjust one thing.

(Video) SHERLOCK HOLMES | THE VOICE OF TERROR (1942) full movie | the best classic movies

We could listen to variations on this phrase for years... and we did. There really is no one better than the avuncular detective who lets his subjects breathe easy for a moment before turning and nailing them to the wall. It's not just the substance that puts a detective on the list of the best detectives in the world - it's the style. And this guy's style dictated the climax of every story. We sat on the edge of our seats through the rest of the story, only to get to the part where he casually mentioned "one more thing." And then we knew he had won.


Who is the greatest fictional detective of all time? ›

Sherlock Holmes

We start with perhaps the most famous detective ever. Sherlock Holmes has been iconic since the days when he was the subject of stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He's been portrayed in movies and television dozens of times.

Who is the number 1 detective in the world? ›

Sherlock Holmes

Quite possibly the most famous detective of all, Holmes has been a household name since publication — indeed, he was such a popular figure that when Conan Doyle killed him off in the story The Final Problem, Victorian London was said to have gone into mourning until Conan Doyle revived him!

Who is the smartest detective in fiction? ›

Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock)

The smartest TV detective of all time also has to be the most legendary fictional detective of all time.

Who is the best crime writer of all time? ›

1. Agatha Christie. A discussion of the best mystery writers usually starts with Agatha Christie. She is the best-selling author of all time, with 66 mystery books under her name.

Was there ever a detective like Sherlock Holmes? ›

While Sherlock Holmes himself is a fictional character, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle based his famous detective on a real person: Dr. Joseph Bell. Bell was a forensic scientist at Edinburgh University, and Doyle worked as a clerk for the doctor at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

What is the IQ of Sherlock Holmes? ›

For reference, the average IQ is 100. Einstein's IQ was estimated at 160, and the modern world agrees that he was a genius. Radford estimates Holmes' IQ at 190, which places him much, much higher than our crazy-haired scientist.

Who was the first fictional female detective? ›

In 1864, a little more than two decades after Edgar Allan Poe created the modern mystery form, the British writer Andrew Forrester, Jr. introduced the first female detective character, Mrs. Gladden, in The Experiences of a Lady Detective.

Who is the youngest detective in the world? ›

He was also, at one time, the youngest inspector on the police force.
George W. McClusky
DiedDecember 17, 1912 (aged 51) Manhattan, New York, US
Resting placeCalvary Cemetery
Other namesChesty George Gentleman George
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Who is a famous female detective? ›

Nancy Drew is one of the best-known "girl detectives", starring in a multi-authored series of books created by Edward Stratemeyer begun 1930. Played in film by Bonita Granville in Nancy Drew – Detective (1938), Nancy Drew...

What detective has solved the most murders? ›

Joseph Patrick Kenda (born November 14, 1946) is a retired Colorado Springs Police Department detective lieutenant who was involved in 387 homicide cases over a 23-year career, solving 356, a closure rate of 92%.

Who is famous as first fictional detective? ›

Auguste Dupin is generally considered to be the first fictional detective, and thus this character set a lot of precedents for how future fictional detective characters would behave and appear. For instance, Dupin is highly intellectual and seems disinterested in social interactions.

Who is smarter than Sherlock Holmes? ›

Genius-Level Intellect: Mycroft is immensely intelligent and possess incredible analytical and deduction abilities that surpass even his younger brother Sherlock, with Sherlock saying he has always been the "smart one" between them and, as children, even made Sherlock think he was a fool, and is only rivaled by Charles ...

What is the best thriller ever written? ›

The Best Thriller Books of All Time
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.
  • The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris.
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.
  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides.
  • The Talented Mr. ...
  • The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy.
  • The Guest List by Lucy Foley.
Jan 16, 2023

Who is the most respected author? ›

Best American Authors of All-Time: 11 Famous Authors and Their Works
  • Mark Twain, 1835 – 1910.
  • Ernest Hemingway, 1899 – 1961.
  • Herman Melville, 1819 – 1891.
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1896 – 1940.
  • John Steinbeck, 1902 – 1968.
  • Toni Morrison, 1931 – 2019.
  • J. D. Salinger, 1919 – 2010.
  • Joseph Heller, 1923 – 1999.

