Unlikely Fictional Detectives–Who Would You Hire?

Unlikely Fictional Detectives – Who Would You Hire?

If you had a real life mystery that needed solving, which unlikely detective would you hire? Which improbable fictional detective would have the experience and the personal qualities to find a solution for you?

There are many famous literary detectives, from Miss Marple to Lord Peter Wimsey, and many of them are the most unlikely detectives you could ever hope to meet.

Yet the very qualities that make them unlikely are sometimes the qualities that enable them to succeed as detectives. For example, Miss Marple’s old-ladylike penchant for gossip has been the source of many useful nuggets of information, and Father Brown’s experience of listening to confession has led to many a confession of the criminal kind.

Peruse our detailed case files below to decide which unlikely detective would be the one for you.

Fictional Detective Case Files

Miss Jane Marple

Born: Between 1871 and 1880
Profession: Elderly spinster
Resides: St Mary Mead, England
Creator: Agatha Christie
First Case: The Murder In The Vicarage
Relevant Qualifications: None
Relevant Experience: Knowledge of human nature learnt from village life & gossip
Important Friend: Inspector Dermot Craddock
Special Qualities: Understands human nature from living in a village all her life, logical reasoner, very observant, a good listener, people trust her
Notable Quotes: “There is a great deal of wickedness in village life. I hope you dear young people will never realize how very wicked the world is.”

“Human nature is much the same everywhere, and, of course, one has opportunities of observing it at closer quarters in a village.”

Father Brown

Born: Probably the late 19th Century
Profession: Priest
Resides: Essex
First Case: The Blue Cross
Creator: GK Chesterton
Relevant Experience: Taking Confession
Relevant Qualifications: None
Important Friend: None
Special Qualities: Sympathetic listener, understands human nature, moral reasoning, tries to understand the criminal’s mindset
Notable Quotes: “But every clever crime is founded ultimately on some one quite simple fact—some fact that is not itself mysterious. The mystification comes in covering it up, in leading men’s thoughts away from it.”

“We can direct our moral wills; but we can’t generally change our instinctive tastes and ways of doing things.”

Brother Cadfael

Born: 12th Century
Profession: Monk
Resides: Shrewsbury
First Case: A Morbid Taste For Bones
Creator: Ellis Peters
Relevant Experience: Soldier in the Crusades & Sea Captain
Relevant Qualifications: None
Important Friend: Deputy Sheriff Hugh Beringar
Special Qualities: Highly intelligent, understands human nature, kind, logical, experience of people gained during his years as a soldier
Notable Quotes: “A blind eye is the easiest thing in the world to turn on whatever is troublesome.”

“Penitence is in the heart, not in words”.

Reverend Sidney Chambers

Born: Probably the 1920s
Profession: Vicar
Resides: Grantchester
First Case: The Shadow of Death
Creator: James Runcie
Relevant Experience: His parishioners confide in him
Relevant Qualifications: None
Special Qualities: Unconventional cleric, can go where police cannot, gentle manner inspires trust, seeks the truth
Important Friend: Inspector Geordie Keating
Notable Quotes: “Restraint is the road to redemption”.

“Introspection and self-awareness were the enemies of contentment,”

Mystery Man

Born: Probably the 1970s or 1980s
Profession: Owner of mystery book shop
Resides: Belfast
First Case: Mystery Man
Creator: Bateman
Relevant Experience: Has read a lot of crime & mystery books
Relevant Qualifications: None
Special Qualities: Unconventional, imaginative, uses his customers to find out things, obsessive compulsive disorder
Important Friend: None
Notable Quotes: “Life is too short to spend an hour and a half on a mystery that will ultimately be solved by a cat.”

“I have a morbid fear of rats, and mice, and nettles and wasps and jagged cans and rotting food and damp newspapers and the unemployed.”

Professor Gervase Fen

Born: Probably  the late 19th Century/Early 20th Century
Profession: Professor of English Language & Literature
Resides: Oxford
First Case: The Case of the Gilded Fly
Creator: Edmund Crispin
Relevant Qualifications: None
Relevant Experience: The skills of a literary critic lead to solving real-life problems
Special Qualities: Naive, unconventional, imaginative, intuitive, has a restless mind
Important Friend: Sir Richard Freeman, Chief Constable
Notable Quotes: “There’s been too much Shakespeare in this case already.”

“I’m getting very bored with all this. I shall go away if it continues. We have completely lost the point in a maze of routine investigation.”

Lord Peter Wimsey

Born: 1890
Profession: Gentleman
Resides: London
First Case: The Attenbury Emeralds
Creator: Dorothy L Sayers
Relevant Qualifications: None
Relevant Experience: Intelligence officer in World War One
Important Friend: Inspector Charles Parker
Special Qualities: Unconventional, interested in criminology, is much cleverer than he pretends to be, proficient with the Playfair cipher, has friends in high places.
Notable Quotes: ” I always have a quotation for everything – it saves original thinking.”

“Everybody suspects an eager desire to curry favour, but rudeness, for some reason, is always accepted as a guarantee of good faith.”

Looking for Books Featuring our Unlikely Detectives?

Discover them in our Crime Section