Mystery books, especially detective series have always been very popular. There is a great deal of pleasure in reading about a “whodunit “and attempting to solve the mystery before the main characters manage to solve it. The intricacies of the story, the characterizations and smart deduction processes all contribute towards making a great book.
Here is a list of our favourite detectives in fiction. We have been enthralled by them and their thinking and logic and by the proficiency of the authors.
1. Sherlock Holmes:
Probably the world’s most famous detective, Arthur Conan Doyle created a character who became renowned for his perceptive reasoning abilities and for his ability to disguise himself effortlessly. Watson, his friend and assistant became the world’s best known sidekick. Sherlock Holmes set the benchmark for all the fictional detectives who followed later. And in my honest opinion, there is none greater than this master of detection.
2. Hercules Poirot:
A detective with a head shaped like an egg, with a bad English accent and all the French foibles you can think of, only Agatha Christie could have imagined and created a character like him. He is not your physical, hard working kind of detective; he is the thinking man’s detective with great intelligence and an even greater ego.
3. Inspector Maigret:
A genuine police detective, Inspector Maigret was more down-to-earth and natural than any other detective. He was like all of us, he had his good and bad days, he was older and more mature, and somehow he did not awe us with his superior intelligence. Created by Georges Simenon, he was the central character in about seventy-five novels and many short stories.
4. Nero Wolfe:
Only Rex Stout could have given us a detective who is not only fat and indulgent, but will also not step out of his residence in New York unless forced to do so. Called the Falstaff of detectives, he is described by his friend and narrator of the stories, Archie Goodwin as weighing “one-seventh of a ton”. Nero Wolfe however manages to solve all the cases which are under his purview without indulging in too much physical activity.
5. Ellery Queen:
Airtight plots and a well etched character are the distinguishing characteristics of an Ellery Queen novel. Frederic Dannay and Manfred Lee created a persona of a detective whose name was also used as a pseudonym for the authors. A Harvard alumni, he is quite uppity, and solves crimes because he finds it stimulating. Seven decade4s later his books are still popular among mystery novel aficionados.
6. Lord Peter Wimsey:
A gentleman detective, Dorothy Sayers provided us with a detective who not only belonged to the British aristocracy, but also was rich and fond of the good things in life. An amateur detective, he loved to investigate and solve crimes of all genres. An expert on all matters of fashion, food and wine, he is also adept at his hobby of criminology.
7. Philip Marlowe:
Raymond Chandler’s hard-nosed, no-nonsense, hard-drinking detective Philip Marlowe was the beginning of the genre of violence prone, physically active detectives. He carries a gun, is not afraid to go out and beat the “bad “guys, and he cannot be charmed the femme fatale villainesses. Even though he is reflective and thoughtful at times, he is not your usual thinking and philosophical detective.
8. V I Warshawski:
The first female detective to be part of this list, Sara Paretsky’s detective is the antithesis of the gentleman detective. Sarcastic, sloppy in her dressing and confrontational in her attitude, she is not afraid to use her pistol, nor is she scared of those who are in the wrong. She uses deduction and hard physical work to solve her cases.
9. Miss Marple:
Another one of Agatha Christie’s characterizations, Miss Marple endeared herself to all her readers with her ability to observe and surmise. Despite living in a small village in England, she understands the vagaries of mankind and uses her maturity and experience as a yardstick to solve local murder mysteries.
10. Inspector Morse:
A CID Inspector, Inspector Morse likes his opera, his ale and his crossword puzzles, and he uses his deductive abilities and his knowledge of human nature to solve his mysteries. A rather likeable character, despite his sullen demeanour and his rather patronising attitude towards women, he was well portrayed on television by John Thaw.