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(Short List)   The 30 greatest literary detectives of all time. Most of which could drink you under the table while still solving a murder   (shortlist.com) divider line 85
    More: Interesting, detectives  
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3693 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 28 Apr 2013 at 9:58 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-28 08:37:39 AM  
Ummm, no, leaving off both Nero Wolfe and Peter Whimsy is unforgivable
 
2013-04-28 08:46:56 AM  
I am six books in to the Harry Bosch series (Michael Connelly). Glad to see that even though it did not make the list, it was the first one mentioned in the comments.

Another detective series I enjoyed is by author Arnaldur Indridason (Erlandur) The Reykjavik Thrillers.
The first one is "Jar City" for those interested.
 
2013-04-28 09:11:13 AM  

Metalupis: Ummm, no, leaving off both Nero Wolfe and Peter Whimsy is unforgivable


That's Lord Peter Whimsy to you, pleb.


/I've always wanted to see a Colombo story where he just ties the murderer to a chair and beats a confession out of him with a wrench.
 
2013-04-28 09:37:42 AM  
Most of "whom" subby.
 
2013-04-28 09:38:39 AM  
Not strictly speaking a detective, but no FLETCH?
 
2013-04-28 09:53:25 AM  
List fails without Sam deGroot, world's only private detective in an iron lung.
 
2013-04-28 09:53:28 AM  
www.przygodoskop.pl
 
2013-04-28 10:03:46 AM  
Milo Milodragovitch & C.W. Sughrue deserve a mention.
 
2013-04-28 10:04:24 AM  
Hrmm, only read 2 of those characters, Dirk Gently and Jack Reacher (borrowed from my mom).  Never realized that it's just not my genre.

Although in a pinch I'll read anything.
 
2013-04-28 10:04:30 AM  

Metalupis: Ummm, no, leaving off both Nero Wolfe and Peter Whimsy is unforgivable


Leaving off Nero Wolfe means they have no clue what they're doing.

/pfui
 
2013-04-28 10:05:21 AM  
Encyclopedia Brown wouldn't drink you under a table but his pal Sally might.
 
2013-04-28 10:07:49 AM  
Why, it appears that the name of the most important detective in literary history has been left off this list!

Who could have done such a terrible thing?

TURN TO PAGE 62 FOR THE ANSWER!
 
2013-04-28 10:08:54 AM  
simlupost, buy me a Coke
 
2013-04-28 10:15:15 AM  

Metalupis: Ummm, no, leaving off both Nero Wolfe and Peter Whimsy is unforgivable


This. Addition: Inspector Alleyn.
 
2013-04-28 10:16:50 AM  
the listed list of lists listed in a list.
 
2013-04-28 10:17:14 AM  
List fails beyond comprehension without Robert Parker's "Spenser".
 
2013-04-28 10:21:17 AM  
No sign of Lovejoy (No 'Mister', just Lovejoy), but that's to be expected.  He just has misadventures while he's antiquing, and usually solves them through luck of the draw.

Walt Longmire would have been nice to see on the list.  Craig Johnson wrote the books, and they've even had one season's worth of mysteries on cable (A&E, I think).  The Wyoming setting's what drew me in to that series.

I'm also partial to Robert B. Parker's novels.  The chapters are about 4 pages each, broken down by scene, which makes them quick and easy reads.  Chief Stone is my favorite because he's a terse dickhead.  Sunny Randall's good too, but I have yet to read any Spenser books.
 
2013-04-28 10:21:32 AM  
ecx.images-amazon.com
 
2013-04-28 10:23:56 AM  

hogans: I have yet to read any Spenser books.


Go get them all now.

/ now
 
2013-04-28 10:24:20 AM  

gunsmack: List fails beyond comprehension without Robert Parker's "Spenser".


Mollified by Poirots inclusion, but THIS
 
2013-04-28 10:26:44 AM  
"Inspector Bucket"

It's bou-QUET!
 
