DetectiveStorytype of popularliterature dealingwith the step-by-step investigationand solution of acrime, usuallymurder.
The traditional elements of the detective story the seemingly perfect crime; the wrongly accused suspect at whomcircumstantial evidence points; the bungling of dim-witted police; the greater powers of observation and superiormind of the detective (sleuth); the startling and unexpected denouement, inwhich the detective reveals how the identity ofthe culprit was ascertained.
Categories of crime fiction• The whodunit• Locked room mystery• Cozy• The historical whodunnit• Spoofs and parodies• The inverted detective story or "howcatchem"• The American hard-boiled school• The police procedural• The legal thriller• The caper story• The spy novel• The psychological suspense novel• The criminal novel (novels told from the point of view of criminals such as The Godfather)
The firstdetective story “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” by Edgar Allan Poe, published in April 1841. French detective, C. Auguste Dupin
Wilkie CollinsThe Moonstone (1868)remains one of the finest Englishdetective novels and is generallyconsidered as the first detective novel inthe English languagethe rose-loving sleuth Sergeant Cuff waspatterned after the real-life InspectorWicher
Sherlock Holmes The greatest of all fictional detectives• the first appearance in Arthur (later Sir Arthur) Conan Doyles novel A Study in Scarlet (1887)• The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894)• Hound of the Baskervilles (1902).
Prototypes• Dr. Joseph Bell, for whom Doyle had worked as a clerk at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Like Holmes, Bell was noted for drawing large conclusions from the smallest observations.[• Sir Henry Little-John, Lecturer on Forensic Medicine and Public Health at the Royal College of Surgeons, is also cited as a source for Holmes. Little-John served as Police Surgeon and Medical Officer of Health to the City of Edinburgh, Scotland, providing for Doyle a link between medical investigation and the detection of crime.
Some facts from Sherlock Holmes’ Bio• studies chemistry at Cambridge• spends the six years following university working as a consulting detective• moves into 221B Baker Street to share the flat with Dr. John H. Watson• retires to a bee farm on the Sussex Downs, where he takes up the hobby of beekeeping as his primary occupation, eventually producing a "Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, with some Observations upon the Segregation of the Queen".• His brother, Mycroft, seven years his senior, is a government official, even more gifted than Sherlock in matters of observation and deduction, but lacking Sherlocks drive and energy
Habits and personalityAlthough in his methods of thought he was theneatest and most methodical of mankind ... [he]keeps his cigars in the coal-scuttle, his tobacco inthe toe end of a Persian slipper, and hisunanswered correspondence transfixed by a jack-knife into the very centre of his woodenmantelpiece ... He had a horror of destroyingdocuments.... Thus month after month his papersaccumulated, until every corner of the room wasstacked with bundles of manuscript which were onno account to be burned, and which could not beput away save by their owner
He is famous for• his Science of Deduction• wearing his deerstalker and cape• smoking his pipe and using cocaine• love for forensics, poisons and ciphers• home-chemistry experiments• playing the violin• boxing
One quote often heard from Holmes"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"
Knowledge and skills1. Knowledge of Literature — nil.2. Knowledge of Philosophy — nil.3. Knowledge of Astronomy — nil.4. Knowledge of Politics — Feeble.5. Knowledge of Botany — Variable. Well up in belladonna, opium and poisons generally. Knows nothing of practical gardening.6. Knowledge of Geology — Practical, but limited. Tells at a glance different soils from each other. After walks, has shown me splashes upon his trousers, and told me by their colour and consistence in what part of London he had received them.7. Knowledge of Chemistry — Profound.8. Knowledge of Anatomy — Accurate, but unsystematic.9. Knowledge of Sensational Literature — Immense. He appears to know every detail of every horror perpetrated in the century.10. Plays the violin well.11. Is an expert singlestick player, boxer and swordsman.12. Has a good practical knowledge of British law.
G.K. Chestertons The Innocence of Father Brown (1911)• Father Brown is a short, stumpy Catholic priest, "formerly of Cobhole in Essex, and now working in London," with shapeless clothes and a large umbrella, and uncanny insight into human evil.• He makes his first appearance in the story "The Blue Cross"
Hercule Poirot, in Agatha ChristiesThe Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)• a Belgian detective famous for his moustache, and gourmandise
Miss Marple, in Murder at the Vicarage (1930)• an elderly spinster who lives in the village of St. Mary Mead and acts as an amateur detective• dressed neatly in tweed and is frequently seen knitting or pulling weeds in her garden
Perry Mason by Erle Stanley Gardner• a defense attorney (criminal lawyer) who unravels crimes in court
Perry Mason about himself• Youll find that Im a lawyer who has specialized in trial work, and in a lot of criminal work. ... Im a specialist on getting people out of trouble. They come to me when theyre in all sorts of trouble, and I work them out. ... If you look me up through some family lawyer or some corporation lawyer, hell probably tell you that Im a shyster. If you look me up through some chap in the District Attorneys office, hell tell you that Im a dangerous antagonist but he doesnt know very much about me.
Nero Wolfe by Rex Stout• a fat, orchid-raising detective Nero Wolfe and his urbane assistant Archie Goodwin
Nero Wolfe about himself• I suggest beginning with autobiographical sketches from each of us, and here is mine. I was born in Montenegro and spent my early boyhood there. At the age of sixteen I decided to move around, and in fourteen years I became acquainted with most of Europe, a little of Africa, and much of Asia, in a variety of roles and activities. Coming to this country in nineteen-thirty, not penniless, I bought this house and entered into practice as a private detective. I am a naturalized American citizen.
Mr. and Mrs. North by Frances and Richard Lockridge• a bright married couple, who solve crimes together
Inspector Maigret by Georges Simenon• Is famous for his pipes, his mixed approach to detecting (at times relying on pure intuition, at times on method), and his fondness for alcohol
The best detective stories of the XXI century (the Times)• Stieg Larsson*• 2000 — David Peace (Nineteen Seventy- Seven, The Damned Utd (2006)• 2001 — Dennis Lehane (Mystic River)• 2002 — Sarah Waters (Fingersmith)• 2003 — Andrew Taylor (The American Boy )• 2004 — Don Winslow (The Power of the Dog)• 2005 — Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)• 2006 — Peter Temple (The Broken Shore)• 2007 — Fred Vargas (Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand)• 2008 — Frances Fyfield (Blood from Stone)• 2009 — Arnaldur Indridason (Hypothermia).