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[[quoteright:300:[[VideoGame/ScoobyDooFirstFrights http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Scooby_and_Shaggy_9873.JPG]]]]

->'''Shawn:''' I gave you the guy!\\
'''Detective Lassiter:''' He had a partner.\\
'''Shawn:''' I have to find ''that'' guy now? I'm confused; when do ''you'' start chipping in?
-->-- ''Series/{{Psych}}''

Character with no formal connection to law enforcement who regularly solves crimes but does not get paid for it.

Often a MysteryMagnet. If so, despite the amazing number and variety of murders that occur wherever he or she happens to be, the Amateur Sleuth is rarely -- if ever -- suspected of any complicity. This notwithstanding, the possibility that the Amateur Sleuth is in fact a very clever serial killer is a common joking assertion among some viewers. As one stand-up comedian once said of Jessica Fletcher from ''Series/MurderSheWrote'', "Wherever dat little white woman goes, somebody dies!" Another stand-up comedian remarked that "giving this woman a plane ticket is like giving Manson parole."

The other variety of amateur sleuth acts just like a professional, apart from the minor details of not having police powers, and not being paid to solve crimes. {{Intrepid Reporter}}s generally fall into this category. This might include a sleuth that would plausibly work with police on a regular basis because of the nature of their job. A typical example of this might be a district attorney or an insurance agent.

One common variety is a retired detective, such as Literature/HerculePoirot or [[Film/TheThinMan Nick Charles]]. Other specific variations are the LittleOldLadyInvestigates, the KidDetective and the MysteryWriterDetective. Some {{Hardboiled Detective}}s will be amateur sleuths, though this is rare. Compare PrivateDetective.

In literature, amateur sleuths are very frequently EveryMan (or more often Every Woman) characters who are nevertheless regarded as very intelligent and charismatic. They are not heroic in the IWasBornReady sense but are still courageous and prefer brains to brawn (which they are unsuited for anyway). Often it occurs without the character actually stepping forward and assertively taking charge, but only because others simply defer to her because of her natural intelligence and intuition. The amateur sleuth genre is especially known for having a built in readership. One of the things often said about such readers is that they consider themselves more intelligent than the general public at large, and are typically not two-fisted alpha types such as those who commonly become heroes in fiction. There is the expectation from the readers that the protagonist be the type of character that they can see themselves as. Also, a good number of self published and small press mystery authors give their protagonists the same daytime profession as themselves.

Very susceptible to a BusmansHoliday. If female, they also frequently are in a SleuthDatesCop situation.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Shinichi Kudo from ''Manga/DetectiveConan'' (''Case Closed'' in the US), before he is turned into a schoolboy KidDetective through a fictional [[FountainOfYouth drug]].
** The series actually has several of those, starting with Shinichi's father Yusaku who used to be sleuth and then became a mystery novelist. The one we see the most is Shinichi/Conan's friend Heiji Hattori, the son of a high-ranked policeman who often helps his dad as well as Conan himself. And in fact, there's a short arc named ''Detectives Koshien'' which gathers Conan, Heiji, and other ''three'' school-aged sleuths (Saguru Hakuba, Junya Tokitsu, and Natsuki Koshimizu) for a TV competition between them. [[spoiler: Which actually was a trap, since one of the detectives had greatly wronged another... and ended up dead for his trouble.]]
%%** And the aforementioned Saguru Hakuba is ''the'' Amateur Sleuth in another series by Gosho Aoyama, ''Manga/MagicKaito''.
* Yagami Light in ''Manga/DeathNote'' used to be an amateur sleuth, but now he is now a very clever serial killer.
%%** This trope would also apply to the kids from [[SchoolForScheming Wammy's House]].
* Jotaro Kujo, of ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventureStardustCrusaders''. The guy, as far as we know, has never taken a single class on the subject, but repeatedly outwits opponents and discerns the nature of the situation through intuition. Well, that and watching lots of ''Series/{{Columbo}}'' when he was younger.
%%* The titular ''Literature/PsychicDetectiveYakumo'', a college student who [[ISeeDeadPeople can see dead people]].
%%* Kyuu Renjou and his friends in ''Manga/DetectiveSchoolQ'' attend an ''academy'' for those.