2013-04-28 10:27:36 AM  
What - no "Hardy Boys?"

/or "Nancy Drew?"

//same dude wrote them both
 
2013-04-28 10:31:39 AM  
No Ellery Queen?
 
2013-04-28 10:33:00 AM  
Agree about Nero Wolfe.
 
2013-04-28 10:36:53 AM  
How about Charlie Chan.
 
2013-04-28 10:36:54 AM  
List fails without the Boxcar Children.
 
2013-04-28 10:40:32 AM  
No Vimes?

Though I suppose he's more of a copper than a detective.
 
2013-04-28 10:46:43 AM  
I like Ken Bruen's Jack Taylor. The detective that Job feels pity for.
 
2013-04-28 10:51:57 AM  
I'm here to while that there was no mention of George Chesbro's Mongo Mysteries.
 
2013-04-28 10:52:38 AM  

CarnySaur: I'm here to whine that there was no mention of George Chesbro's Mongo Mysteries.


ftfm
 
2013-04-28 10:55:12 AM  
List fails w/o Robert B. Parker's Spenser, who redefined the private detective genre back in the day. I forgive a lot of the weak plots later in the series because of how incredible the first 10 books or so in the series were.

Also, no Nero Wolfe or Harry Bosch? WTF.
 
2013-04-28 11:04:41 AM  
Amos Walker by Loren Estleman, Alex McKnight by Steve Hamilton, Joe Pickett by C.J. Box and Cork O'Conner by William Kent Krueger are some personal favorites fwiw.
 
2013-04-28 11:19:23 AM  
Does Jessica Fletcher count? Being the Angel of Death, I'd say she has a pretty high alcohol tolerance.
 
2013-04-28 11:20:21 AM  
No Steve Carella of the 87th precinct?
 
2013-04-28 11:45:30 AM  
Too conventional to include  Tyrone Slothrop.
 
2013-04-28 11:46:02 AM  

this_is_ace: List fails w/o Robert B. Parker's Spenser, who redefined the private detective genre back in the day. I forgive a lot of the weak plots later in the series because of how incredible the first 10 books or so in the series were.

Also, no Nero Wolfe or Harry Bosch? WTF.


I agree on Spenser, Catskill Eagle is where it went off the rails a little. Still, 10 good ones in a series is pretty much all you can hope for. If I find a series with 10 good to great and another 5 to 10 above average, I'm pretty happy. Oh and no Nameless or Travis McGee either?
 
2013-04-28 11:48:13 AM  
Inspector Bucket from Bleak House, but no Sergeant Cuff from The Moonstone?

/Wilkie Collins continues to be the Jan Brady of Victorian English authors.
 
2013-04-28 11:50:08 AM  
Crappy list is crappy, obviously no brain cells were harmed in the making of this list.
 
2013-04-28 11:57:31 AM  
Harry Bosch (Connelly), Joe Pickett (CJ Box) and Luanne Fogarty (Glyn Marsh Alam) are some of my faves.  Also try Jeffrey Cohen's Aaron Tucker mysteries.  Always funny.
 
2013-04-28 11:57:44 AM  

drewogatory: this_is_ace: List fails w/o Robert B. Parker's Spenser, who redefined the private detective genre back in the day. I forgive a lot of the weak plots later in the series because of how incredible the first 10 books or so in the series were.

Also, no Nero Wolfe or Harry Bosch? WTF.

I agree on Spenser, Catskill Eagle is where it went off the rails a little. Still, 10 good ones in a series is pretty much all you can hope for. If I find a series with 10 good to great and another 5 to 10 above average, I'm pretty happy. Oh and no Nameless or Travis McGee either?


Completely agree about Catskill Eagle, and I can't believe I forgot about Travis McGee. I've got seven or eight of those novels on my bookshelf. It's been years since I've read them. Gonna have to go back now. Thanks for jogging my memory.

