Top Detective Quotes

Browse top 226 famous quotes and sayings about Detective by most favorite authors.

Favorite Detective Quotes

1. "Setting that little girl loose in her society would be like putting a fox in with the chickens. (Violet Strange's detective boss.)"
Author: Candida Martinelli
2. "We are all doomed, Yankee detective. One day I will come into work and see myself lying on this slab."
Author: Carroll Bryant
3. "[…] detective novels are not novels of detection, still less of revelation, still less of solution. Those are all necessary, but not only are they insufficient, but they are in certain ways regrettable. These are novels of potentiality. Quantum narratives. Their power isn't in their final acts, but in the profusion of superpositions before them, the could-bes, what-ifs and never-knows. Until that final chapter, each of those is as real and true as all the others, jostling realities all dreamed up by the crime, none trapped in vulgar facticity. That's why the most important sentence in a murder mystery isn't the one starting ‘The murderer is…' – which no matter how necessary and fabulously executed is an act of unspeakable narrative winnowing – but is the snarled expostulation halfway through: ‘Everyone's a suspect.' Quite. When all those suspects become one certainty, it's a collapse, and a let-down. How can it not be? We've been banished from an Eden of oscillation."
Author: China Miéville
4. "...that cheery, flimsy distraction from Death; or in a pinch Law & Order, because on some station or other, at any time of day or night, you can find it -- Detective Benson! Detective Stabler! My long lost! -- and no longer be alone."
Author: Claire Messud The Woman Upstairs
5. "Let me express how much I don't care on a scale of one to bite me," the former detective said."
Author: Darynda Jones
6. "So that's the way you scientific detectives work. My god! for a fat, middle-aged, hard-boiled, pig-headed guy, you've got the vaguest way of doing things I ever heard of."
Author: Dashiell Hammett
7. "When a man's partner is killed he's supposed to do something about it. It doesn't make any difference what you thought of him. He was your partner and you're supposed to do something about it. Then it happens we were in the detective business. Well, when one of your organization gets killed it's bad business to let the killer get away with it. It's bad all around-bad for that one organization, bad for every detective everywhere. Sam Spade"
Author: Dashiell Hammett
8. "Turned the corner, and Frank saw bloody smears on the carpet. He knew Dave Sanders had gone down there. He had not anticipated the stains. "You could see the knuckle prints," he said. "He actually was on all fours and there were his knuckle prints—he was struggling. It tore me up." A trail of blood traced Dave's path around the corner and down the hall. Detectives led Frank DeAngelis to Science Room 3. Nothing had been disturbed. "They took me into where Dave died," Frank recalled. "And there were sweatshirts there full of blood. That got to me." In the science room, Frank broke down again. He turned to Fuselier. "I was glad he was here," DeAngelis said later. "Most FBI guys wouldn't have done anything. Dwayne gave me a hug."
Author: Dave Cullen
9. "You're right on the money with that. We're all like detectives in life. There's something at the end of the trail that we're all looking for."
Author: David Lynch
10. "Nolly Wolfstan, private detective, had the teeth of a god and a face so unfortunate that it argued convincingly against the existence of a benign deity."
Author: Dean Koontz
11. "You be sure to throw the book at him, you hear me? I feel violated, Detective. Violated.""I'll throw this table at you if you don't give us the names we're looking for."
Author: Derek Landy
12. "Valkyrie walked over to her. Since she had met her, all she'd wanted to do was punch her face in. But that was when Kitana has been big and powerful and brimming with murderous arrogance. The girl standing before her now, crying and blubbing like any teenage girl would do under these circumstances, was not the same girl Valkyrie had wanted to punch. But she'd do. Valkyrie's fist connected with such a satisfying jolt that it actually made her smile as Kitana fell sideways, eyes already rolling in her head. Valkyrie resisted the urge to kick her as she lay crumpled.Such behaviour would be unbecoming of a Sanctuary detective."
Author: Derek Landy
13. "The man had a smooth voice, like velvet. "I'm Detective Inspector Me. Unusual name, I know. My family were incredibly narcissistic. I'm lucky I escaped with any degree of humility at all, to be honest, but then I've always managed to exceed expectations. You are Kenny Dunne, are you not?""I am.""Just a few questions for you, Mr Dunne. Or Kenny. Can I call you Kenny? I feel we've become friends these past few seconds. Can I call you Kenny?""Sure," Kenny said, slightly baf?ed."Thank you. Thank you very much. It's important you feel comfortable around me, Kenny. It's important we build up a level of trust. That way I'll catch you completely unprepared when I suddenly accuse you of murder."