%%* Nishigami of ''Manga/ShindereShoujoToKodokuNaShinigami'' is rapidly developing into this role.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The ComicBook/ElongatedMan, Ralph Dibny, also emphasizes detection in most of his stories (his name being a play on ''Literature/TheThinMan''), separating him from the wackiness of Plastic Man (who he started as an {{Captain Ersatz}} of) and the grim, Goddamn-Batmanitude of Batman.
%%* ''ComicBook/AlbanyAndSturgess'': Francis Albany and Olivia Sturgess.
* Rorschach from ''Comicbook/{{Watchmen}}''. Other superheroes were deputized by the US government eventually but once they were outlawed, they were retired.
** He's also a subversion, in that he's thoroughly dismissed as a paranoid lunatic. [[spoiler: In fact, Ozymandias plays on this paranoia to mislead the other heroes until it's too late.]]
* Really, every superhero who isn't officially authorized by the police or government.
** [[TheCape Capes]] especially oscillate on this status. Franchise/{{Superman}} is often stated to be specifically deputized by the Metropolis Police Department and the Franchise/{{Justice League|of America}}, and ComicBook/TheAvengers have at times had official status with the United States or the United Nations, or both, but are often independent.
** Likewise, Franchise/{{Batman}} has been deputized by the Gotham police department. Depending on the version, either it's official or unofficial. In either case, he has received first-rate detective training, making him a professional in all but title.
* Harry Vanderspeigle, the protagonist of ''ComicBook/ResidentAlien'', solves mysteries with his great observational and interpersonal skills, but has no formal training or license as a detective.
%%* [[ComicBook/SandmanMysteryTheatre The Sandman]]; that is, the Golden Age Sandman, not the guy with the dark hair and pale skin.
* Aside from John Hartigan, every hero in ''ComicBook/SinCity'' fits this description since they are not normally professional detectives (although Dwight used to be a PI).
* Mickey Mouse in ''ComicBook/MickeyMouseComicUniverse''. Building on traditions from the newspaper strip by Creator/FloydGottfredson, and the later Mickey/Goofy adventure comics by Paul Murry, he is depicted him as one in comics and in some stories even being presented as a licensed private eye. Often overlaps with GreatDetective.
* The gang on ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDoo'' were amateur sleuths, even in the comics. But sometime during the Gold Key run (around issue #14), they lost their amateur status when they became ghost busters for hire.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Discussed in ''[[http://archiveofourown.org/series/8386 Story of Three Boys]]''. [[Series/{{Glee}} Kurt and Puck]] (with the help of Finn) go to great lengths to keep [[SlashFic their relationship]] a secret, since Puck isn't [[ComingOutStory out]]. However, Rachel starts to suspect that something is up with them, and they pretty soon realize that they have to tell her what's going on so that they can ask her to keep quiet about it, before she decides to discuss her suspicions with other people. At this point, Puck starts [[AffectionateNickname affectionately]] calling her Super-Sleuth.
* In the fanfic ''FanFic/GraduateMeetingOfMutualKilling'', main character Akane Ogata has absolutely no experience in detective work, to the point she needs to be taught some of the most basic stuff. However, she's the main investigative force in the story, and her investigations and deductions greatly contribute to the development of the trials. This may be justified, as [[VisualNovel/DanganRonpa the franchise it's based of]] does include Amateur Sleuths as the protagonists.
* The fanfic ''FanFic/DespairsLastResort'' has main character Takara Tsukuda, who was accepted to Hope's Peak Academy with the title of Super High School Level Journalist. Her classmates ask her for advice before the first investigation, justifying that since she's the only one of them who has any amount of experience close enough to detective work. This works out in her favor, as being a journalist required her to do research and investigating of her own.
* ''FanFic/FatalFrameVIVengeance'': The entire reason Sumiko comes to the Watanabe Shrine is to solve the mystery of the Disappearance of the Watanabe Three in 1984.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/LovingVincent'', Armand Roulin takes on this role. He's not a detective, but he tries to uncover the truth behind Vincent's death.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
%%* Brendan Frye, the teenaged protagonist of ''Film/{{Brick}}''.
%%* Jeffrey Beaumont in ''Film/BlueVelvet''.
* In ''Film/TheExMrsBradford'', Paula (Creator/JeanArthur) is a mystery writer who does this. Her husband, an M.D. (Creator/WilliamPowell) divorced her because she was constantly dragging him into risking life and limb in her real-life cases.