What mental disorder does Sherlock Holmes have? ›

Holmes is unique compared to an average human, but he is not a “high- functioning sociopath.” Holmes most likely suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, a minor case of Bipolar Disorder, and a hint of Savant Syndrome. Asperger's Syndrome causes Holmes to think in pictures and desire a close companionship with Dr. Watson.

Is the original Sherlock Holmes asexual? ›

"There's no indication in the original stories that he was asexual or gay. He actually says he declines the attention of women because he doesn't want the distraction.

Who was Sherlock in love with? ›

Benedict Cumberbatch says that his character fell for the charms of Irene Adler. Benedict Cumberbatch has revealed that his character Sherlock fell in love with Irene Adler in 'A Scandal in Belgravia'.

What personality types make the best detectives? ›

ISTP Personality Traits

Detectives are generally more reserved and prefer being alone. They are self-sufficient, independent thinkers. They are very observant and focus on the details of a situation, trusting facts and making decisions based on the here-and-now.

Who is the most famous private investigator? ›

1. Sherlock Holmes. You simply can't list out famous private investigators in film and television without talking about one of the most popular characters, not just in the mystery genre, but of all time — Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes was a character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the late 1800s.

Are most detectives male or female? ›

Research Summary.

There are over 15,022 detectives currently employed in the United States. 17.3% of all detectives are women, while 82.7% are men. The average age of an employed detective is 44 years old.

Who had an IQ of 500? ›

Marilyn vos Savant (/ˌvɒs səˈvɑːnt/; born Marilyn Mach; August 11, 1946) is an American magazine columnist who has the highest recorded intelligence quotient (IQ) in the Guinness Book of Records, a competitive category the publication has since retired.

What IQ is Albert Einstein? ›

His performance beats those of physicists Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein, who were both estimated to have IQs around 160.

What is the IQ of Dr Einstein? ›

What was Albert Einstein's IQ? Though some sources estimate theoretical physicist Albert Einstein's IQ was around 160, there is no indication he ever had his IQ tested, according to

Who is the most famous literary detective? ›

Sherlock Holmes, the world's most famous literary detective | The British Library.

What is a good name for a female detective? ›

Girl Detective Names: Trixie, Theolinda, Thursday and Tuppence | Nameberry.

Who was the first detective in real life? ›

Vidocq is considered to be the father of modern criminology and of the French national police force. He is also regarded as the first private detective.

What is the youngest age to be a detective? ›

Most police and detectives must graduate from their agency's training academy before completing a period of on-the-job training. Candidates must be U.S. citizens, usually at least 21 years old, and able to meet rigorous physical and personal qualifications. A felony conviction or drug use may disqualify a candidate.

Can you go straight in as a detective? ›

Specialising in investigation is a popular career pathway in policing. And some forces like the Metropolitan Police let you join straight into a trainee detective role – you don't always have to complete a probationary period as a frontline police constable before you apply.

Who is a famous homicide detective? ›

John Patrick St. John (February 18, 1918 – May 3, 1995), better known as "Jigsaw John", was an American police officer and Los Angeles Police Department homicide detective, renowned for his investigations of many of Los Angeles's highest-profile murder cases.

Who is the most famous detective in London? ›

If you're a sleuth yourself, and/or a fan of detective novels, you're no doubt familiar with the name of, arguably, London's most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is a fictional detective, created by the Scottish author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

What is the most famous unsolved crime? ›

Jack the Ripper

Probably the most famous serial murder mystery of all, the killings which took place in London 1888 have cemented themselves in the world of crime as one of the most infamous murder cases of all time.

