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Top 10 Famous Detectives from Books

Cracking cases and constantly in peril, being a crime detective is a job laced with danger. Though reading all about the intense world of crime fiction is exciting, we can't deny we're glad we're not the ones having to solve those crazy cases. So, we've put together a list to honour the most daring detectives of fiction who don't always have it easy but are certainly entertaining...

1. Jane Tennison

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Prime Suspect series by Lynda La Plante 

Lynda La Plante's books have long been favourites with readers all over the world. Inspiring the TV series adaptation of Prime Suspect, one of the great British crime dramas, her books focused on DCI Jane Tennison - one of the most tenacious and inspiring detectives to have been put to page.


2. Agatha Raisin

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From the Agatha Raisin books by M.C. Beaton 

Book People customers have long been fans of the Agatha's charms. Agatha may be unlucky in love but she has enough wits to solve all the murders that build up in her quaint town. And, with over 20 books published about this cunning crime-solver, Agatha has loads of detective experience to her name!


3. Dr Brennan

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From Deja Dead and Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs

Dr. Temperance Brennan is the lead character in Kathy Reichs' books that inspired the hit US crime drama Bones. Played by Emily Deschanel in the show, Dr. Brennan is a forensic anthropologist who values the importance of setting up crime scenes correctly.


4. Kurt Wallander

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From Faceless Killers and the Kurt Wallander series by Henning Mankell 

Solving mysteries in and around the town of Ystad, near Malmo in Sweden, Kurt Wallander is a troubled and socially awkward policeman who eats junk food, drinks too much alcohol and has anger issues – but has an incredible intellect. Written quite brilliantly by the late Henning Mankell, you follow Wallander as he becomes disillusioned with his career throughout these gripping books.

5. Detective Lindsay Boxer

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From 1st to Die and the Women's Murder Club series by James Patterson

The lead character in James Patterson's Women's Murder Club series, Lindsay Boxer is quite brilliant at her job. Based in San Francisco, she succeeds even when circumstances conspire against her.


6. C. Auguste Dupin

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From the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe 

Dupin, the star of what's thought to be literature's first ever detective story, was cracking cases long before even the great Sherlock Holmes appeared on the scene. Edgar Allan Poe's three Dupin stories, The Murders on the Rue Morgue, The Mystery of Marie Roget and The Purloined Letter, all see Dupin wow his companion, the unnamed narrator, with his astounding powers of deduction. 

7. Hercule Poirot

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From The Mysterious Affair at Styles and other Hercule Poirot stories by Agatha Christie 

One of the most beloved characters in fiction, Belgian detective Hercule Poirot was the star of 33 Agatha Christie Books, one play and over 50 short stories. Brought to the screen by the likes of Albert Finney, Alfred Molina and, perhaps most famously, David Suchet, Poirot was famed for his twirly moustache and eccentricities.


8. Sherlock Holmes

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From A Study in Scarlet and other Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 

Where do we start with Sherlock Holmes? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's creation is surely one of the most famous detectives and has long been regarded as a classic character. With a recent resurgence inspired by the films starring Robert Downey Jr. and the worldwide phenomenon with Benedict Cumberbatch, the consulting detective continues to wow. The way he uses logical reasoning and the laws of science makes him stand out from the crowd.

9. Miss Marple

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From Murder at the Vicarage and the Miss Marple Agatha Christie stories 

Agatha Christie is such a well-respected and talented crime fiction writer, not one but two of her detectives have made their way onto this list! Miss Marple may be old but her brain is sharper than most. Miss Marple is a brilliant detective who has cracked some of the toughest cases in the Golden Age of Crime Fiction.


10. Harry Hole

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From The Bat and other Harry Hole novels by Jo Nesbo 

One of the stars of Nordic crime fiction, Harry Hole is an unorthodox yet brilliant detective in the Oslo Crime Squad of the Norwegian police force. A loose cannon, he is brilliantly brought to life by the bestselling author Jo Nesbo - especially in the unforgettable The Snowman.


These are just some of our very favourite fictional detectives but have we missed any of your favourites? Whether you're a fan of the classic sleuths from the 1800s, cunning detectives of the Golden Age, the leading characters of Nordic Noir or contemporary crime novels, there are so many amazing fictional detectives we just love reading about.