You have an AmateurSleuth or [[TheExoticDetective an exotic detective]]. And to prove just how smart he is, not only can he solve any case just by scanning the crime scene, he can also solve crimes without ever having to visit the scene. The Phone-In Detective is the detective who is able to do some of his sleuthing over the phone due to being away for some reason. Full time Phone-In Detectives are rare, often the detectives will only have to phone in very few of their cases their whole life and will only do so for special cases. It is not completely necessary for any phones to be involved, however, the detective might get the information from telegrams, newspapers, e-mail, or regular reports from TheWatson or the police.

Will sometimes be the only interaction the lead has in a LowerDeckEpisode.

Not to be confused with detectives who are "phoning it in", i.e. doing an incredibly lazy half-assed job.



[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/DetectiveConan'': By using his voice changer, Conan has had "Shinichi" (i.e. himself) solve cases over long distances; his father has also solved cases by reading/watching the news, and when his mother repeated his deductions on TV (without divulging where she got the information), she was the one given credit when the cases eventually broke the way she "predicted".
* ''Manga/{{Remote}}'' was about such a detective--he'd developed agoraphobia, so was assigned a young policewoman with a two-way radio who did the leg work.
* ''Manga/DeathNote'': L has been in hiding his entire career, and communicates via phone, computer and his intermediary Watari, emerging only on special occasions for particularly complex crimes [[spoiler: or particularly helpful assistants]].
* Victorique from ''LightNovel/{{Gosick}}'' isn't allowed to leave the Academy until later in the story, so she often solves crimes based on descriptions of the circumstances given to her by witnesses.

[[folder: Film ]]
* ''Film/TheBoneCollector''. Quadriplegic forensics expert Lincoln Rhyme (Denzel Washington) uses police officer Amelia Donaghy (Angelina Jolie) as his eyes and ears to catch a serial killer.
* In ''Film/{{Copycat}}'', Dr. Helen Hudson is a respected field expert on serial killers who has become an agrophobic shut-in after being attacked by serial killer Daryll Lee Callum. When a new series of murders spread fear and panic across San Francisco, Inspector M.J. Monahan and her partner Reuben Goetz solicit Helen's expertise. Initially reluctant, Helen soon finds herself drawn into the warped perpetrator's game of wits.
* Early in ''Film/SherlockHolmes'', the titular character hasn't left the flat for months after capturing [[BigBad Lord Blackwood]] having no interesting cases. Watson tries to get him interested in some cases, only for Holmes to brush him off having already solved them with the information in the letters alone.
* ''Film/{{ROTOR}}''. 75% of Detective Coldyron's scenes involve him being on the phone with another character. Often, after he hangs up on one character, he goes ahead and ''dials another immediately''.

