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[[quoteright:330:[[Franchise/SherlockHolmes http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/basil_7127.jpg]]]]

->''I never guess. It is a shocking habit--destructive to the logical faculty.''
-->-- '''Literature/SherlockHolmes''', ''Literature/TheSignOfTheFour''

A staple of MysteryFiction and DetectiveFiction, the Great Detective relies on powers of deduction and educated thought to solve crimes. The Great Detective is usually an AmateurSleuth or a PrivateDetective (because PoliceAreUseless). Some of these detectives will have an ArchEnemy that will be [[EvilCounterpart their equal, but in a different light.]]

The Great Detective tradition originates with Eugène François Vidocq, a RealLife criminal-turned-detective and founder of the [[LesCopsSportif French Sûreté]]. Vidocq pioneered many of the scientific methods of detective work which would later become common in fictional detective stories.

The first Great Detective in fiction was Creator/EdgarAllanPoe's Literature/CAugusteDupin. Poe rejected the Vidocq model in favor of a more fantastic kind of detective. Later, the Dupin model was further codified by Creator/ArthurConanDoyle's Literature/SherlockHolmes, the most famous example to this day.

In Japan, where the Golden Age of detective fiction never quite ended, this type of character is called "Meitantei".

Compare: HardboiledDetective and LittleOldLadyInvestigates. Contrast with GentlemanThief.

Will often be accompanied by TheWatson as an AudienceSurrogate. Not uncommon for him to have natural {{defect|ive detective}}s.


[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* Shin'ichi Kudo/Conan Edogawa, of ''Manga/DetectiveConan''. Also, Heiji Hattori who is on par with him. Both are considered as the "Meitantei of East [Shin'ichi] and West [Heiji]", respectively. "The Sleeping Kogoro Mouri" is ''believed'' to be one, but it's actually Conan who solves the cases. However, the filler character Heihachiro Shiota was known as the "Legendary Great Detective" and was Kogoro's teacher.
** "The Gathering of the Detectives" arc introduced five other Meitantei besides Shin'ichi/Conan/Sleeping Kogoro. One of them is [[Manga/MagicKaito Kaito KID's]] rival Saguru Hakuba.
** Other detectives like Sera Masumi and Tooru Amuro, [[spoiler:who is actually the Black Organisation member Bourbon]], are introduced late in the manga, but they are not on the same level as Shin'ichi and Heiji. That underlines these two as the real Meitantei of the series. The only character who is shown to be greater than Shin'ichi is his father Yusaku. However, Yusaku does not work as a detective, he's instead a writer.
* Oddly enough, Loki, Norse [[TricksterArchetype trickster]] god, in ''Manga/MythicalDetectiveLokiRagnarok''.
* Subverted in ''Anime/YuGiOhGX'', where Manjoume has declared himself Super Detective Manjoume Thunder on a few occasions. He's miserable at it, but it doesn't stop him.
* L in ''Manga/DeathNote'', who later reveals that he is the world's ''three'' greatest detectives, by use of pseudonyms. [[spoiler:After his death, L is succeeded by]] Mello and Near (L-M-N, get it?), [[spoiler:two younger proteges trained in the same school/institution that produced L]].
* Houtarou Oreki of ''Literature/{{Hyouka}}'', though [[HumbleHero he thinks otherwise.]]
* Practically everyone in ''Manga/DetectiveSchoolQ'', but specially people like [[GeniusDitz Kyuu Renjou]], [[ChickMagnet Ryu Amakusa]], [[UnflappableGuardian Professor Morihiko Dan]] and [[spoiler: Professor Dan's niece]] [[PluckyGirl Sakurako Yukihira.]]
* Chiko in ''Manga/TheDaughterOfTwentyFaces'' is this, although her powers of deduction aren't really used to help the ''law'' per se...
* Hajime Kindaichi from ''Manga/TheKindaichiCasefiles''.
* Inspector Lunge in ''{{Anime/Monster}}'' seems heavily inspired by Holmes. Working on cases seems to be his entire life and he is shown repeatedly to be unable to stop, even using his forced vacation to continue the investigation.
* ''Meitantei Holmes'', a FunnyAnimal adaptation of Franchise/SherlockHolmes (called ''Anime/SherlockHound'' in the US), created by (of all people) Creator/HayaoMiyazaki.
* ''Anime/AgathaChristiesGreatDetectivesPoirotAndMarple'' is a 2004 anime teaming up Literature/HerculePoirot and Literature/MissMarple through the device of Marple's great-niece Mabel West. Aimed at older teens.
* ''Manga/KarakurizoushiAyatsuriSakon'' (aka ''Doll Puppeteer Sakon''). Sakon is a student and a traditional ''bunraku'' performer (a style of traditional Japanese theatre employing very detailed life-sized puppets). In his spare time, though, he is an AmateurSleuth. And his partner in his investigations is his red-haired, loud-mouthed puppet, Ukon.
* ''Manga/SteamDetectives'', the story of Boy Detective Narutaki and his endless fight against the various mad scientists and masked villains that are trying to take over Steam City.
* Subverted by ''Manga/MajinTanteiNougamiNeuro'', which appears to be a typical Meitantei about a genius teenage-girl detective specialising in ParanormalInvestigation ... but in reality, she's merely the slightly dense puppet of Neuro, a creepy-but-brilliant demon from Hell who "eats mysteries".
* In ''Manga/RozenMaiden'', [[ShowWithinAShow there's a]] puppet FunnyAnimal one called Meitantei Kun Kun. Shinku is a fan.
* ''Manga/FutureDiary'': Akise Aru is the best non-diary holder after all.
* ''LightNovel/{{Gosick}}'' gives us Victorique the ElegantGothicLolita Great Detective. [[spoiler:Her brother]] Grevil, meanwhile, is ''[[FakeUltimateHero reputed]]'' to be this.
* In ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', Solf J. Kimblee is the evil version of this. He may be a PsychoForHire mass murderer, but he's also a brilliant detective.
** Lt. Col. Maes Hughes as well, as he [[spoiler:deduces that both the layout of Amestris and the locations of recent large-scale military conflicts form the same kind of transmutation circle needed to create a Philospher's Stone, a process that requires the sacrifice of human lives. Particularly notable in that Hughes himself isn't an alchemist, yet he picked up on these facts long before any other character. Unfortunately, he gets killed by one of the conspirators before he can share this information.]]
* In ''LightNovel/AriaTheScarletAmmo'', a VERY NON-CANONICAL descendant of Sherlock Holmes comes from the young {{tsundere}} Aria. She obviously takes up the mantle.
* ''LightNovel/HeavensMemoPad'' gives us Alice, the Great Detective for the NEET detective team.
* In ''LightNovel/RyuugajouNananaNoMaizoukin'' Tensai gives herself the title Master Detective. While people laugh at her for it, she does actually live up to her claims, being able to figure out just about any mystery.

