True Detectives

There have been many detectives in the fictional world, from the maverick and classic Philip Marlowe, to the traditional Sherlock Holmes to the more professionally acceptable Inspector Lewis. For whatever reason fiction is littered with mostly broken and psychologically disturbed crime solvers, who by determination or just accidentally, always ‘get their man.’ For today’s blog here’s a brief resume of some of the best I’ve come across in my lifetime.

Sherlock Holmes
This man has to head the list. For a start there hadn’t really been a fictional detective before him. Conan Doyle’s fictional character was hugely popular for his anti establishment ways and his ability to find the hugest clues in the smallest of places. His cases were always full of intrigue, always clever and always only solvable to one man, whoever played him. A marvellous creation in literature, but fine in radio and film as well.

Martin Beck

Few will have heard of Martin Beck, firstly because he’s from a small town in Sweden and secondly because the novels, by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, were written in Swedish in the 60s and only translated into English after 2000. Have a look here: .
They are police procedural novels and were made into films for their native Sweden.
In 2012/13 the BBC adapted them into a series of radio dramas. That is where I came across them and loved them. Martin Beck solves his crimes through dogged hard work and common sense. And sometimes luck.
You can find them on Audible. There is a collection of them, which is much of a better buy than getting them individually.


Columbo is a fine detective. He appeared on American television (NBC) in 1971. Played by the enigmatic Peter Falk he was incredibly popular and famed for his use of Socratic questioning as he went about solving his crimes.

Dr. Cal Lightman
Not a well known character, but he deserves to be. Played by Tim Roth, Lightman was the protagonist in the TV drama ‘Lie to Me’. The series unexplainably only ran for three seasons, but makes for fascinating television in its exploration of micro expressions and applied psychology.

C.J.Sansom’s creation is an unlikely addition to my list but a well deserving one. Introduced in the novel ‘Dissolution’ the 16th century lawyer has a series of books devoted to innvolvement in a series of mysteries. The BBC have done radio dramatisations but I preferred the novels. Highly recommended.


I’ve only named five here but there are many, many more. 🙂

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