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...

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1. Jane Tennison

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.

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2. Agatha Raisin

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!

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3. Dr Brennan

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.

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4. Kurt Wallander

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.

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5. Detective Lindsay Boxer

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.

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6. C. Auguste Dupin

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. 

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7. Hercule Poirot

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.

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8. Sherlock Holmes

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.

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9. Miss Marple

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.

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10. Harry Hole

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.

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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. 

  • ADHEI
    • £8.89
    • RRP £8.99
    One frozen January morning at 5am, Inspector Wallander responds to what he believes is a routine call out. When he reaches the isolated farmhouse he discovers a bloodbath. An old man has been tortured and beaten to death, his wife lies barely alive beside his shattered body, both victims of a violence beyond reason. Wallander's life is a shambles. His wife has left him, his daughter refuses to speak to him, and even his ageing father barely tolerates him. He works tirelessly, eats badly, and drinks his nights away in a lonely, neglected flat. But now Wallander must forget his troubles and throw himself into a battle against time.
  • AEVFM
    • £8.89
    • RRP £8.99
    Bagged and discarded, the dismembered body of a woman is discovered in the grounds of an abandoned monastery. Dr Temperance Brennan, Director of Forensic Anthropology for the province of Quebec, has been researching recent disappearances in the city. Soon she is convinced that a serial killer is at work. But when no one else seems to care, her anger forces her to take matters into her own hands. Her determined probing has placed those closest to her in mortal danger, however. Can Tempe make her crucial breakthrough before the killer strikes again?
  • AFKGV
    • £12.99
    Twenty-seven grisly tales from the master of gothic fiction range from chilling horror to suspenseful mystery

    Few authors' names conjure up such an air of ghoulish terror as that of Edgar Allan Poe. Although best known for his classic gothic horror tales such as "The Pit and the Pendulum," "The Fall of the House of Usher," or "The Premature Burial," he also wrote mystery thrillers like "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" or "The Mystery of Marie Roget," and curious stories like "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether." The best of his chilling horror stories and other suspenseful tales are presented here in one fantastic volume, providing an ideal introduction to this master of the macabre for those unfamiliar with Poe's work, or a welcome return to Poe's dark and mysterious world for committed enthusiasts.

  • AAIOK
    • £8.89
    • RRP £8.99
    The first novel in the Women's Murder Club series. As the only woman homicide inspector in San Francisco, Lindsay Boxer has to be tough. But nothing she has seen prepares her for the horror of the honeymoon murders, when a brutal maniac begins viciously slaughtering newly wed couples on their wedding nights. Lindsay is sickened by the deaths, but her determination to bring the murderer to justice is threatened by her own personal tragedy. So she turns to Claire, a leading coroner, Cindy, a journalist and Jill, a top attorney, for help with both her crises, and the Women's Murder Club is born.
  • AHAAI
    Jo Nesbo
    • £8.09
    • RRP £8.99
    • Save £0.90Save 10.00%
    Harry is out of his depth. Detective Harry Hole is meant to keep out of trouble. A young Norwegian girl taking a gap year in Sydney has been murdered, and Harry has been sent to Australia to assist in any way he can. He's not supposed to get too involved. When the team unearths a string of unsolved murders and disappearances, nothing will stop Harry from finding out the truth. The hunt for a serial killer is on, but the murderer will talk only to Harry. He might just be the next victim. Appearing in English for the first time, "The Bat" is the legendary first novel from the worldwide phenomenon Jo Nesbo.
  • ALWHH
    • £6.39
    • RRP £7.99
    • Save £1.60Save 20.00%
    When a prostitute is found murdered in her bedsit, the Metropolitan police set to work finding the perpetrator of this brutal attack. DNA samples lead them straight to George Marlow, a man previously convicted of attempted rape. The police think they've found their man, but things are not quite what they seem ...Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison came through the ranks the hard way, opposed and resented at every step by her male colleagues. So when DCI Shefford falls ill, the opportunity for Tennison to get herself noticed finally arrives. But the boys are not happy and every one of her colleagues is willing her to trip up. Desperate to remove all doubt around her suspect, Tennison struggles to make the charges stick. And then a second body turns up. With the team against her, and a dangerous criminal still on the loose, DCI Jane Tennison must fight to prove herself, now or never.
  • Agatha Raisin Collection - 20 Books - Collection - 9781472123619 - M.C. Beaton
    AGTH
    (17)
    • £16.99
    • RRP £150.80
    • Save £133.81Save 87.9999999999999954525264911353588104248046875%
    • Just 85.00p per book
    Now the star of her own hit Sky TV series where she's played by Ashley Jensen, this bumper 20-book collection will introduce you to Agatha Raisin, one of Book People's most popular detectives. Written by M.C. Beaton, these are whodunnits that will keep you guessing until the very last page.