[[folder: Comics]]
* Franchise/{{Batman}}. Yes, he is a top martial artist. Yes, he is a great chemist. But first, he's the world's greatest detective.
* The ductile detective, ComicBook/ElongatedMan. He's just as good as Batman, if not better, but is often overlooked because he's not a gritty, mean, tragic origin guy, nor has he had several movies and TV shows about him.
* And thirdly, there's this faceless [[ComicBook/TheQuestion guy]]. He's a straight up ace detective and lacks the gadgets and powers of the two above. He's also been referred to as the world's second greatest detective.
* [[Characters/WatchmenRorschac Rorschach]], unsurprisingly given he's an {{expy}} of Batman and the Question. He's hailed as the world's greatest detective in ''The Watchmen'' universe.
* ComicBook/TheSpirit qualifies as both brainy investigator and two fisted gumshoe; his aide Ebony White has moments of brilliance as well.
* Oh and then there's also [[Comicbook/RobinSeries Tim Drake]], who Batman has said will one day surpass him, in addition to being one of two people Ra's al Ghul calls "Detective." So some nice recommendations for the position.
* [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detective_Chimp Detective Chimp]] from the Franchise/DCU. A hyper-intelligent chimpanzee that happens to be one of the best detectives in the world. He likes reminding people that Franchise/{{Batman}} is merely the world's greatest ''human'' detective.
* John Constantine the ''ComicBook/{{Hellblazer}}'', although with the word [[OccultDetective "occult" right before "detective"]].
* Gabriel Webb from ''ComicBook/TheMazeAgency''.
* Abraham Moth from the graphic novel ''The Woman in Red: Son of Franchise/SherlockHolmes''.
* German example: ''ComicStrip/NickKnatterton''.
* Simon Archard from ''ComicBook/{{Ruse}}'', who is best described as "''totally'' not Sherlock Holmes, honest."
* Mickey Mouse from ''ComicBook/MickeyMouseComicUniverse''. Sometimes Mickey's hobby of solving crimes is raised to this level of skill (and sometimes also made his profession), particularly when he goes up against a similarly elevated Phantom Blot. A couple of stories also point out that he'd be a great criminal if he wanted to due to that same ingenuity.

