Friday, March 7, 2014

List: Top 3 Detectives in Classic Literature

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I’m not a huge fan of mysteries, puzzles, and crime stories, but I admit that when they are well-made, they could be very interesting, especially when the elements that hold them together are complex and immune from premature cracking.

That being said, I haven’t read much stories of this kind, so the number of detectives I considered to form this list is rather small. But this is actually understandable. After all, there are not much detectives from classical literature.

Please take note that List posts are updated from time to time, meaning that the entries in this list are subject to change, as I discover more classical detectives that could overthrow the current Top 3.

3. Auguste Dupin

            Auguste Dupin is created by Edgar Allan Poe. He is featured in The Murders in the Rue Morgue, among many others.

            What I really like about this detective is the mere fact that he is one of the very first one. We can say that he is one of the foundations of detective fiction. He has the basic outline of the typical detective -- intelligent, imaginative, and has a personal amusement to mystery. These traits are maximized in his observational and inferential skills.

            Sure, he is very much qualified for solving complex cases, but that’s about the whole of Auguste Dupin. He really lacks a personality that could make him a more solid character. He is not empty though. I’m just saying that he’s not well-moulded either.

2. Sherlock Holmes

            Sherlock Holmes is created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He is featured in The Hound of the Baskervilles, among many others.

            No doubt that he is the most popular detective even until now, so it might be surprising to you why he didn’t get first place and had to settle for Top 2. Please take note that List posts are highly opinionated, and this entry is a perfect portrayal of that. Sherlock Holmes being Top 2 is a personal matter, not technical. I just don’t like his attitude. He has the tendency to be arrogant, especially because he understands his own superiority.

            But putting that aside, Sherlock Holmes is an excellent detective with incredible deductive skills. He also has great talent in collecting necessary information. I’d go as far as to say that he is, overall, a better detective than Auguste Dupin.

            He also has more personality than Auguste Dupin, thanks to his arrogance and eccentricity. At least he has something going on in him.

1.  Sergeant Cuff

Wilkie Collins
            Sergeant Cuff is created by Wilkie Collins. He is featured in The Moonstone, considered the first English detective novel.

            Yes, he is just featured in one book, and he is automatically at a disadvantage to the first two entries of the list because he has very limited time to present himself. But still, I think he easily beats them in terms of characterization.

            Sergeant Cuff has a quirky personality. For an old fellow, he sure has a sense of humour. He also has some peculiar interests to make him more solid, like his interests in gardening and flowers, particularly roses.

            His detective skills are also balanced and believable. Even though he is generally brilliant like the other entries in the list, he has some huge space for error. This is very interesting, because the mistakes he commits make the story just more intense. So despite his relative inferiority, he is much more entertaining to subscribe to. Add the fact that he has a quirky personality, and he becomes even more entertaining. I’ll read him any day over an Auguste Dupin and Sherlock Holmes.

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  1. As you would probably guess, my favorite detective from classical literature is definitely Sherlock Holmes. I am biased though since I have been watching many Sherlock movies and TV series since I was a little kid. In general, I quite enjoy mysteries in various mediums and I have not read as many mysteries as I would like. The Moonstone sounds interesting, so I will have to look into that. As for my favorite detectives outside of literature, L from Death Note is one of my favorites. Yet another entertaining list!


    1. Yeah, I figured you like Sherlock Holmes. I have nothing against him. He just rubs me the wrong way. I don't like his personality. It's not entertaining. Sergeant Cuff is more entertaining to read because of his personality.

      Other than your top-novels post, I have no idea what kind of books you read, so I'm not sure if you're going to like the Moonstone. Classics are generally harder to read because of the writing styles, and add the fact that the Moonstone is a thick book, you might find it a chore to read.

      I also like L not just as a detective, but a character in general.

    2. Thanks for the heads up about the book. I am not sure if I would like it or not, but I will do some research on it.

      And I agree, L is one of my favorite characters in general as well. He would easily make my Top 10 favorite anime characters.


  2. Hey, why isn't Hercule Poirot on the list? He's the best.

    1. Take note that this is a personal list of the detectives I've liked in classic literature. It's nothing technical, but it's more on personal preference. But Hercule Poirot is an interesting choice! He's definitely one of the most iconic ones.