Ever since Edgar Allan Poe created the first work of detective fiction as when know it when he wrote ‘Murders in the Rue Morgue’, there have been hundreds if not thousands of different detectives in books and on our screens. Choosing which ones you prefer is a subjective matter although that has not stopped us counting down our top 5 greatest fictional detectives of all time.
5. Hercule Poirot
Although his creator Agetha Christie famously called him an ‘irritating little man’, that had not stopped the world taking this Belgian sleuth to our hearts. He was often mistaken for a Frenchman much to his annoyance and his habit of constantly referring to his ‘little grey cells’ is well known amongst fans of Christie’s work. The author wrote a huge number of short stories and novels featuring her most famous character and he has certainly stood the test of time.
With his scruffy appearance in his trench coat, Columbo is an unlikely detective who graced our screen through the 70s and 80s. Played to perfection by Peter Falke, the twist in these stories is that we know who did the crime right at the beginning of the story. The enjoyment in watching these programmes is finding out exactly how the great detective manages to foil the perpetrator and put them behind bars.
3. Inspector Morse
Written by Colin Dexter and played on screen brilliantly by John Thaw, this Oxford based detective and his sidekick Lewis were a joy to watch. With clever plot twists and and beautiful setting, the show was loved by millions in the 90s.
2. Jack Frost
The brilliant David Jason played this much loved detective who was probably the exact opposite of Inspector Morse. The curry loving detective didn’t like opera or hang about with intellectuals although he certainly managed to get the job done. Based in the fictional town of Denton, Frost was a detective who liked to bend the rules a bit in order to get the results.
1. Sherlock Holmes
Who else could top this list apart from the master detective himself. Written well over a hundred years ago, Arthur Conan Doyle’s work is as fresh an important today as it ever has been. The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Sign of Four, A Scandal in Bohemia, The Priory School and many many more of the stories in which Holmes features are timeless and will still be being retold in another hundred years. Portrayed on TV in the 80s by Jeremy Brett and brought into modern times recently in the series Sherlock, there is no one else who could take the crown of the greatest detective ever.