[[folder: Fan Fiction]]
* Goro Akechi is still a famous detective in ''Fanfic/TheEvilQueen'' as he is in ''VideoGame/Persona5'', but in this setting he openly admits to Ann that he cheats. By using the Metaverse, he forces a change of heart onto criminals, then works backwards from there to "catch" them in the real world.

[[folder: Literature]]
* Creator/EdgarAllanPoe's Literature/CAugusteDupin.
* In ''Literature/JohannesCabal'' Cabal himself would almost qualify except most of his stories aren't traditional detective stories-the second novel ''Johannes Cabal The Detective'' shows an example of this-it even ends with Cabal giving a lengthy, pompous summation. If Cabal were so inclined, he'd make an excellent detective in the Sherlock Holmes vein, but Cabal is a scientist (and necromancer) first, detective second.
** In ''The Fall Of The House Of Cabal'' where things get a bit meta, Leonie Barrow, who proved an able sidekick to Cabal in his ''Detective'' novel, travels to a pocket universe where she is known as a Great Detective and Horst ends up being her comedy relief sidekick. While she serves well in the job (and is in real lief a forensic investigator) she laments that Cabal would have figured out the case sooner by dint of superior intellect-while Horst reminds her that Cabal's lack of social skills means he would have figured out means, but not motive.
* Gregory Temple of Literature/JohnDevil by Creator/PaulFeval
* Literature/MonsieurLecoq created by Creator/EmileGaboriau who was a direct influence on Sherlock Holmes
* Literature/SherlockHolmes, the TropeCodifier as far as modern audiences are concerned.
* Literature/ErastFandorin, the popular fictional Russian detective created by Boris Akunin. He is actually teamed with Literature/SherlockHolmes in one novella but [[spoiler:neither is able to "prevail" over the other]]. See Wiki/TheOtherWiki for more information...
* ''Anyone'' in detective fiction from the time of Sherlock Holmes until the type was [[{{Deconstruction}} deconstructed]] in ''Trent's Last Case'' in 1913. Furthermore, in a genre-wide example of FountainOfExpies, such characters tended to be thinly veiled copies of Holmes.
* Harry Salt, the main character of ''Literature/{{Incompetence}}'' certainly qualifies. Granted, damn near everybody else in the book is completely useless at what they do, but he is able to piece together a reasonably accurate account of a murder, despite the fact that the files contradict each other.
* Literature/HerculePoirot.
* The ''Literature/BasilOfBakerStreet'' series by Eve Titus. TheFilmOfTheBook, ''Disney/TheGreatMouseDetective'', is by [[Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon Disney]].
* Peter Wickham, aka The Sleuth, in the {{Steampunk}} {{Superhero}} novel ''The Falling Machine'' by Andrew P. Mayer, is Literature/SherlockHolmes crossed with [[Franchise/{{Batman}} Bruce Wayne]] without the bat symbolism.
* Literature/NeroWolfe, who is also ''mostly'' a PhoneInDetective, solving crimes from his brownstone while leaving field work to his borderline HardboiledDetective secretary Archie Goodwin.
* The title character of the ''Literature/MediochreQSethSeries'' has 'being a Great Detective' as a ''superpower''.
* Commissaire Adamsberg (in Fred Vargas novels).
* Literature/LordDarcy, who can best be described as "Sherlock Holmes in a Victorian world with magic".
* Literature/NickCarter, a DimeNovel detective.
* Literature/LordPeterWimsey
* In ''Literature/TheInvisibleLibrary'', Irene encounters one of those. He followed her trainee, deduced that they were after the same book thief he was investigating, and suggests that they should work together. Since she is a MagicLibrarian and they are in a parallel universe where mythical creatures are real, it is not quite clear whether he is supposed to be part of the "things working according to story logic" reality, or just sort of there because it ''is'' London. Notably, he directly (and apparently unconsciously) quotes Holmes at one point, which Kai has trouble keeping a straight face about. Irene herself enjoys working with him; WordOfGod is that she took her chosen name from Irene Adler.
* ''Literature/WhodunitMysteries'' has Inspector Parnacki. He has his stoic personality, independent streak, and is reliant on deductive skills.
* Professor Augustus S. F. X. Van Dusen, Ph.D., LL.D., F.R.S., M.D., M.D.S., a.k.a. 'Literature/TheThinkingMachine', was an early American imitator of Sherlock Holmes.