I'm not familiar with Nameless ... you're not referring the Continental Op there, are you?
 
2013-04-28 12:01:24 PM  

this_is_ace: drewogatory: this_is_ace: List fails w/o Robert B. Parker's Spenser, who redefined the private detective genre back in the day. I forgive a lot of the weak plots later in the series because of how incredible the first 10 books or so in the series were.

Also, no Nero Wolfe or Harry Bosch? WTF.

I agree on Spenser, Catskill Eagle is where it went off the rails a little. Still, 10 good ones in a series is pretty much all you can hope for. If I find a series with 10 good to great and another 5 to 10 above average, I'm pretty happy. Oh and no Nameless or Travis McGee either?

Completely agree about Catskill Eagle, and I can't believe I forgot about Travis McGee. I've got seven or eight of those novels on my bookshelf. It's been years since I've read them. Gonna have to go back now. Thanks for jogging my memory.

I'm not familiar with Nameless ... you're not referring the Continental Op there, are you?


No, Bill Pronzini's "Nameless Detective". Very traditional PI series, very long running. His wife Marcia Muller has an excellent series as well.
 
2013-04-28 12:05:42 PM  

drewogatory: this_is_ace: drewogatory: this_is_ace: List fails w/o Robert B. Parker's Spenser, who redefined the private detective genre back in the day. I forgive a lot of the weak plots later in the series because of how incredible the first 10 books or so in the series were.

Also, no Nero Wolfe or Harry Bosch? WTF.

I agree on Spenser, Catskill Eagle is where it went off the rails a little. Still, 10 good ones in a series is pretty much all you can hope for. If I find a series with 10 good to great and another 5 to 10 above average, I'm pretty happy. Oh and no Nameless or Travis McGee either?

Completely agree about Catskill Eagle, and I can't believe I forgot about Travis McGee. I've got seven or eight of those novels on my bookshelf. It's been years since I've read them. Gonna have to go back now. Thanks for jogging my memory.

I'm not familiar with Nameless ... you're not referring the Continental Op there, are you?

No, Bill Pronzini's "Nameless Detective". Very traditional PI series, very long running. His wife Marcia Muller has an excellent series as well.


Interesting. I've only read some of Pronzini's short fiction, so I'll have to look into that. I've stayed away from writing spouses after taking a chance on Jonathan Kellerman's wife, Faye. That woman's fiction is horrid.
 
2013-04-28 12:11:30 PM  
Interesting. I've only read some of Pronzini's short fiction, so I'll have to look into that. I've stayed away from writing spouses after taking a chance on Jonathan Kellerman's wife, Faye. That woman's fiction is horrid.

Muller is alot better than Kellerman, but as usual, the later books sprawl out with excess supporting characters, more outlandish plots etc. But the first few are pretty solid.
 
2013-04-28 12:14:10 PM  
i21.photobucket.com
 
2013-04-28 12:17:18 PM  

drewogatory: Interesting. I've only read some of Pronzini's short fiction, so I'll have to look into that. I've stayed away from writing spouses after taking a chance on Jonathan Kellerman's wife, Faye. That woman's fiction is horrid.

Muller is alot better than Kellerman, but as usual, the later books sprawl out with excess supporting characters, more outlandish plots etc. But the first few are pretty solid.


Nice. Thanks for the recommendation. :-)
 
2013-04-28 12:32:27 PM  

skinink: No Ellery Queen?


I came in here to express disappointment with that too.  Glad to see I'm not the only one.
 
2013-04-28 12:38:10 PM  
They have Hammett's Sam Spade, but if we're focusing on brilliant literary detectives who were also power drinkers, they need to have Nick & Nora Charles (and Asta) near the top of the list...

/damn, I now have the urge to not get anything done and watch The Thin Man boxed set all afternoon...
 