Author: Derek Landy
14. "I looked for any footmarks of course, but naturally, with all this rain, there wasn't a sign. Of course, if this were a detective story, there'd have been a convenient shower exactly an hour before the crime and a beautiful set of marks which could only have come there between two and three in the morning, but this being real life in a London November, you might as well expect footprints in Niagara. I searched the roofs right along—and came to the jolly conclusion that any person in any blessed flat in the blessed row might have done it."
Author: Dorothy L. Sayers
15. "A detective story generally describes six living men discussing how it is that a man is dead. A modern philosophic story generally describes six dead men discussing how any man can possibly be alive."
Author: G.K. Chesterton
16. "[T]he horrible thing about all legal officials, even the best, about all judges, magistrates, barristers, detectives, and policeman, is not that they are wicked (some of them are good), not that they are stupid (several of them are quite intelligent), it is simply that they have got used to it. Strictly they do not see the prisoner in the dock; all they see is the usual man in the usual place. They do not see the awful court of judgment; they only see their own workshop."
Author: G.K. Chesterton
17. "The work of the philosophical policeman," replied the man in blue, "is at once bolder and more subtle than that of the ordinary detective. The ordinary detective goes to pot-houses to arrest thieves; we go to artistic tea-parties to detect pessimists. The ordinary detective discovers from a ledger or a diary that a crime has been committed. We discover from a book of sonnets that a crime will be committed. We have to trace the origin of those dreadful thoughts that drive men on at last to intellectual fanaticism and intellectual crime. We were only just in time to prevent the assassination at Hartlepool, and that was entirely due to the fact that our Mr. Wilks (a smart young fellow) thoroughly understood a triolet."
Author: G.K. Chesterton
18. "To keep believing in life, until you're sure of death, it's the way a detective should be." - Kogoro Mouri, Detective Conan"
Author: Gosho Aoyama
19. "The bar was crowded with theorizing Sherlockians, who in the absence of any actual evidence had created grand machinations to explain the crime. Minor points of canonical disagreement became reasons for brutal murder. Some tried to piece together their theories in small groups, hoping that with enough brainpower and expertise they might arrive at a solution. Others jumped straight over the "investigation" phase and landed square at the end of the story they were creating, instantly accusing the man across the table of some vile treachery. And, moreover, actually employing phrases like "vile treachery" in doing so. Everyone was a suspect. But at the world's largest Sherlockian gathering, everyone was a detective as well."
Author: Graham Moore
20. "I love this book. When other U.S. reporters were licking Ken Lay's loafers, Leopold went for Enron's thieving throat. Leopold is a journalist who insists on real investigative reporting–inside documents, inside sources, hard knife-in-the-gut evidence–detective-style reporting that is just about illegal in the U.S.A. Bravo and my personal Pulitzer to Jason Leopold. Every journalist in America should read this, then quit or riot."
Author: Greg Palast
21. "It's a very, very fascinating story for me, cause it's about a man who's been doing bad; bad things. And he's a father of four children in parochial school, he's a lieutenant of detectives, but he's in conflict with himself and with trying to do what's right."
Author: Harvey Keitel
22. "All boys wish to be manly; but they often try to become so by copying the vices of men rather than their virtues. They see men drinking, smoking, swearing; so these poor little fellows sedulously imitate such bad habits, thinking they are making themselves more like men. They mistake rudeness for strength, disrespect to parents for independence. They read wretched stories about boy brigands and boy detectives, and fancy themselves heroes when they break the laws, and become troublesome and mischievous. Out of such false influences the criminal classes are recruited. Many a little boy who only wishes to be manly, becomes corrupted and debased by the bad examples around him and the bad literature which he reads. The cure for this is to give him good books, show him truly noble examples from life and history, and make him understand how infinitely above this mock-manliness is the true courage which ennobles human nature."
Author: James Clarke
23. "She stared at me "You have a message," she said. "On you machine."I looked over at my answering machine. Sure enough, the light was blinking. The woman really was a detective."It's some girl," La Guerta said. "She sounds kind of sleepy and happy. You got a girlfriend, Dexter?" there was a strange hint of a challenge in her voice."You know how it is," I said. "Women today are so forward, and when you are as handsome as I am they absolutely fling themselves at your head." Perhaps an unfortunate choice of words; as I said it I couldn't help thinking of the woman's head flung at me not so long ago."Watch out," La Guerta said. "Sooner or later one of them will stick." I had no idea what she thought that meant, but it was a very unsettling image."I'm sure you're right," I said. "Until then, carpe diem.""What?""It's Latin," I said. "It means, complain in the daylight."