--> ''Hold him, Brad, I'll clunk him!'' *WHAM!* Ooohhh....
* Johnny Goodlittle in horror comedy ''Film/TheMonster'' has taken a correspondence course on how to be a detective. The local cops ignore him when he finds a clue concerning the mysterious disappearance of a local businessman, so Johnny investigates for himself and winds up in an OldDarkHouse, trapped by a MadScientist.
%%* ''Film/TheNorthAvenueIrregulars''
%%* Melsa Manton from the film, ''Film/TheMadMissManton''.
* Sister Mary Bonaventure, a nun in charge of a hospital, in ''Film/ThunderOnTheHill''. When she meets the sister of a murdered pianist, she has a gut feeling that the sister is innocent and sets out to prove her innocence.

* The basis of the plot of ''Literaute/TheseSavageBones''. Alejandro has been bounty hunting for years now, but Esperanza has never solved a murder case before, nor has she ever done any sort of police work.
* Flavia Gemina and her friends in the ''Literature/TheRomanMysteries'' are {{Kid Detective}}s and {{Amateur Sleuth}}s in UsefulNotes/TheRomanEmpire.
* Creator/AgathaChristie has several:
** Christie's Ariadne Oliver is a bit of a parody of this trope: she's a mystery writer who occasionally ends up helping Literature/HerculePoirot on real murders. She frankly admits that her writing experience gives her very little practical investigating skills and always guesses the wrong person (or, alternatively, guesses every possible suspect in turn before declaring that she always suspected the real killer).
** The final solution to the crime in ''Literature/TowardsZero'' was exposed by Andrew [=MacWhirter=], a random passer-by who unwittingly got involved in the investigation through a chance encounter with one of the suspects, whom he believes to be innocent.
** In ''Literature/ThreeActMurder'', the murder investigation was initiated by Sir Charles Cartwright, a retired actor, Miss Hermione "Egg" Lytton Gore, his much younger LoveInterest, and Mr. Satterwhite, an art critic of sorts. They were eventually joined by Hercule Poirot.
** Miss Marple usually just happens to be somewhere around where murders happen. Then she solves them by ObfuscatingStupidity and asking the right questions from the right people.
* Margery Allingham's Literature/AlbertCampion, a mysterious aristocrat driven by his love of adventure. Specialist in fairy stories.
* Literature/JackReacher, the character Lee Child's Reacher novels are based around. A freelancing drifter who solves murders, and various other mysteries, living off a payout received at the end of his military days, and money obtained from bad guys or in gratitude for solving cases.
* Creator/DorothyLSayers:
** Literature/LordPeterWimsey, an independently wealthy aristocrat whose hobby is detection; except for once moonlighting as an advertising copywriter, he has never held a job -- he's too rich to actually ''need'' one.
** Sayers also wrote a number of short stories featuring a traveling salesman with the unlikely name of Literature/MontagueEgg; when he's not acting in his capacity as a broker for a London firm of wine merchants, he finds himself [[TheCorpseStopsHere occasionally stumbling across crime scenes]] and offering his common-sense expertise.
%%* ''Literature/NancyDrew'', a schoolgirl.
* ''Literature/TheHardyBoys'', schoolboys. (Subverted in the 3rd season of the 1970s tv series in which the Boys so impressed a Justice Department official that they are recruited as professional agents for the organization).
** In two recent SpinOff series they're not so amateur anymore. In the ''Hardy Boys Casefiles,'' they're recruited into an Interpol-like organization called the Network by an agent known only as the Gray Man who realized they're out for vengeance after Joe's girlfriend Iola is killed by a car bomb. In ''The Hardy Boys: Undercover Brothers,'' they're recruited into another organization called ATAC (American Teens Against Crime,) with the in-series justification that teenagers can go places and ask questions that would otherwise made adults looks suspicious.
* In a similar spirit to Literature/TheHardyBoys, The Three Investigators were a group of school kids who would solve mysteries they encountered. While they would all help each other and work together, Jupiter was responsible for solving most of the cases.
* The priest ''Literature/FatherBrown'', in the Father Brown stories of G.K. Chesterton. He says that the understanding of human nature gained by a priest is all of the training one needs to be a detective.
* ''Literature/EncyclopediaBrown'', a schoolboy who runs his own agency solving schoolyard mysteries, and sometimes assists his father who is the local police chief.
