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Detectives Redux

Very impressive list so far. A lot of names I hadn’t thought of.

More specificity on my part is required, it seems.

I am looking for:

1) the name of the detective — either PI or consulting detective. Amateur detectives, spies, and members of various police forces need not apply. The definition here is that the detective takes a fee for their services (even if, invariably, they fail to collect on the bill in long-standing noir tradition!)
2) if possible, the name of their business (ie, Spade & Archer, The Rockford Agency).
3) where possible, the source material — if from a book or series, the author and a couple of titles. If a show, the name of the show. The comic, the name of the comic or a similar source.

The detective(s) can be from any era, any nationality, any ethnicity, gender, orientation, etc.

Huge thank you to everyone who’s contributed so far. You guys seriously rock.

25 Responses to Detectives Redux

  1. bbe

    Anyone mentioned Travis McGee? Not a detective but a ‘salvage consultant’ who invariably ended up in mysteries.

    What about Doc Savage? Didn’t take payment, but nearly every story was a murder mystery.

  2. mightygodking


    Stephanie Plum (Vincent Plum Bail Bonds)
    Andy Barker (Andy Barker, C.P.A)
    Mma Precious Ramotswe (The #1 Ladies’ Detective Agency)
    Marcus Didius Falco (n/a)
    Gordianus the Finder (n/a)
    Leroy “Encyclopedia” Brown (The Encylopedia Brown Detective Agency, and he takes money for solving cases so I say he’s a professional)

  3. davesbu

    An offering: Charlie Chan, he was part of a the Honolulu Police Department but later went and consulted on several cases.

    Now a question: Does this have to do with the Crime Bible?

    I was literally about to do the Encyclopedia Brown one too.

  4. brother_d73

    How about Solar Pons, August Derleth’s answer to Sherlock Holmes? (Yeah, it’s a REAL stretch . . . )

    Clyde Umney – Stephen King’s short story “Umney’s Last Case”
    Auguste Dupin – Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, etc.
    Harry D’Amour – Clive Barker’s short story “The Last Illusion” (and the film adaptation Lord of Illusions

  5. brother_d73

    Suppose you could add Blade, Hannibal King and Frank Drake as well – they were Borderline Investigations (from Marvel’s Nightstalkers comic).

  6. v_voltaire

    Incognito Mosquito: Private Insective

  7. fallingwater

    One quick note from one of the earlier comments
    -Richard Diamond, Private Detective.
    -The Diamond Detective Agency.

    Started off as a radio show in the 40′s and had a run on TV in the 50′s with David Janssen (The Fugitive) as the title character. Janssen did one episode of a show called “Checkmate”, which was a detective show set in San Fran centred on Checkmate Inc. founded by Don Cory with associates Jed Sills & Dr. Carl Hyatt, a university criminologist.

    The Checkmate connection just stood out immediately. ;-p

    Someone else who springs to mind would be Eddie Shoestring from the 80′s BBC TV show Shoestring, he had a radio show called Private Ear which was the jumping off point for his cases.

    Historically there are the usual suspects such as Cadfeal (Do 12th century Welsh monks count? What about Gordianus the Finder from the Roma Sub Rosa books?) but for a good back story Barry Hughart’s Li Kao is interesting. He started out a petty thief in 7th Century China, eventually was appointed Governor of Yu by the Emperor only to resign to become a full time Private Detective in Peking as he found the work more mentally challenging.

  8. jheaton

    I can’t believe no one has yet mentioned Elvis Cole, created by Robert Crais. Per the novel L.A. Requiem, the name of his agency is the Elvis Cole Detective Agency. He has a partner, Joe Pike, who is not a licensed investigator.

    On a less serious note, there’s Otis Amber from the Ellen Raskin novel The Westing Game. Don’t know the name of his agency, but it would seem he’s listed in the Yellow Pages under his own name. (He’s listed second, after Joe Aaron.)

  9. made_of_crazy

    Hey, it was entirely rad to meet you last Thursday (I was the girl being shown around Oni. The one in glasses and Mad Max-esque boots). When I used to write for Ms. Magazine, I’d keep a stack of your comics on my desk for other employees to enjoy. Everyone was especially delighted by Wonder Woman.

