- Unknown: One Thousand and One Nights has a story called The Three Apples. Interestingly, in contrast to modern works, the detective in this story has no interest in solving crimes but instead was forced to under threat of death penalty.
- 1841: Edgar Allan Poe publishes the first modern detective story, "The Murders at the Rue Morgue," with the prototypical detective, C. August Dupin.
- 1866: Emile Gaboriau publishes L'Affaire Lerouge (The Widow Lerouge), the first in his Monsieur Lecoq detective series, the successor to Dupin.
- 1868: Wilkie Collins, already well known for his book The Woman in White, publishes The Moonstone, the first English detective novel (Poe's being short stories).
- 1887: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle publishes A Study in Scarlet (46 years after Poe), which provides the world with Sherlock Holmes. In that story, he includes a Take That against Dupin and Lecoq.
- 1910: Starting with the short story "The Blue Cross," G. K. Chesterton introduces the widely influential Father Brown.
- 1912: R Austin Freeman invents the Reverse Who Dunnit with the stories in his collection The Singing Bone.
- 1920: Agatha Christie publishes The Mysterious Affair at Styles, the first with her detective Hercule Poirot.
- 1923: Starting with Whose Body?, Dorothy L. Sayers gleefully lampshades the mystery genre so far with her Lord Peter Wimsey series.
- 1927: Edward Stratemeyer (under the pseudonym Franklin W. Dixon) introduces the world to The Hardy Boys, probably the first Kid Detectives, in The Tower Treasure.
- 1929: Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee, under the collective pseudonym of their hero, publish The Roman Hat Mystery, the first appearance of Ellery Queen.
- 1945: The Mystery Writers of America is founded.
- 1949: Robert van Gulik translates and publishes Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee, introducing traditional Chinese mystery to Western audiences.