Author: Jeff Lindsay
24. "The Detective was different. Not that he wasn't a good man; Willie had heard enough about him to understand that he was the kind who didn't like to turn away from another's pain, the kind who couldn't put a pillow over his ears to drown out the cries of strangers. Those scars he had were badges of courage, and Willie knew that there were others hidden beneath his clothes, and still more deep inside, right beneath the skin and down to the soul. No, it was just that whatever goodness was there coexisted with rage and grief and loss."
Author: John Connolly
25. "I think these days an SF connection would be a boost to other books; I'm sure more people have read my two little detective puzzles because of the SF connection."
Author: John Sladek
26. "Lady Sylvia McCordle: Mr Weissman -- Tell us about the film you're going to make.Morris Weissman: Oh, sure. It's called "Charlie Chan In London". It's a detective story.Mabel Nesbitt: Set in London?Morris Weissman: Well, not really. Most of it takes place at a shooting party in a country house. Sort of like this one, actually. Murder in the middle of the night, a lot of guests for the weekend, everyone's a suspect. You know, that sort of thing.Constance: How horrid. And who turns out to have done it?Morris Weissman: Oh, I couldn't tell you that. It would spoil it for you.Constance: Oh, but none of us will see it."
Author: Julian Fellowes
27. "I decided not to go Bryce's house, where Rulfo and Monterroso were. When I stepped outside it started raining and that was like a warning to me. Nature was ordering me to turn back and I obeyed her docilely. So by eight at night I was already in bed, watching a detective movie on TV. Ease with which I change one plan for another. The gathering at Bryce's house will never be repeated, it was probably one of those unique and unforgettable occasions. I hate the rain."
Author: Julio Ramón Ribeyro
28. "After all, when we were children, when things went wrong, there wasn't much we could do to help put it right. But now we're adults, now we can. That's the thing, you see? Look at us, Akira. After all this time, we can finally put things right. Remember, old chap, how we used to play those games? Over and over? How we used to pretend we were detectives searching for my father? Now we're grown, we can at last put things right."
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
29. "In the early nineties, I was a cub reporter on a city newspaper in Limerick, and assigned to the courthouse there. One day, an old detective sergeant came and whispered to me in the press pit. He pointed out a young offender, a teenager who was up for stealing a car or something relatively minor, and said, 'See this kid? He'll kill.'"
Author: Kevin Barry
30. "I never have liked detective dramas. I try to watch all of them to see what's going on, but I don't like them."
Author: Kevin Whately
31. "I did my very first film with Kirk in Detective Story when he was the greatest, greatest star in the world. I fell in love with him, had a crush on him then."
Author: Lee Grant
32. "He so enjoyed disconcerting a woman of conservative sensibilities, and he suspected that the detective had inhibitions atop reservations wrapped in reticense."--Lucan thinking about SamanthaDark Need by Lynn Viehl"
Author: Lynn Viehl
33. "Dana was what Steve called a "silent partner" in the Brixton Brothers Detective Agency. Being a silent partner meant that Dana didn't carry a business card, that his name didn't appear on the company letterhead, and he wanted nothing to do with the Brixton Brothers Detective Agency."
Author: Mac Barnett
34. "What can I do for you, Detective?' he said cheerily, smiling and nodding at Bailey.What was I, chopped liver? I had a badge too. Maybe I should've shown it to him. Maybe I should've shown him my gun too."
Author: Marcia Clark
35. "I didn't know I was doing film noir, I thought they were detective stories with low lighting!"
Author: Marie Windsor
36. "So what exactly would an ecological detective set loose in an American supermarket discover, were he to trace the items in his shopping cart all the way back to the soil? The notion began to occupy me a few years ago, after I realized that the straightforward question 'What should I eat?' could no longer be answered without first addressing two other even more straightforward questions: 'What am I eating? And where in the world did it come from?' Not very long ago an eater didn't need a journalist to answer these questions. The fact that today one so often does suggests a pretty good start on a working definition of industrial food: Any food whose provenance is so complex or obscure that it requires expert help to ascertain."