[[folder: Literature ]]
* Literature/SherlockHolmes
** Mycroft Holmes, though even more gifted than his brother in observation and deduction, "has no ambition and no energy. He will not even go out of his way to verify his own solutions, and would rather be considered wrong than take the trouble of proving himself right."
** Also Sherlock's primary MO for the majority of his 'Consulting Detective' commissions: the reader generally only hears about the ones interesting enough for him to bestir himself, but many stories open with Holmes ranting about how the lack of decent crime has once again reduced him to pathetic challenges he can resolve from his armchair.
*** And remember that Holmes could still manage a lot of those cases in his career, [[LiteraryAgentHypothesis but given Watson is the guy who publishes Holmes's cases]], [[FridgeBrilliance it only makes sense that he publishes the most interesting cases (when Holmes does something) rather than those that could be solved by phone, or telegraph or consult or whatever]].
* Creator/EdgarAllanPoe's Literature/CAugusteDupin solved ''Literature/TheMysteryOfMarieRoget'' by reading newspaper accounts.
* Literature/EncyclopediaBrown sometimes, especially when solving cases for his father over dinner.
* Literature/NeroWolfe who rarely left his brownstone, having Archie Goodwin act as his leg man and collect all the information he needed to solve the crime.
** And Nero Wolfe had an {{Expy}} in the ''Literature/LordDarcy'' stories: Darcy's cousin the Marquis of London. As brilliant a mind as Darcy, but lazy (and cheap). So much so that he once had Darcy's assistant Master Sean arrested for murder so Darcy would be forced to solve the crime in order to prove his innocence.
*** Darcy countered by proving that the most likely suspect was Lord Bontriomphe, the Marquis's personal assistant (the Goodwin expy).
** Parodied in ''Literature/TheAreasOfMyExpertise'' with a detective who never leaves his bathtub.
* The Argentine detective Don Isidro Parodi, created by Creator/JorgeLuisBorges and Adolfo Bioy Casares under the pen name H. Bustos Domecq, is a man unjustly imprisoned whom friends (and friends of friends) come visit at his cell with stories about mysteries and crimes, which he never fails to solve just by listening to their reports.
** Don Isidro [[MeaningfulName Parodi]] is a DeconstructiveParody of this (and many others mysteries) tropes combined with a juvenalian {{Satire}} of Argentinean society: All the ''"friends"'' who consult him are truly {{Jerkass}}es whom could not care less about Parodi's MiscarriageOfJustice [[GovernmentConspiracy being falsely accused and judged by]] a KangarooCourt [[FrameUp only to save a]] SleazyPolitician mook (TruthInTelevision in all UsefulNotes/LatinAmerica). It's implied that all the consultants have enough intellect to discover the crime for themselves, but they can't because they are {{Hypocrite}}s who don't want to face the truth about themselves. One of the consultants lampshades [[DefectiveDetective that an imprisoned man could not be the right person to solve crimes,]] [[HypocriticalHumor only to immediately explain Parodi his case]]. One third of the cases Parodi gets the consultants try to make him his DetectivePatsy, [[DudeWheresMyReward no one pays him]] or try to [[ClearMyName Clear His Name]], and given his situation as everyone's ButtMonkey, the only triumphs he has is to be the DoomedMoralVictor and tries to make things ForHappiness.
* Creator/IsaacAsimov's Literature/BlackWidowers story, "{{Literature/Northwestward}}", where the only information that the Black Widowers have is what Mr Wayne is able to convey about the mystery. This is quite enough for Henry to solve the problem.
* Another Asimovian detective, Wendell Urth, was so afraid of travelling that he, like Literature/NeroWolfe, worked almost entirely from home.
* ''The Old Man in the Corner'' stories by the Baroness Orczy, creator of Literature/TheScarletPimpernel. A classic armchair detective, the Old Man relies mostly upon sensationalistic "penny dreadful" newspaper accounts, with the occasional courtroom visit. He narrates all this information, while tying complicated knots in a piece of string, to a female Journalist who frequents the same tea-shop (the ABC Teashop on the corner of Norfolk Street and the Strand). They enjoy an antagonistic relationship, as the Journalist attempts to cut the Old Man's ego down to size and the Old Man trumps her every time.
* Literature/HerculePoirot is a psychological detective who doesn't bother with searching for physical evidences and running around looking for clues. Occasionally, he would use only the testimonies and written eyewitness accounts of the case to reconstruct the whole truth behind it
** In ''Literature/ThreeActTragedy'', Poirot comes in late in the story, and by the time he becomes involved, most of the bulk investigation has been completed by the {{Amateur Sleuth}}s. Poirot would remain in the background throughout the entire case, while the other three reported the results their investigations to him.
** In ''Literature/TheClocks'', Poirot is retired and does not partake in the actual investigation. Instead, his friend Colin gave him his written account of the case, and the interrogation that has occurred. Poirot used this account to solve the mystery without having to set foot on the crime scene or even saying a single word to any of the suspects.
** Poirot had once solved a crime without leaving his room for a bet. No phone was involved though, he just asked for police reports (and used his friend Hastings to run errands). On another occasion he was in bed with flu, and contacted Hastings at the scene via telegram.
* Creator/AgathaChristie had Literature/TommyAndTuppence solve one case in the style of the Old Man in the Corner in ''Partners in Crime''.
* In ''Literature/TheRomanMysteries'', KidDetective Flavia solves several mysteries this way in some of the short stories, though in the regular novels she generally investigates mysteries on the scene.
* Penelope Peters in the short stories "Death Rides the Elevator" and "Murder in Monkeyland" by Lois H. Gresh and Robert Weinberg is a severe agoraphobic who not only can't leave her house, but can't be in a room with windows. Like Nero Wolfe, she has an assistant to act as her legman, unlike Archie Goodwin, his job is simplified by it being the turn of the millennium, so he can contact her with his cellphone while in the middle of an investigation.
* In "Mr Strang Accepts a Challenge" by Bill Brittain, Brittain's logic teacher detective solves a six-month-old crime without leaving the classroom, to demonstrate the practical uses of logic to his students.

