Fictional detectives

Fictional detectives are characters in detective fiction. These individuals have long been a staple of detective mystery crime fiction, particularly in detective novels and short stories. Much of early detective fiction was written during the "Golden Age of Detective Fiction" (1920s–1930s). These detectives include amateurs, private investigators and professional policemen. They are often popularized as individual characters rather than parts of the fictional work in which they appear. Stories involving individual detectives are well-suited to dramatic presentation, resulting in many popular theatre, television, and movie characters.

Auguste Dupin
Sherlock Holmes

The first famous detective in fiction was Edgar Allan Poe's C. Auguste Dupin.[1] Later, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes became the most famous example and remains so to this day. The detectives are often accompanied by a Dr. Watson–like assistant or narrator. However, in several of her novels where he appears, Agatha Christie gives reference to Hercule Poirot being the greatest detective in all the world.


Fictional detectives generally fit one of four archetypes:[according to whom?]

  • The amateur detective (Miss Marple, Jessica Fletcher, Lord Peter Wimsey); From outside the field of criminal investigation, but gifted with knowledge, curiosity, desire for justice, etc.
  • The private investigator (Cordelia, Holmes, Marlowe, Spade, Poirot, Magnum, Millhone); Works professionally in criminal and civic investigations, but outside the criminal justice system.
  • The police detective (Dalgliesh, Kojak, Morse, Columbo, Alleyn, Maigret); Part of an official investigative body, charged with solving crimes.
  • The forensic specialist (Scarpetta, Quincy, Cracker, CSI teams, Thorndyke); Affiliated with investigative body, officially tasked with specialized scientific results rather than solving the crime as a whole.

Notable fictional detectives and their creators include:

Amateur detectivesEdit

Private investigatorsEdit

Sherlock Holmes has become an icon of a detective. The term "Sherlock" is also used to refer to a detective.[3]

Police detectivesEdit

Columbo is often considered to be one of the greatest original TV detectives.[4][5][6][7]

Forensic specialistsEdit

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation TV showsEdit

Anime and mangaEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Silverman,Kenneth (1991). Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. New York: Harper Perennial. ISBN 0-06-092331-8.
  2. ^ Silverman 1991, p. 171
  3. ^ "Definition of Sherlock in Oxford Dictionaries (British & World English)". Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  4. ^ "Best fictional detectives". latimes. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  5. ^ "Natalie Haynes's guide to TV detectives: #1 – Columbo". London: 23 January 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  6. ^ "Clued In: The Top 10 Television Detectives". Time. 4 May 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  7. ^ "〈beランキング〉心に残る名探偵". 朝日新聞. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Kindaichi Case Files 2008 New Anime" (in Japanese). Tokyo MX. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
  10. ^ "Case Closed FAQ". Funimation. Archived from the original on March 27, 2004. Retrieved October 3, 2010.


  • Julian Symons. The Great Detectives: Seven Original Investigation,1981,ISBN 0810909782

External linksEdit