    Set in a picture-perfect Cotswold village, Agatha learns her trade; finds herself accused of poisoning a judge in the local quiche-making competition; has to deal with the fallout of the murder of her ex-husband's new wife; attempts to catch a killer when jam at the village fete is laced with poison; attempts to plan the perfect Christmas, while solving the murder of a woman who has written to her from beyond the grave; wakes up next to a curiously cold corpse; and cracks many more curious cases.

    Including her very first mystery The Quiche of Death, the first novel adapted into a television drama, alongside many more curious cases, this is a witty, quirky and endlessly charming collection for crime fans who prefer their murder mysteries with the blood and gore left out.

    This collection contains books 1-20 in M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin series.
  • AIGSV
    • £39.89
    • RRP £49.99
    • Save £10.10Save 20.000000000000000710542735760100185871124267578125%
    A new paperback slipcase featuring seven of Hercule Poirot's very best cases. 'My name is Hercule Poirot and I am probably the greatest detective in the world.' This new boxed set of paperbacks collects seven of Hercule Poirot's most famous and best-loved cases, perfect for readers who who would like to be introduced - or introduce their friends - to some of the twentieth century's most iconic murder books. Murder on the Orient Express, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The ABC Murders, Five Little Pigs and Hercule Poirot's Christmas are accompanied by the book that started it all, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which is published for the first time complete with its original courtroom ending, and Curtain: Poirot's Last Case, in which Poirot and Hastings are reunited for a final time in the house where they solved their first case together.
  • BDBPP
    • £19.99
    • RRP £24.99
    • Save £5.00Save 20.00%
    The next elegant edition in the Knickerbocker Classic series is The Complete Sherlock Holmes comprised of 4 full-length novels and 56 short stories featuring the world's most famous pipe-smoking detective. Written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle between the years 1867 and 1927, the legendary Sherlock Holmes employed his mastery of deductive reasoning and expert sleuthing to solve an arraying of complex and harrowing cases. From his home - 221B Baker Street in London - the legendary Sherlock Holmes (accompanied by his loyal companion and chronicler, Dr. Watson) baffled policemen and became famous worldwide for his remarkable observations and even more eccentric habits. For Sherlock Holmes fans worldwide, this stunning gift edition has a full cloth binding, foil blocking on the spine, ribbon marker, and is packaged neatly in an elegant slipcase. Featuring a foreword from renowned Holmes scholar, Daniel Stashower, (author of A Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes in America), The Complete Sherlock Holmes contains every known Sherlock Holmes tale ever written. From Holmes' first appearance in "A Study in Scarlet" (1887) and The Hound of the Baskervilles (1901-1902), through the collection of stories in the The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes, this deluxe edition boasts the entire Holmes catalogue.
  • AWLRP
    • £7.89
    • RRP £8.99
    • Save £1.10Save 11.9999999999999993605115378159098327159881591796875%
    A mysterious stranger appears at a New Year's Eve party, becoming the enigmatic sleuthing sidekick to the snobbish Mr Satterthwaite...So far, it had been a typical New Year's Eve house party. But Mr Satterthwaite - a keen observer of human nature - sensed that the real drama of the evening was yet to unfold. So it proved when a mysterious stranger arrived after midnight. Who was this Mr Quin? And why did his presence have such a pronounced effect on Eleanor Portal, the woman with the dyed-black hair?