* ''Literature/SammyKeyes'', teen girl detective in Santa Martina, California.
* Lawrence Block's Bernie Rhodenbarr is a professional burglar who has a habit of running across murders during his "jobs" - and usually ends up the prime suspect, forcing him to solve the cases in order to exonerate himself.
* Creator/ElleryQueen, created by Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee under the pseudonym "Ellery Queen," is a mystery writer who assists his police chief father on tough cases.
** The duo also created Shakespearean actor Drury Lane, who took up detecting as a hobby after retiring from the stage.
%%* ''The Happy Hollisters'', a family with five children.
* Although the TropeCodifier Literature/SherlockHolmes has no formal connection to law enforcement and is occasionally referred to as an "amateur" in the stories, he doesn't quite fit this trope since crime-solving is still his primary line of work. ''And he gets paid for it''. He is professionally termed as a "Consulting Detective" and charges fees for his services. He would appear to be what we'd commonly call now a private investigator. Holmes describes himself as an "amateur of crime", using the term in the then-current usage to mean an enthusiast or "lover" of crime, from the latin "amo". He does refer to "remitting his fees entirely" at his discretion, and does so on at least one occasion; there are also occasions where he does not actually solve the crime -- the murder of Charles Augustus Milverton, for example, where [[LetOffByTheDetective he colludes in covering the matter up]] -- or there IS no crime, such as "The Man with the Twisted Lip".
* Literature/AmeliaPeabody and her husband Radcliffe Emerson are both amateur sleuths who are both Victorian Egyptologists, so that they qualify for AdventurerArchaeologist, not to mention BattleCouple.
%%* Creator/EllisPeters' Literature/BrotherCadfael, a monk and herbalist.
* Charles Paris, a perennially semi-employed British actor, in a series of books by Simon Brett. He's usually a suspect at some point.
* Nicholas Bracewell, "bookholder" (stage manager) for an Elizabethan theater company, in a series by Edward Marston.
%%* ''Groucho Marx, Master Detective'', by Ron Goulart.
* Sujata Massey's ''Literature/ReiShimura'' is a Japanese-American antique dealer/amateur sleuth. In later books of the series, however, she becomes an official agent for a CIA-wannabe.
* ''Literature/TheBoxcarChildren'', although being a series aimed at young children, the "crimes" they solve are rarely very serious.
* ''Literature/HalfMoonInvestigations'', written by Eoin Colfer, involves Fletcher Moon who is a 12-year-old detective. Somewhat of a subversion in that Fletcher is a certified Private Eye, but he is certified in the US and lives in Ireland. (He took an online course.)
* Creator/JohnDicksonCarr's portly master detective Literature/DrGideonFell, and (under the pseudonym Carter Dickson) Literature/SirHenryMerrivale, the masters of the locked room murder.
* John Putnam Thatcher, written by Emma Lathen (pseudonym for the writing partnership of Mary Jane Latsis and Martha Henissart), is a Wall Street banker. Supposedly the two chose a banker as their detective because "there is nothing on God's earth a banker ''can't'' get into". (Though, if they'd been writing after the banking crisis/recession instead of before .... )
* Irwin Maurice "Fletch" Fletcher, from Gregory [=McDonald's=] series of Literature/{{Fletch}} novels. As far as is known, he was only ever suspected in ''Confess, Fletch'', and even then not seriously; for five of the books he's an IntrepidReporter but about halfway through the series goes into semiretirement and is just the guy who happens to be there.
%%* Brother William of Baskerville from ''Literature/TheNameOfTheRose''.
* ''Literature/{{TKKG}}'' from the series of the same name. A group of kids doing investigations.
* Simon Rattray (a pseudonym for Creator/EllestonTrevor) wrote a series of mysteries with [[ChessMotifs chess-themed]] titles about Hugo Bishop. The back covers of the 1980s editions all carried the words, "He's not a cop, nor a private eye. He just shows up to help." He's noted as writing books collectively titled ''Personality Under Stress'', which suggests some sort of psychologist, but he's accustomed to things like finding a bomb in his airplane. He's on a FirstNameBasis with a UsefulNotes/ScotlandYard inspector (they're old school chums), and a number of other policemen recognize him with a respectful, "Oh, it's ''you'', Mr. Bishop," and take his orders without much question.
* The main character of Sarah Caudwell's ''Literature/HilaryTamar'' books is an Oxford professor, who is assisted in solving crimes by a quartet of barristers.
