7 Greatest Fictional Detectives That You Should Read about ...


If your favorite books revolve around detectives who show competency when solving mysteries and crimes, then you may have already encountered some of the greatest fictional detectives. Did you know that Edgar Allan Poe is said to be the creator of the detective story? The detective genre promotes critical thinking, making educated inferences and problem-solving. Keeping that in mind, this list will point you in the direction of the greatest fictional detectives that you should be reading about!

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C. Auguste Dupin

As one of the biggest Poe fanatics around, I may be biased in thinking that Dupin deserves to be first on this list of the greatest fictional detectives. Known by most as the original literary detective, Poe's C. Auguste Dupin makes an appearance in the short stories “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” and “The Purloined Letter.” The coolest thing about Dupin is that he possesses an extraordinary talent of making inferences through deductive reasoning alone!


Sherlock Holmes

Naturally, Sherlock Holmes would be next in line after C. Dupin, considering that author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle based Holmes' character on the genius detective. Often exuding a cold demeanor, he is a very driven individual, spending most of his time solving mysteries just for the sake of proving that he can. Praised by the media, Doyle's “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” series has managed to spawn many adaptations, most of which differ in regard to the titular character's portrayal.


Nero Wolfe

When reading the detective stories involving this “armchair detective,” it is easy to see why Rex Stout has been hailed as one of the best mystery writers of all time. The most intriguing aspect of Nero Wolfe's character is that he is able to solve crimes without leaving the comfort of his home – and chair; with Archie Goodwin as the narrator and his proficient assistant, Wolfe's adversaries don't stand a chance. Seeing a narrator take part in such a large role is incredibly endearing!


Nancy Drew

The first Nancy Drew book that I ever read was “Secret of the Old Clock.” Set during the 1930s, this story accurately incorporates different aspects of the Great Depression, making it easy for the older and younger generation of readers to either relate to it or strive to understand it, respectively. Through this novel, Nancy Drew's status as a detective was strengthened; it is no wonder that she is arguably one of the best detectives around.


Hardy Boys

The Hardy Boys have been known to cross paths with Nancy Drew in both the book series and at least some of the video game adaptations. Like the Nancy Drew series, the Hardy Boys books have been written by a variety of writers working under the same pen name. Siblings Frank and Joe Hardy work together to foil attempted murder and espionage plans.

Famous Quotes

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

George Santayana


Original developed by Robert B. Parker, private investigator Spenser remains as one of the most intriguing fictional characters; Ace Atkins decided to take over writing the novels after Parker passed away. What is most interesting about Spenser is that he always manages to maintain his integrity and relies on his conscience when consulted about various cases. This interest has led to the creation of a television series and movie.



DC Comics has graced superhero Batman with the title of the world's greatest detective due to his stealthy and cunning abilities. In almost every comic, he displays excellent detective qualities, such as using critical thinking skills to solve crimes and piecing clues together at a rapid rate. In honor of this title, DC Comics created a crossover comic featuring another candidate on this list, Sherlock Holmes. The proof of his status as a detective is in the name of the company (Detective Comics)!

Reading about these fictional detectives is an excellent way to sharpen your own detective skills. It is enlightening to see characters who are more than capable of relying on their own deductive reasoning skills and logic to solve mysteries. Are there any fictional detectives that you love reading about?

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Where Thoughts and Opinions Converge

I am glad to read I am not the only one who think Hercules Poirot is the greatest detective . I was pretty sure he was going to be on the list.

Christian grey.....yum!!!

I personally don't see batman as a detective. He generally fights crime and rarely does detective type stuff

You forgot about Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple...

Dresden files, and John Connolly Charlie Parker great books to read enjoyed every one waiting 4 next book.

OMG, Cassandra, The Secret of the Old Clock was the first Nancy Drew mystery I read...I swear :)...think I ended up reading all the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys mysteries...but I refuse to say how long ago that was lol...if you really like great crime fiction, then Poe & Doyle are a must! Personally, I'd have to include Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot as a must-read, if only because Poirot is as eccentric as Holmes, but equally clever, yet the two characters could be less alike. The early Spenser novels are just so great because Parker not only plots a great mystery, he uses Spenser to extoll many "old fashioned" values in a modern way. Finally, my all-time fave is Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder novels. Block takes Scudder from a disaffected alcoholic ex-cop, to a sober older, wiser, although not necessarily more likeable character. If you read the Scudder novels chronologically, you see Scudder gradually change and evolve as a character, something most fictional detectives don't get the opportunity to do...thanks for such an interesting post

Sherlock remines me so much of Dupin(like in the murders of rue morgue and the twelve dancing men both detectives ask their friend a question about what they were thinking and their respective friend is astonished as to how they knew)

I loved reading my Nancy Drew books! That's what got me hooked on mysteries (and reading in general)! I used to get into so much trouble reading Nancy Drew books in bed by flashlight when I was supposed to be sleeping!

The greatest detective is and will forever be Hercules Poirot! Enough said! :)

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