List of Famous Detectives

List of famous real detectives, with photos, bios, and other information when available. Who are the top real detectives in the world? This includes the most prominent real detectives, living and dead, both in America and abroad. These popular detectives are also inspirations for classic fictional characters and the most brilliant TV detectives. This list of notable real 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 real detectives.

Examples of real detectives on this list include Raymond C. Schindler, William E. Fairburn, Dave Toschi, and more. The world's greatest detectives can all be found on this list. 

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 real detectives ever?" and "What are the names of famous real detectives?" then you're in the right place. 

  • Allan Pinkerton
    Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Public domain
    Allan J. Pinkerton (25 August 1819 – 1 July 1884) was a Scottish-American detective and spy, best known for creating the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.
    • Age: Dec. at 64 (1819-1884)
    • Birthplace: Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • Dave Toschi
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY
    David Ramon Toschi (; July 11, 1931 – January 6, 2018) was an American law enforcement officer widely known for his efforts in the San Francisco Police Department as an inspector in the Zodiac Killer case. His personal style was the model for Bullitt and Dirty Harry.
    • Age: 91
    • Birthplace: California
  • Raymond C. Schindler
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY

    Raymond C. Schindler

    • Birthplace: Mexico, New York, United States of America
  • Ignatius Paul Pollaky
    Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Public domain
    Ignatius Paul Pollaky (po'laki; 1828 – 25 February 1918) also known as "Paddington" Pollaky, born in Hungary, became one of the first and best-known professional private detectives in Britain. He also worked with London's Metropolitan Police, instigating alien registration in Britain.
    • Age: Dec. at 90 (1828-1918)