Detective Sayings and Quotes

Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old detective quotes, detective sayings, and detective proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.


The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.

Arthur Conan Doyle

The detective and his criminal wear versions of the same mask.

Jane Roberts

Many investigators feel uneasy stating in public that the origin of life is a mystery, even though behind closed doors they admit they are baffled.     

Paul Davies

The instant they say something you don't expect or already know, you should drop into detective mode.

Emmett Shear

To read of a detective's daring finesse or ingenious stratagem is a rare joy.     

Rex Stout

The main purpose of a significance test is to inhibit the natural enthusiasm of the investigator.     

Frederick Mosteller

Read like a detective and write like a conscientious investigative reporter.

David Coleman

The criminal is the creative artist; the detective only the critic.

Gilbert K. Chesterton

The detective story is the normal recreation of noble minds.

Philip Guedalla

Most investigators don't even know what the word means. You stop the cops from using informants and the only crimes they'd ever solve would be those by deranged postal workers who come to work once too often.     

Andrew Vachss

You can always tell a detective on TV. He never takes his hat off.     

Raymond Chandler

Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life.     

Marcus Aurelius

It is ridiculous to set a detective story in New York City. New York City is itself a detective story.

Agatha Christie

The investigators are gathering evidence all the time and they've put together a package of evidence.

Doug Graham

The trouble is that all the investigators proceeded in exactly the same spirit, the spirit that is of scientific curiosity, and with no possibility of telling whether the issue of their work would prove them to be fiends, or dreamers, or angels.     

Robert Strutt

What the detective story is about is not murder but the restoration of order.     

P. D. James

The valuable attributes of research men are conscious ignorance and active curiosity.     

Willis R. Whitney

You do not mess with the special investigators.     

Lee Child

O human creature,you are the investigator without knowledge, the magistrate without jurisdiction, and all in all, the fool of the farce.     

Michel de Montaigne

A really good detective never gets married.

Raymond Chandler

With the Great Detective, to think was to act, and to act was to think. Frequently he could do both together.

Stephen Leacock

Investigation may be likened to the long months of pregnancy, and solving a problem to the day of birth. To investigate a problem is, indeed, to solve it.     

Mao Zedong

Every man at the bottom of his heart believes that he is a born detective.     

John Buchan

Writing detective stories is about writing light literature, for entertainment. It isn't primarily a question of writing propaganda or classical literature.     

Stieg Larsson

Only once in a generation does anything as fresh as a vomiting detective come along.

Dean Koontz

Unless you are good at guessing, it is not much use being a detective.     

Agatha Christie

Investigators have discovered that dogs can laugh, which can't be too big of a surprise.

Tony Snow

A working detective has no hope of understanding what even experts who devote their lives to the study of criminal psychology can't figure out.     

Mark Fuhrman

A detective sees death in all the various forms at least five times a week.

Evan Hunter

You need a crime, a detective, and the solution.

Kerry Greenwood