%%* Trixie, Honey and their friends in the ''Literature/TrixieBelden'' series.
%%* Kate Appleton from Janet Evanovich's ''Literature/LoveInANutshell''
%%* Fisk and Michael in the ''Literature/KnightAndRogueSeries''.
* Firestar from ''Literature/WarriorCats'' went out of his way to solve several crimes in TheOriginalSeries, such as Redtail's death and some kit-killings in [=ShadowClan=]. Minor character Shrewtooth later tries his paws at it by solving the mystery of Leafstar's [[spoiler:lost kits]] in the ''[=SkyClan=] and the Stranger'' manga minutes before Leafstar herself worked it out.
* Lori Shepherd in the ''Literature/AuntDimity'' series, and in some respects, Dimity herself. Lori has some knowledge of old books and manuscripts (which does come in handy from time to time), but she inherited a fortune from Dimity and so favors and help each other with their cases.
* Professor Augustus S. F. X. Van Dusen, Ph.D., LL.D., F.R.S., M.D., M.D.S., etc., a.k.a. Literature/TheThinkingMachine, is a university professor who solves 'impossible' crimes that are brought to him by his journalist friend Hutchinson Hatch.
* Father Saenz and Father Lucero of ''Literature/SmallerAndSmallerCircles'' are consulted by the government in murder cases due to their academic experience in forensics and the government's sore lack of in-house manpower, and despite being Jesuit priests.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Dexter}}'', whose adopted father and sister are both official law enforcement officers, but he works only as a technical consultant. It's interesting that in this series, the amateur sleuth actually '''is''' a clever serial killer, although his skill at hiding his murders means that he is rarely called to investigate his own crimes. Except, of course, in the second series, when a scuba diver stumbles onto Dexter's underwater burial ground, and the central plot is about the hunt for the "Bay Harbor Butcher" (Dexter) and Dexter's attempts to sabotage the investigation and not get caught.
%%* Dr. Mark Sloan, a surgeon, in ''Series/DiagnosisMurder'', which is also blended with the MedicalDrama.
%%* Father Dowling of the ''Series/FatherDowlingMysteries''.
%%* The Harts (a self-made millionaire and a journalist) in ''Series/HartToHart''
* ''Series/JonathanCreek'', a magician's assistant who solves impossible crimes, including the occasional LockedRoomMystery.
* The titular OCD and phobia-ridden detective of ''Series/{{Monk}}'' does have a somewhat official connection to law enforcement, but murders do happen [[BusmansHoliday wherever he goes]], which means he's often outside SFPD jurisdiction.
** Before that he was already solving crimes since junior high.
%%* Jessica Fletcher, a crime author, in ''Series/MurderSheWrote''.
* The UCOS squad of ''Series/NewTricks'' is composed of retired detectives who, although they investigate unsolved crimes, are not actually official police officers. They actually use this, though, in order to bend the rules that would otherwise constrain serving officers (much to the displeasure of [[DaChief their boss]], who ''is'' a serving officer).
* Shawn Spencer on ''Series/{{Psych}}'' originally just used the deduction skills his father taught him since childhood to simply call in tips for the reward money. The police, however, believed from the amount of good info he provided, that he was involved in the majority of crimes he helped solved. Before Shawn can be arrested as an accomplice, he fools them by proclaiming he has psychic abilities. Now to keep the ruse going, Shawn with the help of his best friend Gus must continue aiding the police in various investigations as a paid "psychic consultant". They also accept jobs from private citizens, though usually those tie into police investigations anyway.
* Ned in ''Series/PushingDaisies'' is the assistant to a private detective, but his ''proper'' job and true passion is baking pies.
* The Winchesters on ''Series/{{Supernatural}}''. Their only connection to the law consists of constantly being on the run from it, though occasionally they stumble onto a sympathetic detective who at least doesn't turn them in right away.
* Chance Harper of ''Series/StrangeLuck'' often wound up in a position to solve crimes, albeit more because of his role as an all-around WeirdnessMagnet than a MysteryMagnet. Subverted in that he was just as likely to be in a position to get ''blamed'' for a crime he'd have gladly played no part in solving. A freelance photographer by trade, figuring he may as well sell photos of the bizarre shit that's always happening to him.
