Famous fictional detectives
Famous fictional detectives rely on powers of deduction/rationalization and educated thought to solve crimes. These characters have long been a staple of detective mystery crime fiction, particularly in detective novels and short stories set in Britain and 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 memorable theatre, television, and movie characters.
The first famous detective in fiction was Edgar Allan Poe's C. Auguste Dupin. Later, the Dupin model was further codified by Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, the most famous example to this day. A "great detective" will often (but not always) be accompanied by a Dr. Watson-like assistant or story narrator.
Fictional detectives can generally be placed into one of four archetypes:
- the amateur detective (Miss Marple, Jessica Fletcher, Lord Peter Wimsey);
- the private investigator (Dupin, Holmes, Marlowe, Spade, Poirot, Magnum);
- the police detective (Dalgliesh, Kojak, Morse, Columbo, Frost, Clouseau);
- the forensic specialist (Scarpetta, Quincy, Cracker, CSI teams, Thorndyke);
Notable fictional detectives and their creators include:
- Father Brown – Catholic priest, created by English novelist G. K. Chesterton. Stars in 51 detective short stories (and two framing vignettes), most of which were later compiled in five books.
- Jonathan Creek – creative consultant to a magician, in a British TV series by the same name, written by David Renwick (1997- ).
- C. Auguste Dupin – an upper class fictional detective character created by Edgar Allan Poe. Dupin made his first appearance in Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" (1841), widely considered the first detective fiction story.
- Dr Gideon Fell – a "lexicographer" and drinker, created by John Dickson Carr
- Jessica Fletcher – a writer, created by William Link and Richard Levinson for Murder, She Wrote TV series (1984-1996)
- Patrick Jane - a con artist, created by Bruno Heller for The Mentalist TV series (2008- )
- L Lawliet - Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
- Miss Marple – an old spinster living in the small town of St. Mary Mead, created by Agatha Christie
- Ellery Queen – an author and editor of a magazine, created by two writers, using the pseudonym Ellery Queen
- Dr. John Thorndyke – a medical doctor who trained to become a forensic specialist, created by R. Austin Freeman
- Professor Augustus S. F. X. Van Dusen - created by Jacques Futrelle
- Lord Peter Wimsey - wealthy English gentleman, created by Dorothy L. Sayers
- Tommy and Tuppence Beresford - created by Agatha Christie
- The Continental Op – created by Dashiell Hammett
- Phryne Fisher - created by Kerry Greenwood
- Garret and the Dead Man - created by Glen Cook
- Cordelia Gray - created by P. D. James
- Mike Hammer - created by Mickey Spillaine
- Sherlock Holmes – created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- Thomas Magnum - created for Magnum, P.I. TV series (1980-1988)
- Joe Mannix - created by Richard Levinson and William Link for Mannix TV series (1967–1975)
- Philip Marlowe - created by Raymond Chandler
- Adrian Monk – created by Andy Breckman for Monk TV series (2002–2009)
- Hercule Poirot – created by Agatha Christie
- Jim Rockford – created by Roy Huggins and Stephen J. Cannell for The Rockford Files TV series (1974–80)
- Sam Spade – created by Dashiell Hammett
- Shawn Spencer – created by Steve Franks for Psych TV series (2006-2014)
- Spenser - created by Robert B. Parker
- Nero Wolfe - created by Rex Stout
- 87th Precinct detectives - created by Ed McBain
- Charlie Chan – created by Earl Derr Biggers
- Inspector Clouseau – from The Pink Panther franchise
- Columbo – from the American detective mystery television film series Columbo, created by William Link and Richard Levinson, starring Peter Falk as Columbo
- Sergeant Cork created by Ted Willis
- Inspector Dalgleish - created by P. D. James
- Inspector Joseph French – created by Freeman Wills Crofts
- Inspector Frost - created by R. D. Wingfield
- Inspector Japp – created by Agatha Christie
- Lt. Theo Kojak – Kojak TV series (played by Telly Savalas)
- Inspector Lestrade – created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- Steve McGarrett - Hawaii Five-O TV series
- Inspector Morse – TV series, based on the books by Colin Dexter
- William Murdoch - TV series, based on the series of novels by Maureen Jennings
- Temperance Brennan – Bones TV series based on the books by Kathy Reichs
- Donald "Ducky" Mallard – N.C.I.S. TV series
- Dexter Morgan – Dexter TV series
- Dr. Lancelot Priestly – created by John Rhode
- Dr. R. Quincy – Quincy, M.E. TV series
- Elizabeth Rodgers – Law & Order TV series
- Dr. Kay Scarpetta – created by Patricia Cornwell
- Abby Sciuto - N.C.I.S. TV series
- Dr. John Thorndyke – created by R. Austin Freeman
- Bruce Wayne - Batman comics
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation TV shows
- Gil Grissom – CSI: Crime Scene Investigation TV series
- Raymond Langston – CSI: Crime Scene Investigation TV series
- D. B. Russell - CSI: Crime Scene Investigation TV series
- Catherine Willows - CSI: Crime Scene Investigation TV series
- Horatio Caine - CSI: Miami TV series
- Calleigh Duquesne - CSI: Miami TV series
- Stella Bonasera - CSI: NY TV series
- Jo Danville - CSI: NY TV series
- Mac Taylor – CSI: NY TV series
Anime and Manga
- Hajime Kindaichi – Character from the manga and anime series Kindaichi Case Files.
- Shinichi Kudo/Conan Edogawa – The protagonist of Gosho Aoyama's series Case Closed, which is known in Japan as Meitantei Conan.
- Sou Touma – The main character of the Q.E.D. series created and produced by Motohiro Katou.
- L Lawliet – Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
Note: Up to this date, Kindaichi Case Files and Q.E.D. are the only two Japanese mystery manga that have won the Kodansha Manga Award. Case Closed has won the Shogakukan Manga Award. These three works are known in Japan as the "Three Mystery Manga".
- "The Great Detectives" is a story from the Hakuna Matata magazine, a series of magazine stories telling adventures of Simba.
- Agatha Christie's Great Detectives Poirot and Marple is an anime television series that adapted several Agatha Christie stories about Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.
- Crime fiction
- List of fictional private investigators
- List of fictional police detectives
- List of male detective characters
- List of female detective characters
- List of fictional historical detectives
- List of fictional detective teams
- List of fictional detectives for younger readers
- List of fictional science fiction and fantasy detectives
- List of detectives, constables, and agents in Sherlock Holmes
- The Great Detectives: Seven Original Investigations，BY Julian Symons，1981，ISBN 0810909782
- Silverman,Kenneth (1991). Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. New York: Harper Perennial. ISBN 0-06-092331-8.
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- Silverman 1991, p. 171
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- "Natalie Haynes's guide to TV detectives: #1 – Columbo". London: guardian.co.uk. 23 January 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
- "Clued In: The Top 10 Television Detectives". Time. 4 May 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
- "〈ｂｅランキング〉心に残る名探偵". 朝日新聞. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
- "Kindaichi Case Files 2008 New Anime" (in Japanese). Tokyo MX. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
- "Case Closed FAQ". Funimation. Archived from the original on March 27, 2004. Retrieved October 3, 2010.
- "講談社漫画賞 (過去の受賞者一覧)". kodansha.co.jp. Retrieved 2007-08-21.