Day Jobs of the Amateur Detective by Russell James

Just out – and a must for every mystery fan – is a comprehensive and lavishly illustrated A-Z guide from Russell James: Great British Fictional Detectives, featuring over four hundred Great British Detectives, and highlighting their characteristics, books, TV appearances and films.  Among the many titbits of information set around the main A-Z is this section on Day Jobs of the Amateur Detective, which Russell has allowed us to quote here: 

Day Jobs of the Amateur Detective

Where did amateur detectives really earn their money?  Some were toffs, and didn’t need to worry (too much) about where the next meal was coming from, and some had a sufficiently full casebook to live on their sleuthing earnings, but many of our amateur detectives needed a day job.  Here are some of them.

Detective (and author)

Where the money came from:

Johnny Ace (Ron Ellis)

Disc Jockey

Robert Amiss (Ruth D Edwards)

Civil Servant

Jonathan Argyll (Iain Pears)

Art dealer

Bertie (Peter Lovesey)

Prince of Wales

Mrs Bradley  (Gladys Mitchell)

Consultant psychiatrist at the Home Office

Theodora Braithwaite (D M Greenwood)


Nell Bray (Gillian Linscott)


Miles Bredon (Ronald Knox)

Investigator (Indescribable Life Insurance Co)

Father Brown (G K Chesterton)

Roman Catholic Priest

Keith Calder (Gerald Hammond)


Albert Campion (Margery Allingham)

Gentleman of leisure (possibly of royal blood)

Canaletto (Janet Laurence)


Melissa Craig (Betty Rowlands)

Crime novelist

Auguste Didier (Amy Myers)

Master chef

Montague Egg (D L Sayers)

Commercial Traveller

Dr Gideon Fell (J D Carr)

Lexicographer & historian

Gervase Fen (Edmund Crispin)

Oxford Professor of English & clumsy motorist

Flash the Alsatian (John W Bobin)


Reginald Fortune (H C Bailey)


Antony Gillingham (A A Milne)

Gentleman of leisure

Lindsay Gordon (Val McDermid)

Noisy journalist

Francis Hancock (Barbara Nadel)

Anglo-Indian undertaker

Dido Hoare (Marianne MacDonald)

Antiquarian book dealer

Mr Jellipot (Sydney Fowler)


Arnold Landon (Roy Lewis)


Lovejoy (Jonathan Gash)

Antiques dealer

Miss Jane Marple (Agatha Christie)


Peter Maxwell (M J Trow)


Phyllida Moon (Eileen Dewhurst)


Charles Paris (Simon Brett)

Heavy drinking actor

Francis Pettigrew (Cyril Hare)


Miss Pink (Gwen Moffat)


Dr Priestley (John Rhode)

Mathematician and scientist

Mr Pringle (Nancy Livinston)

Tax inspector

Roger Sheringham (Anthony Berkeley)


Tim Simpson (John Malcolm)

Antiques expert

Nigel Strangeways (Nicholas Blake)

Journalist and poet

Dr Thorndyke (R Austin Freeman)

Medical Jurist and amateur scientist of note

Ludovic Travers (Christopher Bush)

Gentleman of leisure

Mark Treasure (David Williams)

Merchant Banker

Philip Trent (E C Bailey)


Merrily Watkins (Phil Rickman)

Deliverance Consultant

Lord Peter Wimsey (D L Sayers)

Gentleman of leisure

David Wintringham (Josephine Bell)



This is just one of the sections in the book.  The bulk is a comprehensive A to Z of fictional British detectives in books, TV or film – a far more detailed guide than we’ve seen elsewhere, describing not only the famous names (Sherlock Homes, John Rebus, Inspector Morse) but also many equally fascinating but less well-known detectives.  However many you personally may have come across,  we’re sure there’ll be some here you didn’t know.  In fact, how many detectives can you name?  Can you name the book with

* the first woman detective

* the first nurse detective

* a blind detective

* two Edwardian cycling detectives

* the first transsexual sleuth

* the dog that accompanied Valerie Drew? 

Do you remember Z-Cars on TV?  In Great British Fictional Detectives you’ll find not only the best-known TV detectives of today and yesterday but some old favourites you thought that you’d forgotten.  Perhaps you remember Superintendent Lockhart — but what was the name of the programme?  If you watch TV you’ll know Morse and Rebus, but who are the starring actors in Life on Mars and Mind to Kill?

The A-Z section lists over four hundred detectives, some of whom have only a line or two while the more interesting sleuths have several pages each.  But there’s far more in the book than that.  You’ll find quotes from stories, lots of pictures and a wealth of inside information about detectives and crime fiction.  You’ve got to have this book by your bedside!



Russell James

published by Remember When
(an imprint of Pen & Sword)
Recommended price £19.99
(though check for lower on the net!)
ISBN 978 1844 680269




Page by - Gary Cane