* The titular character of ''Series/VeronicaMars'' starts out as a semi-amateur sleuth, in that she [[BornDetective helps out her father with his case load as a PI]] while at the same time carrying on her own investigation into her best friend's death (effectively ''pro bono'', as the case is considered solved by the law). Towards the end of the first season, she becomes an unlicensed PI to many of her fellow high school students, digging up information in exchange for cash. In the third season, legally an adult, she passes her test to become a licensed PI. The proposed fourth season which never got off the ground would have ended the amateur part completely, jumping ahead a couple of years for her to become an FBI agent. The [[Film/VeronicaMars movie]] has her abandon this life and leave Neptune to go to a law school. At the start of the film, she's at an interview to a big New York law firm. Then she's dragged back to Neptune and ends up as this trope again.
* Cal Lightman and his staff on ''Series/LieToMe'' are psychologists specializing in [[LivingLieDetector discerning whether or not someone's telling the truth]]. The police and FBI frequently find this useful. They are also frequently hired for non-criminal cases, such as a divorcing wealthy husband asking him to find out if his wife was ever unfaithful, thus invalidating the prenup (Cal ends up figuring out that she wasn't, causing the angry husband and his lawyer to storm out threatening a lawsuit).
* Subverted by Patrick Jane on ''Series/TheMentalist''. He checks all the boxes on the Amateur Sleuth checklist - [[PhonyPsychic former conman]] using his skills at [[SherlockScan getting inside the minds]] of criminals and suspects to crack cases that leave trained detectives stumped - except that he's actually on the police payroll as a consultant.
%%* Shirley from ''Series/TheAdventuresOfShirleyHolmes''. Of course.
* Franchise/PerryMason and [[Series/{{Matlock}} Ben Matlock]], attorneys for the defence; famous for ThePerryMasonMethod of sleuthing.
* In the ''Series/{{Community}}'' episode "[[Recap/CommunityS2E09ConspiracyTheoriesAndInteriorDesign Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design]]" Annie becomes one, drawing a very reluctant Jeff into her investigation of Professor Professorson.
* ''Series/HardyBoysNancyDrewMysteries'': No matter where Frank and Joe Hardy go, they end up involved in a mystery…though the show sometimes subverts it by having the cops or others get real suspicious about the Hardys' involvement, up to and including tossing them in jail.
%%* Laura Thyme and Rosemary Boxer of ''Series/RosemaryAndThyme''.
* ''Series/ElleryQueen''. Ellery is a MysteryWriterDetective who frequently assists his father who is a police inspector.
%%* ''Series/FatherBrown''
* ''Series/TheHour'' gives us Freddie Lyon, a journalist who happens to get tangled up in plots and conspiracies, and he is far too stubborn to stop until he knows the truth and broadcasts it to the world. In Season Two, Bel starts acting this way, too.
* Dylan Blake in ''Series/OpenHeart'', who's investigating her dad's disappearance after the police close his case.
* The [[KoreanDrama Kdrama]] ''Seonam Girls High School Investigators'' is about a group of teenage girls who solve crimes. Same goes for the series of novels that inspired the show.
* ''{{Series/Banacek}}'' was about an insurance investigator who solved thefts that appeared to have been impossible.
* In ''Series/AgathaRaisin'', Agatha is PR expert who spends more time solving murders than she does doing public relations.

* Lamont Cranston's public identity as an "amateur criminologist" in ''Radio/TheShadow''.
* The ''Paul Temple'' detective series, broadcast on Creator/{{BBC}} radio between 1938 and 1968, features a GentlemanDetective who solves crimes too baffling even for Scotland Yard, assisted by his wife "Stevie" and his [[BattleButler manservant]]. Being a man of independent means, he doesn't even claim expenses and solves crimes as a hobby. Thought to be too anachronistic and old-fashioned when it ended in 1968, it has been periodically revived in updated one-off specials and short runs between 2006 - 2013.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Pennington of ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'' certainly ''acts'' the part, but he may be one of the ''worst'' amateur sleuths on the face of the planet. He spends the entire sixth chapter of the game trying to solve one mystery after another with Mario's "help", and gets every single possible thing wrong, even when the answer is right in front of his face. He even mis-guesses the identity of his "deputy" (admittedly, he wasn't ''too'' far off on that last one. He guesses Luigi).
* Robert Cath, protagonist and player character of the adventure game ''VideoGame/TheLastExpress'', boards a train to find his friend murdered, and proceeds to investigate both the murder and various pieces of international intrigue aboard.
