List of Famous Detectives People

List of Famous Detectives

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List of famous detectives, with photos, bios, and other information when available. Who are the top detectives in the world? This includes the most prominent detectives, living and dead, both in America and abroad. This list of notable detectives is ordered by their level of prominence, and can be sorted for various bits of information, such as where these historic detectives were born and what their nationality is. The people on this list are from different countries, but what they all have in common is that they're all renowned detectives.

Examples of people on this list: Jacqueline Shire, Allan Pinkerton and more.

From reputable, prominent, and well known detectives to the lesser known detectives of today, these are some of the best professionals in the detective field. If you want to answer the questions, "Who are the most famous detectives ever?" and "What are the names of famous detectives?" then you're in the right place. (41 items)
List Photo: Freebase/Public domain
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  1. 1
    Allan Pinkerton is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list List of Famous Detectives
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Allan Pinkerton was a Scottish American detective and spy, best known for creating the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. more

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    • Age: Died at 65 (1819-1884)
    • Birthplace: Glasgow, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Detective, Businessperson, Spy
  2. 2

    Dave Toschi

    Dave Toschi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list List of Famous Detectives
    Photo: user uploaded image

    David Ramon "Dave" Toschi is a former inspector in the San Francisco Police Department, where he served from 1952 to 1983. He is best known for his role as a chief investigator in the Zodiac Killer case, which he began work on after the murder of taxi driver Paul Stine. Shortly after he left the ...more

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    • Age: 84
    • Birthplace: California, United States of America
    • Profession: Inspector
  3. 3
    Frank Serpico is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list List of Famous Detectives
    Photo: D_MacLeod/Flickr

    Francesco Vincent Serpico is a retired American New York City Police Department officer who is famous for blowing the whistle on police corruption in the late 1960s and early 1970s, an act that compelled Mayor John V. Lindsay to appoint the landmark Knapp Commission to investigate the NYPD. Most of ...more

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    • Age: 79
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America
    • Profession: Detective, Police officer
  4. 4

    William J. Burns

    William J. Burns is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list List of Famous Detectives
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    William John Burns, known as "America's Sherlock Holmes," is famous for having conducted a private investigation clearing Leo Frank of the murder of Mary Phagan, and for serving as the director of the Bureau of Investigation from August 22, 1921 to May 10, 1924. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland and ...more

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    • Age: Died at 71 (1861-1932)
    • Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America
  5. 5

    William J. Flynn

    William J. Flynn is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list List of Famous Detectives
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    William James Flynn was the director of the Bureau of Investigation from July 1, 1919 to August 21, 1921. more

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    • Age: Died at 61 (1867-1928)
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America
  6. 6

    Jacqueline Shire

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    • Profession: Detective, Researcher
  7. 7
    Edward Conlon is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list List of Famous Detectives
    Photo: Freebase

    Edward W. Conlon is an author and former New York Police Department officer. more

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    • Age: 50
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America
    • Profession: Detective, Police officer, Author, Actor
    • Credits: We Own the Night
  8. 8

    William E. Fairbairn

    William Ewart Fairbairn was a British soldier, police officer and exponent of hand-to-hand combat method, the close combat, for the Shanghai Police between the world wars, and allied special forces in World War II. He developed his own fighting system known as Defendu, as well as other weapons tactics.more

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    • Age: Died at 75 (1885-1960)
    • Birthplace: Rickmansworth, United Kingdom
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