2013-04-28 12:41:28 PM  
It had been raining hard in the city all Tuesday night when the bottle-blonde in a slinky red dress oozed into my office like karo syrup on a stack of dollar pancakes.   I had just finished solving a case of rye and was seeing double when she started her blubbering.  Said she needed my help.  Yeah, sure - They always do.

Trouble is my middle name.
 
2013-04-28 12:46:34 PM  

rjakobi: Encyclopedia Brown wouldn't drink you under a table but his pal Sally might.


Came here for Encyclopedia Brown, leaving after the the case is solved.
 
2013-04-28 12:53:44 PM  
The list included Jack Reacher?

I don't say this often but the appropriate word is 'FAIL'.
 
2013-04-28 12:55:31 PM  
No Aloysius Pendergast? FAIL!
 
2013-04-28 02:00:09 PM  
Not anything that would make the top 30 list, but I have really enjoyed Stumptown. Comixology had a sale this weekend, and I picked it up because it had Greg Rucka writing it and it is set in the Pacific Northwest. There's only a handful of issues, but they were a hell of a lot of fun.

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2013-04-28 02:14:13 PM  
www.birdandlittlebird.com


Fail
 
2013-04-28 02:18:28 PM  

Metalupis: Ummm, no, leaving off both Nero Wolfe and Peter Whimsy is unforgivable



No Wimsey (Harriet and Bunter do add a lot), no point. I mean, I grook one Agatha Christie, but to miss Lord Peter is unforgivable.

Oddly enough - Isaac Asimov, both in scifi (The Caves of Steel, Elijah Bailey and of course, R Daneel Olivaw), and Black Widowers tales...
 
2013-04-28 02:18:39 PM  
Glen Cook's The Garrett Files?
 
2013-04-28 02:25:22 PM  

johnny_stingray: It had been raining hard in the city all Tuesday night when the bottle-blonde in a slinky red dress oozed into my office like karo syrup on a stack of dollar pancakes.   I had just finished solving a case of rye and was seeing double when she started her blubbering.  Said she needed my help.  Yeah, sure - They always do.

Trouble is my middle name.


Footsteps in the corridor, definitely high heels. A shadow came into view in the frosted glass and then a measured knock of three. Chuck brought his legs down off the desk with a thump and yanked open the top drawer, fumbling amidst old mud spa coupons, empty cigarette packs, used condoms and Dick Tracy comics until he came up with a battered tape recorder. He quickly hit the red button.

"It was raining the day I first heard that knock on my door -" he began, then stopped as a bout of coughing overtook him. "- shiat!" After a few moments, he tried again. "- it was a hard rain, the kind of rain that -"

The shadow shifted a little and there was a slighty louder knock.

"Yeah, one sec!" he called gruffly. Then, into the recorder: " - washes slime off the streets but leaves you feeling like an empty shot glass inside." Chuck grinned a little - he still had the touch.

"Hello?" came a voice from outside. "Is someone there?"

Straightening his fedora and blowing dust from the phone, he called, "Come on in."

A long, shapely leg came into view, followed by a second. With effort, Chuck tore his gaze from them and raised his eyes to meet the face of a traffic-stopper dressed in black and carrying a manila envelope. At first glance she seemed waifish, but his seasoned grey eyes caught a distinct Machiavellian glint in each of her large blue ones.

"Good afternoon," she said. Her voice was strong and slightly husky.

"And to you," Chuck answered. He ducked behind his desk and hit the record button again. "I knew she spelled trouble the moment I first laid eyes on those long killer legs and heartbreaker lips -"

"Who are you talking to?" the woman asked.

"What?" he said, straightening up. "Oh - nobody. Sinuses. What can I do for you hotcakes?"

"My name is Beth Harlington," she said. "I have a problem and your name was recommended. Can you fix problems?"

"Depends on the problem," Chuck said. "Say, what's that behind you?"

