The gentleman detective is a type of fictional character. He (or, less commonly, she) has long been a staple of crime fiction, particularly in detective novels and short stories set in Britain in the Golden Age. The heroes of these adventures are typically both gentlemen by conduct and also members of the British gentry. The literary heroes being in opposition to professional police force detectives from the working classes.
Gentlemen detectives include amateurs, private detectives and professional policemen. They are always well educated, frequently have unusual or eccentric hobbies, and are commonly found in their natural environment, an English country house. This type of British detective forms a contrast to the less cerebral and more 'hard boiled' style of hero in American crime fiction. See the history of American hardboiled fiction.
Famous quotes containing the words gentleman and/or detective:
“Nominee. A modest gentleman shrinking from the distinction of private life and diligently seeking the honorable obscurity of public office.”
—Ambrose Bierce (18421914)
“The vast results obtained by Science are won by no mystical faculties, by no mental processes other than those which are practiced by every one of us, in the humblest and meanest affairs of life. A detective policeman discovers a burglar from the marks made by his shoe, by a mental process identical with that by which Cuvier restored the extinct animals of Montmartre from fragments of their bones.”
—Thomas Henry Huxley (182595)