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Detective Fiction

For readers and scholars

Harlem Detectives (Grave Digger Jones & Coffin Ed Johnson)

Hot on the Trail of Iconic Detectives Exhibition

Hot on the Trail of Iconic Detectives, on view in the first floor gallery of Thompson Library May 24--September 17, explores popular depictions of fictional detectives over the last 150 years. The exhibition examines detectives in 19th-century dime novels, young adult fiction, comic books, film, and contemporary Japanese manga.

Hot on the Trail reveals the creation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s character and his iconic look as well as highlights diverse representations of detectives on the page, stage, and screen, including:

  • Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle's classic Victorian detective
  • Nancy Drew, the teen sleuth created by Carolyn Keene
  • Dick Tracy, the comic book hero first drawn by Chester Gould
  • Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson, Chester Himes’s Harlem detectives
  • Shinichi Kudo, manga author Gosho Aoyama’s boy detective 

These investigators reflected the social issues of their time. They went on to influence the cultural environments in which they first appeared, and their adventures continue to engage audiences today. This page includes selected resources for further research into the characters and topics covered in the exhibition.

Nancy Drew: Selected Resources

Dick Tracy: Selected Resources

Most of the Libraries' Dick Tracy materials are located in the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Sherlock Holmes: Selected Resources

Shinichi (Jimmy) Kudo