She turned. "Beth Harlington," he continued into the tape, "I didn't know the name. Then again, there were a lot of names I didn't -"
 
2013-04-28 02:40:54 PM  
upload.wikimedia.orgupload.wikimedia.org

Contemptuous
 
2013-04-28 02:41:34 PM  
Matthew Scudder. He wasn't in AA for all of them. And besides TFL doesn't specify drinking, only subby.
 
2013-04-28 02:49:34 PM  

runcible spork: Matthew Scudder. He wasn't in AA for all of them. And besides TFL doesn't specify drinking, only subby.


dude. i just got into him, starting w/A Ticket to the Boneyard. fantastic book.
 
2013-04-28 02:54:38 PM  
Going to add my "list fails without":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._Auguste_Dupin


CTRL + Q to Enable/Disable GoPhoto.it
 
2013-04-28 02:55:25 PM  

vermicious k'nid: Going to add my "list fails without":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._Auguste_Dupin


CTRL + Q to Enable/Disable GoPhoto.it


No idea what happened there :|
 
2013-04-28 02:57:07 PM  

vermicious k'nid: Going to add my "list fails without":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._Auguste_Dupin



Row 4, Column 2, Sherlock.
 
2013-04-28 03:24:26 PM  
Not okay to omit John D. MacDonald.

And Gregory McDonald, for that matter.
 
2013-04-28 03:43:38 PM  
List fail without Incognito Mosquito.
 
2013-04-28 04:11:25 PM  

Metalupis: Ummm, no, leaving off both Nero Wolfe and Peter Whimsy is unforgivable


no dresden
no dirk gently

worthless list is worthless
 
2013-04-28 04:12:57 PM  
Ken Bruen

/That is all
 
2013-04-28 04:12:58 PM  
ooooooooooooooooo
and they COMPLETELY left out
Lord Darcy

so yah, completely worthless list

anyone have a useful list?
 
2013-04-28 04:26:51 PM  
List fails without Fletch.

And no, I don't mean Chevy Chase's goofball version. I like the movie(s), but that's SO not the literary Fletch.

Fletch is:
Blonde
Well-muscled (not huge, though)
A former marine who saw combat
Witty but in a sardonic way, not the goofball way.
Supposedly very good-looking (enough to pass as a male escort).
Not particularly into the Lakers or basketball.
Not a "master of disguise."
In no way associated with any woman named Larry.
Known for having rough relationships, such as his marriage which ended because he threw his wife's cat out the window.
Not as altruistic as his movie counterpart (He took the money and ran   without  Stanwyk's wife.)
Younger in   Fletch  than Chase was when he made   Fletch.
More of a smart-ass than Chase was.

The Fletch books are excellent. I keep hoping Hollywood will catch on and make a Fletch series (movies or TV) that is more true to the spirit of the books, i.e. no goofy disguises and impressions, no cornball fantasies about joining the Lakers, the right look, age, etc.
 
2013-04-28 04:49:47 PM  

ZeroCorpse: The Fletch books are excellent. I keep hoping Hollywood will catch on and make a Fletch series (movies or TV) that is more true to the spirit of the books, i.e. no goofy disguises and impressions, no cornball fantasies about joining the Lakers, the right look, age, etc.


Long, long ago, Kevin Smith wanted to make Fletch Won with Jason Lee. Never happened.
 
2013-04-28 05:01:12 PM  

namatad: Metalupis: Ummm, no, leaving off both Nero Wolfe and Peter Whimsy is unforgivable

no dresden

no dirk gently

worthless list is worthless

It's a pretty generic list all in all but to be fair DGHDA *is* on the list. Bottom row, second one in.

The Big Sleep is a great book and an awesome film.

Sherlock Holmes should always be number one on any of these lists.
 
2013-04-28 05:09:01 PM  
pop2k.files.wordpress.com
 
2013-04-28 05:44:22 PM  
No Sid Halley?  No Qwill and Koko?  Bad list.
 
