Quiz on fictional detectives

Joy Bhattacharjya | Updated on March 29, 2019 Published on March 29, 2019

It’s the 120th birth anniversary of Saradindu Bandyopadhyay, the Bengali writer who created Byomkesh Bakshi. This week’s quiz is all about fictional detectives.

Crack this

1. If Sherlock Holmes had to deal with inspectors Lestrade, Hopkins and Gregson, which fictional detective usually interacted with police prefect G, who appears in every story seeking his counsel?

2. The earliest stories written featuring which detective were The Thirteen Problems, later released in the US with the title The Tuesday Club Murders?

3. “Knowledge of literature – nil. Knowledge of philosophy – nil. Knowledge of astronomy – nil. Knowledge of politics – feeble.” Who said this about whom?

4. Which detective makes his first appearance in a 1963 film, where the main villain — Phantom — finally runs away with his wife, leaving him framed for the theft of a famous jewel?

5. Edith Pargeter was a highly regarded scholar who also wrote a series of historical murder mysteries between 1977 and 1994. Which detective did she create, with stories set in 12th-century England?

6. Brother William of Baskerville was the friar who solves the mystery in Umberto Eco’s classic TheName of the Rose. While Baskerville is an obvious tribute to Sherlock Holmes, from which thinker did he derive the first name?

7. Created by Isaac Asimov, Elijah Bailey is a homicide detective in New York, 3,000 years in the future. His partner is R Daneel Olivaw, whom he first meets in Caves of Steel and who goes on to become a lifelong friend. What does the R in Olivaw’s name signify?

8. Ned Nickerson, a 6’ 2” tall handsome and athletic young sophomore at Emerson College is the romantic interest of which intrepid young detective?

9. The descendant of a German count who came to Russia in 1680, this fictional detective has shades of Prince Myshkin from Dostoevsky’s The Idiot and Andrei Bolkonsky from Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Name this 19th-century Russian detective who first appeared in the novel The Winter Queen?

10. This fictional character has also been portrayed by Mohan Agashe, Rabi Ghosh, Anup Kumar and Bibhu Bhattacharya. A writer himself, his most famous creation is the detective Prakhar Rudra. Name this intrepid traveller and his creator.


1. Auguste Dupin, regarded as the first of the modern fictional detectives, created by Edgar Allen Poe

2. Jane Marple and her friend Sir Henry Clithering, created by Agatha Christie

3. Doctor Watson describing Sherlock Holmes in A Study in Scarlet

4. Inspector Jacques Clouseau, played by Peter Sellers in The Pink Panther

5. Brother Cadfael, the Benedictine monk. She wrote under the pseudonym Ellis Peters

6. William of Ockham, known for the principle of Ockham’s Razor, which says that one should always accept the simplest explanation that accounts for all the facts. Holmes used the same logic

7. Robot

8. Nancy Drew

9. Erast Fandorin, created by Boris Akunin

10. Lalmohan Ganguly, most famously played by Santosh Dutta, who appears in the Feluda books and films of Satyajit Ray


Joy Bhattacharjya is a quizmaster; Twitter: @joybhattacharj

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Published on March 29, 2019
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