%%* In a more obscure example, The Learning Company's ''VideoGame/SuperSolvers'' edutainment games.
%%* Jake and Jennifer Eagle of the ''VideoGame/EagleEyeMysteries'' series.
* The four kids in ''VideoGame/TheClueFinders'' EdutainmentGame series in a couple of the games.
* The main cast of ''VideoGame/Persona4'', except for Naoto, who is a KidDetective.
* Nancy Drew from the [[VideoGame/NancyDrew eponymous game series]] is a teenager detective.
%%* Creator/HumongousEntertainment gives us VideoGame/FreddiFish and her friend Luther.
* Herschel Layton from the ''Franchise/ProfessorLayton'' games is a professor of archaeology, but he tends to get roped into solving mysteries wherever he goes, thanks to his puzzle-solving skills.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* The ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' series runs on this; both Phoenix and Apollo tend to do most of the detective work for their clients despite being defense attorneys with no police training. The games don't seem to be sure if this is legal or not within the game world.
** And in ''VisualNovel/AceAttorneyInvestigationsMilesEdgeworth'' Prosecutor Edgeworth does no prosecuting but a lot of detective work. In fact, [[CloudCuckooLander the Judge]] lampshades this at the end of the game.
--->'''Judge:''' A prosecutor joined forces with a thief and became a detective. Maybe I should join forces with a bailiff and become a lawyer!
* In ''VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry'', Furudo Erika is one, even getting a power called the "Detective Authority". In the first four games, Battler (or rather his "piece" in the game) has the ''role'' of the detective but isn't aware of it.
* The main character in the {{murder mystery}} {{visual novel}} ''VisualNovel/{{Jisei}}'', [[TheCorpseStopsHere who is accused of committing murder]], helps question [[EveryoneIsASuspect possible suspects in the vicinity of the crime]] so that he may [[ClearMyName clear his name]] and assist the detective on the scene in finding the real killer.
* Makoto Naegi from ''VisualNovel/DanganRonpa''. As the main character in a mystery game, he tends to be the one pulling the students through the trials, with some help from his AloofAlly Kyouko Kirigiri [[spoiler:(who is later revealed to be an actual GreatDetective)]] whenever he gets stuck.
%%** Similarly, Hajime Hinata from the sequel, ''VisualNovel/SuperDanganRonpa2''.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Asia Ellis in ''Webcomic/{{morphE}}''. She was kidnapped and dragged into the supernatural world while working on a private investigation.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The Whitman Literary Girls, in the Literature/WhateleyUniverse. Some of them also write (bad) detective stories for the others to read.
* Fletcher (and the future IntrepidReporter George) in the Internet {{Deconstruction}} of the noir genre [[http://www.bjfletcherprivateeye.com B.J. Fletcher: Private Eye]] is a surprisingly effective Amateur Sleuth.
* Andrew "Lucky" Starr from the ''Roleplay/GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'' doesn't actually go out looking for mysteries to solve. [[MysteryMagnet He's just lucky that way]].
* Ryney at ''Literature/TheMysterySphere''. He doesn't really want to solve anything, he's just too lazy to argue against solving things.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''Franchise/ScoobyDoo'' was this in largest part, most notably in the early seasons. A newspaper article at the end of "A Clue For Scooby-Doo" even calls them amateur sleuths. By extension, all of the [[RecycledINSPACE recycled]] [[FollowTheLeader clones]] thereof also qualify.
* In one of the 1950's ''WesternAnimation/FelixTheCat'' cartoons, "Detective Thinking Hat", Felix becomes a junior G-Man and ends up tracking down and bringing in Rock Bottom.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Peter R. De Vries (not to be confused with the similarly named character from ''{{Franchise/Dune}}''), [[IntrepidReporter crime reporter]]. Cracked more cases than Manga/DetectiveConan (and he's a cartoon character). Though in real life this means tracking down petty swindlers in most cases. But his big cases include tracking down the big bad of the beer-brewing billionaire kidnappers, getting two innocent people accused of murder out of jail and catching the real killer, foiled a prince and princess any rights to the throne as the princess had a prior relationship with the biggest drug lord in Dutch history and tricked a sociopath to confess on hidden camera the murder of a missing girl in Aruba, whom he also caught trafficking Thai prostitutes a few months earlier.