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mazingerz88's avatar

Who do you think is the best detective character in books and movies and why?

Asked by mazingerz88 (18388 points ) January 5th, 2012

I’m asking this question in the hopes I might get to know a good detective character I haven’t read or watched but please, don’t hesitate to mention the already popular ones and do try to specify the book or movie if you please. Thanks!

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21 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Conan Edogawa from Detective Conan. Because he is cute.

chyna's avatar

I like detective Alex Cross. He is in a series of books by James Patterson.

jaytkay's avatar

I love Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye with detective Philip Marlowe. Both the book and the 1973 movie.

What I want from art is the feeling of what it would be like to live in a different place and time. The book lets me pretend I’m in LA in 1950. The movie lets me imagine1973.

SmashTheState's avatar

I’ve always been partial to Nero Wolfe. He’s a big, fat, beer-swilling recluse who solves mysteries without leaving the comfort of his chair, pouting his lips in and out in a kind of autistic tic while his gargantuan brain connects all the dots. Hercule Poirot is a close second, if only for the novel where he mocks Sherlock Holmes (without mentioning him by name), because Poirot solves mysteries mostly by insightful examination of relationships with human beings rather than, as he puts it, mucking around on the ground with a ridiculous magnifying glass, scrutinizing cigarette butts.

At the entire other end of the spectrum there’s Mike Hammer, the quintessential hard-boiled, two-fisted private eye, solving mysteries with a naked dame in one hand and a thundering .45 in the other. [SPOILER] At the end of one book he’s just gunned down the woman he loves and plans to marry because she turns out to be the one who killed his war buddy. As she’s bleeding out on the carpet she asks, “Mike, how could you?” And he looks her right in the eye and says, “It was easy.” How can you not love such overwrought and melodramatic prose?[/SPOILER]

Kardamom's avatar

I have to say Sherlock Holmes. He’s a classic and he is the guy that almost every modern day detective is based upon. My favorite SH novel is Hound of the Baskervilles. I just love how he is able to notice ordinary things that most of us would miss. Details, details, details. And he’s very British and wears a really cool hat. He also fits the delicious “tortured soul male” ideal. And he has Dr. Watson as his down to earth, grounding best friend, comic foil character.

I don’t know if Adrian Monk (played by Tony Shaloub) made it into novel form, but he was the best of the best TV detectives, rooted in the Sherlock Holmes nostalgia, mixed with nueroticism.

Jude's avatar

Columbo.

fundevogel's avatar

Shawn and Gus from Psych!

zenvelo's avatar

Currenty, Inspector Montalbano. by Andrea Camilleri. He’s in Vigata on Sicily.

In the past Philip Marlowe and Nero Wolfe were tops.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Lord Peter Wimsey
Caution: spoilers after the first couple of paragraphs.

Rarebear's avatar

Batman.

zenvelo's avatar

@dappled_leaves Thanks, I’d forgotten about Lord Peter!

AshlynM's avatar

My favorite is Nancy Drew, from the books only, not the movie.

Jessica Fletcher from Murder, She Wrote was good too.

filmfann's avatar

Batman and Sherlock Holmes.
You walk into Holmes’ office, he looks at your shoes and knows who you are, where you came from, and what you want. Hard to beat that.

Charles's avatar

Sergeant Friday a from Dragnet and Dan Matthews from Highway Patrol

because they were tough.

Sunny2's avatar

Leslie Neilsen as Frank Drebin in The Naked Gun movies. He made me cry with laughter.

smilingheart1's avatar

Trixie Belden, she not only had a way with horses, that girl could reason how to apprehend and then she just got the job done!

MilkyWay's avatar

Sherlock Holmes.
I also like the Hardy Boys. And the Scottish detective Rebus is quite good too.
@rebbel Nice one! Have you read Knots and Crosses by any chance?

rebbel's avatar

I read a few, but, after checking it on Wikipedia, I can say I haven’t read that one yet.
But now I know I will, thanks!

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

My favorites have already been named, except for Dashiel Hammett’s protagonist Sam Spade. He’s a hard guy, smart as hell, and makes asses out of punks and wealthy dilettantes equally. The setting is San Francisco in the late 1920’s, and the stories are filled with now archaic landmarks that only someone very familiar with the city would know. Spade is said to be the prototype of the hard-boiled detective of the last century. Chandler, down in LA, admitted many times that his development of Marlowe was heavily influenced by Hammett’s Spade.

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