Who is the number one famous serial killer? ›

Serial killers with the highest known victim count
NameCountryYears active
Ted BundyUnited States1974–1978
Vera RencziKingdom of Romania Yugoslavia Hungary (alleged)1920–1930
Fernando Hernández LeyvaMexico1982–1999
John Wayne GacyUnited States1972–1978
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Who is the most successful serial killer? ›

7 of History's Most Notorious Serial Killers
  • Jack the Ripper. We call him “Jack the Ripper,” but we don't really know who the person behind one of the older and most notorious murder sprees was. ...
  • Jeffrey Dahmer. ...
  • Harold Shipman. ...
  • John Wayne Gacy. ...
  • H.H. Holmes. ...
  • Pedro Lopez. ...
  • Ted Bundy.

Who is the famous fictional detectives? ›

The first famous detective in fiction was Edgar Allan Poe's C. Auguste Dupin. Later, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes became the most famous example and remains so to this day.

What is the oldest detective story? ›

Edgar Allan Poe's story, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," first appears in Graham's Lady's and Gentleman's Magazine. The tale is generally considered to be the first detective story. The story describes the extraordinary “analytical power” used by Monsieur C. Auguste Dupin to solve a series of murders in Paris.

Who is the father of crime fiction? ›

Edgar Allan Poe created a new literary genre when he wrote “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” Although mysteries were not a new literary form, Poe was the first to introduce a character that solved the mystery by analyzing the facts of the case.

What was Sherlock Holmes weakness? ›

This being said the greatest weakness Sherlock Holmes has is that he isn't remotely as cold and heartless as he would have you believe. There are few people who truly ever get close to him, so few he could count them on one hand but once they are in there he would lay down his life for those people.

Who has more IQ Sherlock or Mycroft? ›

Genius-Level Intellect: Mycroft is immensely intelligent and possess incredible analytical and deduction abilities that surpass even his younger brother Sherlock, with Sherlock saying he has always been the "smart one" between them and, as children, even made Sherlock think he was a fool, and is only rivaled by Charles ...

Who is Sherlock Holmes biggest enemy? ›

  • One of the most famous scenes in the Sherlock Holmes stories occurs in Switzerland, where Holmes fans still gather to re-enact the detective's tussle with his nemesis, Moriarty.
  • It is 125 years since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective was introduced to the world.
Sep 17, 2012

Is Sherlock Holmes the greatest detective? ›

In 2012, Sherlock Holmes made it into the Guinness Book of Records. This particular accolade was awarded because the character had been portrayed more than any other human in fiction in film and television, an impressive 254 times.

Who is the greatest detective in movies? ›

'Glass Onion': 10 Best Movie Detectives, Ranked
  1. 1 Philip Marlowe - 'The Big Sleep' (1946)
  2. 2 Harry Callahan - 'Dirty Harry' (1971) ...
  3. 3 Loki - 'Prisoners' (2013) ...
  4. 4 David Mills and William Somerset - 'Se7en' (1995) ...
  5. 5 Rick Deckard - 'Blade Runner' (1982) ...
  6. 6 Jake Gittes - 'Chinatown' (1974) ...
Dec 13, 2022

Is Batman the world's greatest detective? ›

In the comics, Batman is revered as the world's greatest detective, yet we haven't seen a film explore that side of him for a long time. He has always been smart but never truly a detective. In a welcome turn, “The Batman” feels much more like a mystery movie that features Batman instead of vice versa.

What is the IQ level of Sherlock Holmes? ›

Radford estimates Holmes' IQ at 190, which places him much, much higher than our crazy-haired scientist. Since then, there have been many more studies on this fictional character leading people to lower his intelligence rating, but he still remains one of the smartest characters ever written.

Does Sherlock ever beat Moriarty? ›

Holmes tells him how he beat Moriarty and apologizes for the deception needed to outwit his enemies. Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was a British writer best known for his detective fiction featuring the character Sherlock Holmes.

Who is better Benedict or Sherlock? ›

While both versions offer different perspectives (and dynamics) of the Great Detective, in the battle between Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch, the former comes out on top.


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