  10. admin

    Nice to meet you, too, albeit briefly. Hopefully there’ll be future opportunities; I’m afraid I came off as brusque, for which I apologize.

  11. admin

    Right now, I’m taking all “qualified” candidates; culling will occur later.

  12. admin

    This does not have to do with the Crime Bible.

    (Though I suppose it could, conceivably, work its way in there in some form or another.)

    Different thing entirely, this.

  13. made_of_crazy

    Nah, not at all.

  14. legionabstract

    Part 1 of long list

    Okay, here’s what I came up with. Sorry if there are duplicates with other people’s suggestions; I tried to avoid it but I may have missed some.

    Format: Detective, Agency if known (Source Material): explanation if necessary, list of operatives if any

    Jay Ackroyd and Jerry Strauss aka Fred Creighton, Ackroyd & Creighton (the Wild Cards shared-world superhero novels; various authors but the relevant ones here are George R.R. Martin and Walton Simons): Ezili-je-Rouge, Sascha Starfin the eyeless telepath, Peter Pann, Melissa Blackwood aka Topper

    Kinsey Millhone (novels by Sue Grafton)

    Carlotta Carlyle (novels by Linda Barnes)

    Leo Waterman (novels by G.M. Ford)

    Joe Quigley aka Humphrey Bogart Quigley (novel ‘Lady Slings the Booze’ by Spider Robinson)

    Bernard J. Fortunato (minor character in a couple of Spenser novels by Robert B. Parker)

    Carole Stanwyck and Sydney Kovak, not sure of the agency’s name but it could be something like the Caulfield Detective Agency (tv show ‘Partners in Crime’ starring Lynda Carter and Loni Anderson)

    Stanley Hastings (novels by Parnell Hall)

    Sallingsworth (minor character in one of Parnell Hall’s Stanley Hastings novels)

    Mark Taylor, Taylor Detective Agency (Steve Winslow novels by Parnell Hall): many operatives

    Paul Drake, Drake Detective Bureau (Perry Mason novels by Erle Stanley Gardner): many operatives

    Dol Bonner aka Theodolinda Bonner, Bonner Detective Agency Inc. (novel ‘The Hand in the Glove’ and several Nero Wolfe novels by Rex Stout): Sally Colt aka Sally Corbett, other operatives

    Del Bascom aka Larry Bascom, Bascom Agency (I think) (various Nero Wolfe novels by Rex Stout): many operatives

    Saul Panzer and Fred Durkin and Orrie Cather and Johnny Keems and Bill Gore (freelance detective/operatives in many Nero Wolfe novels by Rex Stout)

    Jay Kerr and Harland Ide and Steve Amsel and Ferdinand Dolman (minor characters in ‘Too Many Detectives’ and ‘Murder By the Book’ by Rex Stout)

    Morley Shine (novel ‘I Is For Innocent’ by Sue Grafton)

    Albert Samson (novels by Michael Z. Lewin)

    Kinky Friedman and Steve Rambam (novels by Kinky Friedman): Friedman is a retired country singer who now writes novels about what if he was a private eye. In the novels, he’s just a dilettante but he does get paid for his work. Steve Rambam is his friend, possibly in real life too, and also a private detective, a more professional one; the two cooperate but aren’t part of the same ‘agency’.

    Eric Tiberius Duckman and Willibald Feivel Cornfed (animated TV show ‘Duckman’)

    Darryl Zero (movie ‘Zero Effect’): attorney Steve Arlo

    Fenton Hardy (Hardy Boys novels by Franklin W. Dixon): Sam Radley

    Dan Tanna (TV show ‘Vega$’): Binzer

  15. legionabstract

    Part 2 of long list

    Rick Simon and A.J. Simon (TV show ‘Simon & Simon’)

    Celeste Rockfish and Bounty (early issues of the ‘Five Years Later’ period of the comic book ‘Legion of Super-Heroes’)

    _____ Wayne (minor character in a couple of issues of the Levitz-era ‘Legion of Super-Heroes Comic’): a descendant of Batman who worked as a P.I. on 30th-century Earth

    Dakota North (from the Marvel comic book of the same name)

    Dixon Hill (from the TV series ‘Star Trek: the Next Generation’): identity adopted by Captain Picard in detective simulations on the holodeck

    J. Sheringham Adair, Tilbury Detective Agency (from several novels by P.G. Wodehouse): Adair is just the name that goes with the agency (like ‘the Dread Pirate Roberts’), which is run by various ne’er-do-wells out to make a quick buck by pretending to be detectives.