Author: Michael Pollan
37. "Keep it. When you have enough of my clothes at your place, I'll have to start staying overnight so I can get dressed.""Dream on, Savoie.""Every night, detective."
Author: Nancy Gideon
38. "I don't know yet what we're called, or if we have a name. I know so little and need to learn so much. I'm many things, detective, and all of them love you."
Author: Nancy Gideon
39. "Detective Ramos confided in me, 'If something happens to you on my watch my ass is O-U-T.' 'How do you think I'd feel? D-E-A-D."
Author: Nelson DeMille
40. "Listen to me you piece of shit, if you ever give the press information about me, my parents or even breathe a word about me to anyone ever again, I swear to god I will make it my mission to make your life a living hell. And, believe me I'll do it with a smile on my face the whole time. You're a worthless excuse for a Detective and everyone here knows it. You've screwed your way to the top and backstabbed Gena to get into your Captain's good books. Well look around you honey, you're a real star. No one stopped Gena or me taking you on. I've currently got you in a hold, where I could snap your neck if I wanted to, and not one person is stepping forward to help you. Yeah, you've really made it." - Stephanie Carovella to Sandra Barton"
Author: Nina D'Angelo
41. "To read of a detective's daring finesse or ingenious stratagem is a rare joy."
Author: Rex Stout
42. "The surprise with which a detective novel concludes should set up tragic vibrations which run backward through the entire structure."
Author: Ross Macdonald
43. "The detective thinks he is investigating a murder or a missing girl. But truly he is investigating something else altogether, something he cannot grasp hold of directly. Satisfaction will be rare. Uncertainty will be your natural state. Sureness will always elude you. The detective will always circle around what he wants, never seeing it whole. We do not go on despite this. We go on because of it."
Author: Sara Gran
44. "When I encountered these haunting words from Franz Kafka, I realized exactly why this light sermon about the search for God had struck such a nerve: "Everyday life is the greatest detective story ever written. Every second, without noticing, we pass by thousands of corpses and crimes. That's the routine of our lives."
Author: Stephen Kendrick
45. "In ordinary detective novels you never see the consequences of what happens in a story in the next book. That you do in mine."
Author: Stieg Larsson
46. "Writing detective stories is about writing light literature, for entertainment. It isn't primarily a question of writing propaganda or classical literature."
Author: Stieg Larsson
47. "What I warn you to remember is that I am a detective. Our relationship with truth is fundamental but cracked, refracting confusingly like fragmented glass. It is the core of our careers, the endgame of every move we make, and we pursue it with strategies painstakingly constructed of lies and concealment and every variation on deception."
Author: Tana French
48. "After all, the fundamental question of philosophy (like that of psychoanalysis) is the same as the question of the detective novel: who is guilty?"
Author: Umberto Eco
49. "In the detective story, as in its mirror image, the Quest for the Grail, maps (the ritual of space) and timetables (the ritual of time) are desirable. Nature should reflect its human inhabitants, i.e., it should be the Great Good Place; for the more Eden-like it is, the greater the contradiction of murder. The country is preferable to the town, a well-to-do neighborhood (but not too well-to-do-or there will be a suspicion of ill-gotten gains) better than a slum. The corpse must shock not only because it is a corpse but also because, even for a corpse, it is shockingly out of place, as when a dog makes a mess on a drawing room carpet."(The guilty vicarage: Notes on the detective story, by an addict, Harper's Magazine, May 1948)"
Author: W.H. Auden
50. "You know what you need?""What?""You need to think about what a badass bald man would do in this situation""There are no badass bald men. By definition.""What about Dwight D. Eisenhower?" Carlos suggested."President Eisenhower?""Doesn't he qualify as a badass?" Carlos insisted."Look, he may have been president, but he doesn't exactly come to people's minds when you ask them to think of a badass.""All right. How about Kojak?" Carlos asked."That police detective show with Telly Savalas?" Sammy asked."Yeah, Kojak. He was a badass. Always cool under pressure.""All right," Sammy replied. "Let's just say, for the sake of argument, that Kojak was a bald badass. So what?'"So you have to imagine how Kojak would deal with this situation we have in front of us. He wouldn't be worried about whether this girl digs bald guys. He would just walk right up to her, knowing that he's a badass and just take care of business. You see, it's all in the delivery.""The delivery?""Yeah, the execution"
Author: Zack Love

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Life has a way of shining on people who stand in the sunshine of kind actions."
Author: Bryant McGill

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