2013-04-28 07:12:17 PM  

2wolves: Glen Cook's The Garrett Files?


A big ol' This for Garrett.

Also mostly forgotten, but still great reading are Craig Kennedy, Scientific Detective, by Arthur B. Reeve. Turn of the century one-man CSI.
And Doctor Thorndyke, by R.Austin Freeman, Another Turn of the century detective.
 
2013-04-28 07:54:41 PM  
Nice to see Svlad Cjelli on there, but where the hell is Kinsey Millhone?

S is for Sucky Lists.
 
2013-04-28 08:22:30 PM  

this_is_ace: runcible spork: Matthew Scudder. He wasn't in AA for all of them. And besides TFL doesn't specify drinking, only subby.

dude. i just got into him, starting w/A Ticket to the Boneyard. fantastic book.


THIS.  Also Bernie Rhodenbarr is missing from the list.
 
2013-04-28 10:06:20 PM  

Miss Stein: this_is_ace: runcible spork: Matthew Scudder. He wasn't in AA for all of them. And besides TFL doesn't specify drinking, only subby.

dude. i just got into him, starting w/A Ticket to the Boneyard. fantastic book.

THIS.  Also Bernie Rhodenbarr is missing from the list.


I really liked the first Rhodenbarr book (finished it last week) ... reading The Burglar in the Closet now, and I'm not quite as taken with him. Too long of a setup. (And I really want to like all of Lawrence Block's work--he was best friends with my favorite author, Donald Westlake.)
 
2013-04-29 12:14:31 AM  
img257.imageshack.us

and

img1.fantasticfiction.co.uk
 
2013-04-29 12:24:00 AM  
Dr. Fell - via John Dickson Carr and his locked room mysteries. Gave me many joyful reads back in the day.
 
2013-04-29 02:02:50 AM  
1.bp.blogspot.com

"Excellent theory, except for one thing."
"And that is?"
"Is DUMB. Is dumbest theory I ever heard."
 
2013-04-29 02:15:46 AM  

timelady: Metalupis: Ummm, no, leaving off both Nero Wolfe and Peter Whimsy is unforgivable


No Wimsey (Harriet and Bunter do add a lot), no point. I mean, I grook one Agatha Christie, but to miss Lord Peter is unforgivable.

Oddly enough - Isaac Asimov, both in scifi (The Caves of Steel, Elijah Bailey and of course, R Daneel Olivaw), and Black Widowers tales...


I was another "What, where's Lord Peter?" I love Parker in those books, too -- he makes a great foil.
 
2013-04-29 10:06:08 AM  
Hmmm, I would have left William of Baskerville from Name of the Rose off of the list.  The whole irony/post-modern point of the story was that his big solution to the case was wrong - he saw a pattern in the murders that only existed coincidentally, undermining his foundation of belief in logic and deductive reasoning.

Even though he correctly identified the murderer, he felt like a failure because his process turned out to be flawed.

Granted, he does get a lot of smaller stuff right, but he kind of ate it on the big mystery.
 
2013-04-29 10:09:25 AM  
1.bp.blogspot.com
PFUI
 
2013-04-29 12:48:08 PM  
"Most of which could drink you under the table while still solving a murder"

This is FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARK!!!11!!!!!!
 
2013-04-29 01:02:46 PM  
I am glad someone else also agrees with the Garret Files.  There is a new book coming out this summer I believe!
 
2013-04-29 03:07:25 PM  

kronicfeld: ZeroCorpse: The Fletch books are excellent. I keep hoping Hollywood will catch on and make a Fletch series (movies or TV) that is more true to the spirit of the books, i.e. no goofy disguises and impressions, no cornball fantasies about joining the Lakers, the right look, age, etc.

Long, long ago, Kevin Smith wanted to make Fletch Won with Jason Lee. Never happened.


Ryan Reynolds could STILL do it. I don't know why they don't get on this.
 
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