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]
* The title character of the Series/{{ITV}} series ''Series/TheManInRoom17'' was a sociologist who consulted on difficult police cases and solved them without ever leaving his office.
* Series/{{Monk}} once solved a hit and run by reading a newspaper. Then he solved a murder in ''France'' that was reported in the same newspaper and phoned the French police department about his revelation.
** In direct parallel with Sherlock Holmes, we have Adrian's much smarter brother Ambrose, who never leaves his house. Unlike Mycroft's laziness, Ambrose is severely agoraphobic.
* ''Series/{{Psych}}'': Shawn began his crime-solving career by reporting anonymous tips to the police through the phone based off observations he made watching news reports.
* Series/{{House}}, the medical detective, once had to solve a case through the phone while at the airport. Another case was solved over a webcam since the patient was stuck in Antarctica. Even in normal circumstances, he often can't be bothered to talk to the patient, and phones in a diagnosis via his underlings.
* J.L. "Fatman" [=McCabe=] of ''Series/JakeAndTheFatman'' would send investigator Jake Styles out to do his legwork for him.
* Patrick Jane of ''Series/TheMentalist'' once spent most of an episode in prison and ''still'' solved the case. One memorable trick: knowing Rigsby was on his way to interview a suspect, Jane phoned the suspect using Rigsby's name and insulted him, provoking the suspect to attack Rigsby and get himself arrested... and put in the same prison as Jane, who could then talk to him in person.
* Arkady Balagan in ''Series/{{Endgame}}'' suffers from agoraphobia, and refuses to leave his hotel. So he has Sam, and various hotel staff members, do his legwork for him.
* Kazahaya Kyoko from the Japanese drama ''Series/KeishichouNashigorenKa'' despises legwork and solves cases from crime scene recordings and news reports. Averted in her cameo on ''[[Series/MajisukaGakuen Cabasuka Gakuen]]''.
* Series/{{Sherlock}} Holmes, during "A Scandal in Belgravia", solved a case via webcam, which gave him a few quick glances at the crime scene. While wearing nothing but a bedsheet.
--> '''Irene Adler:''' You got all that from one look? Definitely the new sexy.
** When he meets Mycroft at the Buckingham Palace, Mycroft tells him that he glanced at the case file and tells Holmes that the solution is obvious.
** In "The Empty Hearse", there's a montage of Sherlock solving cases in the initial interview, including the ''Sherlock'' counterpart to "A Case of Identity".
* In an episode of ''Series/TokusouSentaiDekaranger,'' Sen was able to solve the mystery via the others describing the room they were in even though he was miles away (and ''in the villain's DeathTrap.'')
* An extreme case in ''Series/QuincyME'' where not only was our hero in a hospital bed but a coma. Done by his friends asking themselves [[WhatWouldXDo "what would Quincy do?"]], with some of their answers verging on telepathy.
* ''Series/DeathInParadise'': In "An Unhelpful Aid", DI Poole is able to solve a murder while lying delirious in his sickbed, being fed information by Dwayne and Fidel.

[[folder: Visual Novels ]]
* Kyouko Kirigiri in ''VisualNovel/{{Danganronpa}}'' solves the bulk of the third case after hearing about it once, in which she'd mysteriously disappeared for the entire incident. She looked like she was going to pull off the same in the fifth trial, but that was a HopelessBossFight in which none of the students had the information necessary to make it solvable.

[[folder: Real Life ]]
* [[ British computing lore]] tells of an engineer who, back in the days of massive mainframe computer setups, could diagnose which modules would need to be repaired just by listening to a description of the symptoms (as opposed to the usual technique, which was basically trial and error). Having discerned the problem in this way, he would head out to the installation site, unfold a big diagram of the hardware, and toss chicken bones over them like a fortune teller. Invariably, to the confusion of the customers, the bones knew which parts to replace...
* There are people out in the world who have gotten so experienced with fixing cars that they can diagnose mechanical issues based on the make/model, brief description of the symptoms, and a short video with sound.