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The Best Detectives

Updated on October 14, 2013

Holmes and Watson

Dr Watson would even do some illegal house breaking for his friend Holmes
Dr Watson would even do some illegal house breaking for his friend Holmes

Watching the detectives

In my opinion there are only two great detectives. Both geniuses and both flawed One British and one American. One started in books, the other in TV. Can you guess which two they are? Will your favorite be mine? Read on to find out.

The first and the best is Sherlock Holmes, the books I would like to add. No-one has portrayed him the way I imaged him. I find Jeremy Brett to tidy, Basil Rathbone to nice. Anyway Sherlock appeared in the Strand magazine in 1891 in a serialization of a Study in Scarlet, with his friend Doctor Watson. From that moment on Holmes became the most recognizable characters in literature. Most of Holmes's stories are told as narratives, by Watson, who is there to help the reader understand what is going on. He was supposed to be based on Connan Doyle himself, .Indeed there are some similarities, Watson is a physician of some experience, as was Conan Doyle.Dr. Watson is willing to accompany Holmes into danger, with his trusted army revolver at his side, and even to risk doing a little breaking and entering when required. He accompanies Holmes on 58 of his published adventures and narrates all but four of the tales. Historically, Holmes lived from the year 1881 at 221B Baker Street, London, a flat up seventeen steps. His housekeeper Mrs. Hudson would always be on hand to show in any new client. The room was always untidy, usually with Holmes spread on a couch, smoking or doing an experiment of some kind. The fire was always roaring beneath the famous V.R shot into the wall. Like all good quests things always started in a cozy atmosphere before the suspense and action began. Holmes is famous for his prowess at using logic and astute observation to solve cases and would often get annoyed with Watson for relaying his cases like action adventure stories. It always seemed to me that Holmes intelligence could not be matched, that was until his brother Mycroft was on the scene. Then Holmes seemed eclipsed and you could almost feel the sibling rivalry. Every good hero needs an adversary and Holmes’s was one of the most evil. Professor Moriarty was a criminal genius whose intellect rivaled Holmes’s. Whereas Holmes was famous in London, Moriaty’s web of evil spread throughout Europe. At times you felt that Holmes was out of his depth, he was definitely the under dog. It was Moriarty's malevolent intelligence that compelled Holmes to unravel and destroy his evil organization. However on 4 May 1891 the unthinkable happened and Connan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes. In ‘The Final Problem" Holmes has to avoid Moriarty's attacks by leaving England for the Continent. However, Moriarty catches up with Holmes, and somehow ends both of their lives by falling while fighting each other at the top of the ReichenbachFalls. However the public outcry was enormous and Connan Doyle’s more serious books failed to sell in any great numbers, So in 1893 the ‘Return of Sherlock Holmes’ was published. The Great detective was back.

The dark side of Holmes

Though as with every person Sherlock Holmes had his faults. He comes across as arrogant and rude, even to his only friend Watson. It was at times of inactivity that Holmes became depressed and remained in doors very often not getting dressed. It was this boredom that made him reach for his leather case where he kept his syringe for injecting himself with cocaine. We learn about Holmes' use of drugs in the very first story - A Study in Scarlet . Dr Watson comments: “for days on end he would lie upon the sofa in the sitting-room, hardly uttering a word or moving a muscle from morning to night. On these occasions I have noticed such a dreamy, vacant expression in his eyes, that I might have suspected him of being addicted to the use of some narcotic, had not the temperance and cleanliness of his whole life forbidden such a notion." The Sign of Four opens with another disturbing scene: 'Sherlock Holmes took his bottle from the corner of the mantel-piece and his hypodermic syringe from its neat morocco case. ' When Watson asks what he is taking Holmes replies: "It is cocaine," he said, "a seven-per-cent solution.  Would you care to try it?" Dr. Watson strongly disapproves of his friend's cocaine habit, describing it as the detective's "only vice."  Doctor Watson claimed in later novels to have "weaned" Holmes off drugs, though he admits that, Holmes remains an addict whose habit is "not dead, but merely sleeping."


Mr Monk at his best

‘Just like Sherlock Holmes- only nuts’