    Nick Charles (from the novel ‘The Thin Man’ by Dashiell Hammett)

    Philip Marlowe (from novels by Raymond Chandler): I don’t recall anyone mentioning him, but someone must have, right?

    Lew Archer (from novels by Ross Macdonald): Same as for Philip Marlowe

    Harvey Blissberg (from novels by Richard Rosen)

    Matt Scudder (from novels by Lawrence Block)

    Leo Haig (from the novels ‘Make Out With Murder’ and ‘The Topless Tulip Caper’ by Lawrence Block): a Nero Wolfe pastiche/parody, Chip Harrison

    Caligula Foxe (from the short story ‘If Looks Could Kill’ by David Langford in the superhero anthology EuroTemps): another Nero Wolfe pastiche/parody, Charlie Goodman

    Matt Houston (from the TV show of the same name)

    Ace Crawford (from the TV show ‘Ace Crawford, Private Eye’): as portrayed by Tim Conway, which should give you some idea

    Daniel Kearny, Daniel Kearny and Associates (from the DKA Files novels by Joe Gores): based on Gores’ experiences as an actual private eye, operatives include Larry Ballard (the main character of the novels), Bart Heslip, Trin Morales, Ken Warren, Gisele Marc, Patrick Michael O’Bannon

    Ezekiel ‘Easy’ Rawlins (from the novels by Walter Mosley)

    Kat Colorado (from novels by Karen Kijewski)

    Garrett (from fantasy/mystery novels by Glen Cook)

    Joe Barley, there’s an agency but I couldn’t catch the name of it (novels by Eric Wright)

    Benny Cooperman (novels by Howard Engel)

    Vinnie Rubio (novels by Eric Garcia): note that Vinnie is secretly a dinosaur disguised as a human

    Hope that helps.

  16. wafflebot

    To clarify: Matt Scudder is an ex-cop, not a licensed PI, works for self, takes money under the table for his services.

  17. edige23

    Jess Nevin’s Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana has a huge list of detectives and investigators from that period. He also has a site on Pulp Heroes (including detectives) of the pre-war+ years. (

  18. legionabstract

    That’s okay; a lot of the people on these lists aren’t licensed.

    A couple of kid detectives I forgot:

    Jack P. McGurk, The McGurk Organization (series of novels by E.W. Hildick): Joey Rockaway, Wanda Greig, Willie ‘The Nose’ Sandowsky, Brains Bellingham, Mari Yoshimura.

    Jupiter Jones and Pete Crenshaw and Bob Andrews, The Three Investigators (series of novels by various authors, primarily Robert Arden)

    Also note that Encyclopedia Brown had an operative/assistant named Sally Kimball.

  19. wafflebot

    Oh, I knew it was “allowable;” just trying to give some of the details GR requested.

    Also: Nate the Great, kid detective. Don’t know anything about him.

  20. gabbicus

    Are you getting into the Paranormal?

    B.P.R.D. has a great cast of names I can pull up for ya.


  21. admin

    Paranormal isn’t a problem — but I’m looking for PIs, not for cops, not for secret agents, so neither Hellboy nor Ghostbusters qualifies.

  22. doregoncity

    A Detective

    Daryl Zero

  23. enewsom

    Thrilling Detective

    Has anyone pointed out the comprehensive listing at Thrilling Detective?

  24. lithera

    I didn’t see it but did anyone mention Adrian Monk from Monk?
    Technically also John Shaft from Shaft.

    All of the others I could think of have been offered already or are completely amateur and are more crime solving as a hobby – like Jessica Fletcher.

  25. macfromhouston

    How about Nick Stefanos from George Pelecanos’ first books? I think he listed himself as ‘Nick Stefanos, Investigator’ in the Yellow Pages. A cagey drunk with impeccable taste in music!
    Hope you’re doing well, Mr. Rucka!
    Looking forward to Patriot Acts!

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