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'', being a modern update of Literature/SherlockHolmes.
* And the modern update [[InSpace in America]], ''Series/{{Elementary}}''
* ''Series/KamenRiderDouble'' and ''Series/KamenRiderDrive'' are this in {{Toku}} form.
* Adrian Series/{{Monk}} is one, despite also being a DefectiveDetective.
* Madame Vastra in ''Series/DoctorWho'', who is the InUniverse inspiration for Literature/SherlockHolmes. The Doctor himself has been called "the great detective" on a few occasions, and though he rarely encounters traditional mysteries (or rather, the mysteries that he faces take the form of figuring out how to stop the villain rather than who it is), he is more than equal to the task, his SherlockScan second to none.

[[folder: Tabletop Games]]
* Alanik Ray, ''TabletopGame/{{Ravenloft}}'s'' Literature/SherlockHolmes expy, is even called "the Great Detective" in-universe.
* In ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' lore Jace Beleren has played this role a few times. Particularly recently wherein both Shadows over Innistrad and Eldrich Moon he and Tamiyo worked together to solve the mystery of the strange happenings surrounding the deteriorating mental state of Avacyn and the transformation of some of the planes population into Eldrich Horrors.

[[folder: Theatre]]
* In the Theatre/{{Mrs Hawking}} play series, the title character is in many ways a lady version of Sherlock Holmes, down to the Victorian setting.