Who can possibly be described in this way, well the one and only Adrian Monk. There is no doubt that Monk’s intelligence is equal to Holmes, his observation skills are probably better. In the world of Adrian Monk everything has its place, and there is a place for everything and it is when something doesn’t fit that Monk will not rest until everything is balanced again. It is hard to separate the flaws from the man as the flaws are the man. Monk is fixated with symmetry, this goes so far that he cuts his pancakes into squares. He strongly prefers familiarity and rigorous structure in his activities.. Monk also has great difficulty in standard social situations (at one point, he goes so far as to write down common small talk phrases on note cards in an attempt to successfully socialize). He has a list of his fears and phobias which number 312 and include milk, germs, nakedness, rubbish, harmonicas heights, change and risks. Despite all this he’s not afraid of dead bodies. While his obsessive attention to minute detail, often described by Monk as ‘a gift and a curse,’ cripples him socially, it makes him a gifted detective and profiler. Add to this crazy mix of OCD, phobias and social ineptitude, the fact his wife was killed by car bomb that Monk believed was for him, and you get close to where Monk is coming from. Before his wife’s death Monk was homicide detective for the San Francisco Police Department where he met his life long friend ,Leland Stottlemeyer. Stottlemeyer rising to the rank of captain, now employs Monk as a consultant, when the department has a case that baffles them. Although annoyed by Monk, he recognizes his friend’s outstanding talents and admires him immensely. At times Stottlemeyer seems to be the only person that understands Monk and their loyalty to each other never doubted. After going catatonic after the death of his wife, and not going out of the house for 3 years, Monk hires a nurse, Sharona Fleming. Sharona does all the things for Monk that he is unable to do. However, when Adrian started working as a consulting Detective, she started assisting him and used her sex appeal to get information, wherever Monk could not. Sharona embraces Monk role as a consultant and becomes The Watson, to his Holmes. She was feisty and strong willed, with an unfortunate taste in men. She was able to ask clients and the police department for money and to fight for the little guy. The episode when she rescues a chimp, is one of my favorites. Unfortunately she is replaced by Natalie Teeger in series 4, who with her daughter Julie, become the nearest thing to family Monk has. Talking of family Adrian has a brother. Ambrose Monk is more intelligent and twice as screwed up. Ambrose writes instruction manuals for electronic equipment, in English and in foreign languages. He doesn’t leave the house, until it was on fire.The next important person in Monk’s support team, is doctor Kroger, a psychiatrist who treats Monk for his OCD. Monks visits to Dr Kroger are the thing that keeps Monk going. It is the rock in his life that he can lean on. Dr Kroger is kind and supportive and doesn’t prescribe drugs, but talks through Monks latest fear. At times Monks talks with the Doctor has helped Monk solve several cases..

The Bad Guy

Dale "The Whale" Biederbeck is a recurring villain and linked in someway to Monk’s wife, Trudy,’ death. A ruthless billionaire and well-connected financier, nothing happens without Biederbeck knowing about it. Monk claims that Biederbeck owns "half the city with an option on the other half.’ His nickname comes from the fact that he is so obese, that he is bed ridden. He manipulates the world from his bed by a series of computers and videos, he collects information on people with his network of spies. He uses this information to blackmail people or to get people to do what he wants.

Who is your favorite detective?

who do you enjoy watching most?

See results


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      the infamous L is great if you love sherlock than i am sure you will love death note

    • profile image

      Zane herr 

      6 years ago

      I have all of your DVDs colltions I am a huge fan of you I wish to help you out on your frist real job to be a head chief of state police sign your fan Zane

    • Topmodelof2011 profile image


      7 years ago


    • jayjay40 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Bristol England

      There are very few good detectives these days. Thanks for your comment World Traveller, much appreciated

    • World-Traveler profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      Hello Jayjay40

      Very interesting information. Got me to thinking once again about my hub posts involving the police investigator assigned to investigate my complaint of real estate and financial fraud involving my elderly mother's estate. He was not a good investigator.

    • jayjay40 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Bristol England

      Thanks Ethel, I love reading Sherlock Holmes even though I have read all the stories many times before

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      I have never quite got Monk. I used to love Poirot but have gone of it. Yes Holmes is a great character

    • jayjay40 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Bristol England

      Thanks for the comment jstankevvicz, i love the Holmes stories in mp3. Listening to them at night, always sends me to sleep.

    • jstankevicz profile image


      8 years ago from Cave Creek

      Sherlock Holmes is, of course, classic. It's interesting to see and hear the different interpretations. There are a number of radio shows available in mp3 of Holmes stories. I love the quirky detectives, and Adrian Monk is certainly quirky!

    • jayjay40 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Bristol England

      Thanks for the comment, I must agree Monk can be annoying, but somehow I find it part of his charm.

    • lmmartin profile image


      8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      I've been a Sherlock Holmes fan since my early teens (long time indeed) and particularly enjoyed the BBC series. So sorry to hear the lead actor passed away -- in my mind he had become Holmes. Monk, on the other hand, I can't bear to watch -- find him too annoying and unbelievable. But hey -- to each his own tastes.

    • jayjay40 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Bristol England

      Thanks scatytaff for the comment. You have got to watch Monk if you haven't seen it, I'm sure you would enjoy it if you like Sherlock

    • scarytaff profile image

      Derek James 

      8 years ago from South Wales

      We all know and love Sherlock, jayjay. Can't say I've seen Adrian Monk though. Very good hub.

    • jayjay40 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Bristol England

      Thanks Mystique1957,Basil Rathbone was a good Sherlock Holmes, there was something so right about the films being black and white it added to the atmosphere. Thanks for the comment-Julie

    • Mystique1957 profile image


      8 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela


      Interesting hub. I enjoyed it very, very much! What can I say? I like them both, but I confess being a fan of Sherlock, and I became one thanks to Basil Rathbone, whose movies I have watched over and over.

      Thumbs up!

      warmest regards and blessings,


    • jayjay40 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Bristol England

      Thanks Sharif, I loved those moments as well. Thanks for the comment

    • Sharif Ishnin profile image

      Sharif Ishnin 

      8 years ago from Singapore

      Hilarious moments between Monk and his brother.I like the detectives you have chosen.:)

    • jayjay40 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Bristol England

      Thanks Hello hello, I hope you enjoyed the hub

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for an interesting hub with many informationations. Some I didn't know. Thank you for your great research and well written review.


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