Top 10 Famous Fictional Detectives

Julia | 05 - 11 - 2022

Ever since the introduction of the mystery genre in literature and movies, fictional detectives appearing in the same genre gained popularity among fans. From cool personalities to brilliance in mystery-solving, these characters were praised for their portrayal in the book or the movie they belonged to. As these characters gained popularity and, in some cases their own fan-following, several adaptations were introduced—a very famous fictional detective from a book was later introduced to the big screen for a wider audience reach.

In books or movies, some fictional detectives are famous all over the world.

Most book-adapted detective movies are widely celebrated by fans and the characters get a chance to become more famous than ever. Here we have narrowed down the 10 greatest detectives (in no particular order) in fiction, just for you!

Who Is the Greatest Fictional Detective of All Time?
  • A. Sherlock Holmes
  • B. Hercule Poirot
  • C. Perry Mason
  • D. Nancy Drew

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is considered the embodiment of the perfect detective. Holmes is one of the oldest fictional characters to still rule the entertainment industry. The character has his own movies, television shows, and of course, books. Holmes solved many crimes by just mere (not-so mere) deductions, showing off his massive talent in the process. This makes the character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle one of the best fictional detectives in the world.

Perry Mason

Want to gush over a detective with extraordinary wit, who is also a famous attorney? Then Perry Mason is your go-to person. Featured in over a hundred novels by creator Erle Stanley Gardner, Perry Mason is one of the most famous fictional detectives in the modern era. What makes fans love about Mason is that the character is an ethical idealist, who proves that one can bring justice by following the books.

Nancy Drew

In the 1930s, when female characters were not given importance, Edward Stratemeyer created a female detective as a counterpart to his previous work, Hardy Boys, and named the genius detective Nancy Drew. Drew is one of the most famous fictional detectives to date, and has solved over 500 cases in her entire career!

Miss Marple

If you love Agatha Christie’s work, then you cannot deny the fact that you adore Miss Marple. Appearing in over 12 novels and 20 short stories, Jane Marple is an elderly spinster who enjoys solving mysteries in her free time. The character has captured the hearts of fans with her brilliant detective skills and other notable characteristics.

Hercule Poirot

Another fantastic creation of Agatha Christie, Hercule Poirot is a retired Belgian police officer, with quite an instinctual talent and intelligence. Appearing in over 33 novels and more than 50 short stories, Poirot is one of the longest-running characters in Christie’s world.


With over 13 books, a cartoon series, and a massive adaptation by Steven Spielberg, Tintin is now one of the most famous fictional detectives among fans. With his sharp wit, an eye for details and talent for deduction, and don’t forget his adorable little partner, Snowy makes Tintin a beloved character among kids and adults.

Philip Marlowe

Is there a fictional detective with a grumpy attitude, but is also an expert in poetry and philosophy? Yes, there is! And that’s Philip Marlowe for you! This fictional Private Investigator solves crimes as if it was just a mere game of chess, and his personality only fuels readers to know more!  

Lt. Frank Columbo

As fans know the common deduction methods of Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, it will be a surprise for them when they see what Lt. Frank Columbo does. Detective Columbo outsmarts the criminals by playing dumb, which is indeed a smart move!

Benoit Blanc 

Fans have always seen fictional detectives being adapted from books to make movies. But that wasn’t the case with Benoit Blanc. Introduced in the movie Knives Out, Blanc is an intelligent detective who solves the mysterious demise of a famous crime novelist, whose family had nothing but suspicious behavior. 

The Hardy Boys

Frank and Joe Hardy, the fictional detective duo, are one of the most famous characters in mystery novels. The teen brothers solve some daringly mysterious cases with their amateur, raw talent and are constantly dragged into adventures and action.

Eager to know more about the famous fictional detectives? Check out the quiz and find out more!

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