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!
1. 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!
2. 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.
3. 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!
4. 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.
5. 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.
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?