[[folder: Video Games]]
* Batman's detective skills are regularly put to the test in the overall ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamSeries''. While he has more of a reliance on technology in Arkham Origins (something the developers said was intentional) in Asylum and City he only uses his gadgets to aid him in whatever is humanly impossible for him to do and to store/reference information. One case involves him trying to solve a murder, but the crime scene was cleaned and bleached. [[CrazyPrepared So he calibrates his cowl to track the traces of bleach.]]
* Subverted in ''VisualNovel/AceAttorney'' with the character Luke Atmey. As far as the player can tell, he devotes his life to his detective work, especially to cases involving a [[PhantomThief master thief]] named Mask☆[=DeMasque=]. By the end of the case, we find out [[spoiler:that he's been the mastermind behind everything Mask☆[=DeMasque=] has ever done, blackmailing the thief into heists and then taking advantage of them to improve his image in the public eye. He goes so far as to murder someone, then allow himself to be accused of being the thief himself to avoid this information getting out.]]
** That's arguably a deconstruction, since Luke [[spoiler:explicitly states ''twice'' he felt himself so great he needed to deliberately create an adversary that could match him. But, he maybe was just an AttentionWhore.]]
** [[spoiler:Considering that his name is "Look at me", and his theme is called "I just want love" (named after the pun in his Japanese name, Aiga Hoshiidake), he may be an AttentionWhore.]]
** While it's not his official job title, due to the absurd amount of evidence he uncovers it can be argued that Phoenix (and later Athena and Apollo) himself fits the trope.
** There's a reason the Miles Edgeworth game is called ''Ace Attorney Investigations'' when he's technically a prosecutor; all he does is detective about. He even has a [[http://www.awkwardzombie.com/comic1-030110.php special power]] that's making logical deductions by connecting known facts.
* VideoGame/ProfessorLayton from the series of the same name - although the extent to how awesome he really is doesn't come into play until near the end of the first game.
** [[InsistentTerminology He's not a detective, he's an archaeologist]]!
* Alfendi Layton from Professor Layton Spin off, ''VideoGame/LaytonBrothersMysteryRoom''
* Erika Furudo from ''VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry'' is a parody of the archetype: a Great Detective with ten times the brainpower of Literature/SherlockHolmes and one-tenth the social graces of Sherlock Holmes. So convinced is she that crimes will happen wherever she goes, she actually begins her investigation into the murder before anybody has been murdered. In [=EP7=], however, Willard H. Wright is a truly great detective.
* If played correctly, [[VideoGame/LANoire Cole Phelps]] is potentially the greatest detective in Los Angeles, able to [[LivingLieDetector squeeze the truth]] [[BreakThemByTalking out of anyone]].
* The cast of ''VideoGame/GuiltyParty'', though the most classically Great Detective-ish of them is their patriarch, The Commodore/Dorian Dickens.
* C. Auguste Dupin resumes this mantle in each installment of the ''VideoGame/DarkTales'' series.
* [[spoiler: Kyoko Kirigiri]], the Ultimate/Super Highschool Level Detective in ''Franchise/{{Danganronpa}}''. She comes from [[BornDetective a clan of detectives considered the greatest in history]], and this makes her vital in solving the mysteries of the school. By the end of the game, after solving multiple mysteries and acting much like [[Franchise/SherlockHolmes her Watson]] of sorts, [[TheHero Naegi]] probably also counts.
** There is also the other Ultimate/Super Highschool Level Detective in the series, Shuichi Saihara, in [[VisualNovel/NewDanganRonpaV3 Danganronpa V3]].
** The other protagonists of the series also either through experience gained through the game and some hand-holding by other characters or through natural talent also count.
** While his role is not Ultimate Detective, [[UltimateLifeForm Ultimate Affluent Progency, Byakua Togami]], constantly solves the case before the other students or asks the right questions and uncovers the right facts for him to undoubtedly count.
** The prequel novels ''LightNovel/DanganRonpaKirigiri'' reveals the existence of a system called the Detective Shelf Collection, which ranks every registered detective based on two levels of specialization and aptitude in those fields, with 9 being the lowest. While Kyouko specializes in solving murders, a rank of three zeros implies a mastery of every possible field of crime solving, so much that only four detectives have ever reached this level. Her grandfather Fuhito Kirigiri (who taught her everything she knows) is thought to qualify for this ranking if not for his being opposed to the DSC system at its founding.
* ''[[Franchise/ShinMegamiTenseiPersona Persona]]'':
** ''VideoGame/Persona4'' has Naoto Shirogane, the Detective Prince. Despite being looked down on by the police [[NotNowKiddo for being a teenager]] and [[SamusIsAGirl a girl]], she's clever enough that her investigation occasionally outpaces the [[TrueCompanions Investigation Team]]'s, despite having no clue about the supernatural forces involved in the kidnappings and serial murders. When she joins the Investigation Team proper, the plot quickly moves from saving the victims to figuring out the true culprit.
** Sequel ''VideoGame/Persona5'' has [[HeroAntagonist Goro Akechi]], titled "[[ContinuityNod The Second Advent of the Detective Prince]]", who investigates the [[TrueCompanions Phantom Thieves of Heart]]. Despite his initial and public denunciations of the Phantom Thieves' [[HeelFaceBrainwashing methods]], he [[SixthRanger eventually joins the Phantom Thieves]] [[spoiler:only to betray them, revealing that he's actually in league with the Conspiracy, as well as the illegitimate son of its ringleader, and also that he's the one who apparently caused all the crimes he investigated to being with, by using his power to make people's shadows go berserk. His ultimate goal is to help his father's plan succeed, only to betray him at the last minute, but feelings of attachment to the party and a desire for his father's recognition complicate this]].
* ''VisualNovel/DetectiveHankAndTheGoldenSneeze'' has the titular Hank.
''VideoGame/TheInvisibleHours'' has Gustaf Gustav, "the detective so good they named him twice." He's able deduce the who committed a murder within twenty minutes using a bit of trivia about timezones and good character judgment, [[TheAlcoholic despite drinking heavily during that whole time.]]

* In ''Webcomic/MonsieurCharlatan'', Isidore Charlatan's BackStory.

[[folder: WebOriginal]]
* Ryney from ''Literature/TheMysterySphere'' certainly applies, though he is BrilliantButLazy.
* Dramatic Detective of ''Blog/{{LIS_DEAD}}'' claims to wear this mantle, and shows some deductive skill to back it up.

[[folder: Real Life]]
* Speaking of Vidocq, there is a club aptly named [[http://www.vidocq.org/ The Vidocq Society]]. Made up of volunteers, they take on cold cases and many law enforcement agencies send them cases to review. Want to join? Well, you have to be an expert in some field of forensics to start off. Oh, and you have to be invited to join, pay $100 in member dues every year and attend at least one meeting yearly (meetings are every third Thursdays of the month, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania).