Hercule Poirot Or Sherlock Holmes?

edited December 2013 in Hercule Poirot
Both main characters, Holmes and Poirot, use the powers of intellectual deduction to solve crimes. Both also are attended by assistants whom they underestimate and verbally abuse. Both are also intellectual snobs. Holmes is a cocaine abuser and a scientist, while Poirot is just a natural at deduction. Doyle's novels are set in England, while Christie has her characters traveling wherever crime may be: i.e. Mystery on the Orient Express, Murder in the Mesopotamia and Murder on the Nile. Both authors killed off their serial detectives and wrote books with other characters. Those of Miss Christie's, such as Miss Marple, gained more popularity among readers than Doyle's other books. In literary circles, Doyle is considered an Author with a capital A, while Christie was always thought of as merely a commercially successful writer (female, perhaps?) I personally prefer Christie because her secondary characters are more than just stage dressing for the "great man" to pontificate before.


  • SerourBSerourB Essex, United Kingdom
    edited January 2014
    For me it's all about Christie , even though Holmes is great , I don't find his character to be interesting as much as Poirot is . Poirot grows as a character and we become attached to him
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    Poirot Definitely, the stories are easier to read although I have only read the Novella's and a few short stories, and Poirot has a few Side-kicks where as Holmes only has Dr Watson and the stories are less interesting although Holmes comes first and some Poirot stories are like others
  • SerourBSerourB Essex, United Kingdom

    Poirot . We have just gotten completely used to him as a character. Also he represents many different changes that occurred in Agatha's time. Acceptance of foreigners , women working , divorce ...

    Quiet honestly , Sherlock holmes is okay , but I don't find him all that. I would prefer reading Agatha Christie s poirot anyday , everyday

  • I haven't read Holmes much..... I go for Christie
  • Poirot, by all means.  He is analytical and deductive, but also emotional, with a sense of humor.  Holmes is arrogant and humorless.  I can't stand him.
  • DeanDean United Kingdom
    Poirot because he doesn't have to use drugs to find out who the murderer is.
  • @Dean, Holmes uses drugs to wile away ennui; he doesn't need to indulge when on a case, instead smoking shag tobacco. Poirot has his own luxaries and vices. He's fond of good food, fashionable (yet uncomfortable) shoes, and Russian cigarettes.
    It's hard to compare the two on a literary level, because Poirot usually appears in novels, while Holmes generally appears in short stories. In The Hound of... he's more of a side character - appearing in the beginning and the end.
    Personally, I find them both very enjoyable - from both I get a sense of England at their time; language, culture. It's the fact that Poirot cares greatly for the human element, he "studies human nature" that makes his stories perhaps more entertaining. Holmes is brilliant, and a great performer. But he's cold and analytical, with only Watson to throw warmth and feeling into the story and prevent it from just being a puzzle. Whereas both Poirot and Hastings are sympathetic, emotional creatures - not to mention the wonderful cast of characters around them that truly draw us into the story. It ceases to become merely a case, a question, a puzzle to be solved, and becomes instead a human drama.
  • Poirot, by all means.  He is analytical and deductive, but also emotional, with a sense of humor.  Holmes is arrogant and humorless.  I can't stand him.

    Katherine, if you cal Sherlock Holmes 'arrogant", you have to admit Hercule Poirot is more than arrogant. NO ! I am not playing a tit-for-tat game here. You have to understand that I am saying after reading many SH and many HP books.

    Coming to a broader argument, we are here to debate who is a better DETECTIVE and not who is a better PERSON. If I were to answer that, I would say that SH is better. Let me explain why. I hope I would have no serious objections if I say that the method of investigation used by a detective should be suitable for identifying the perpetrator whoever he is and WHEREVER he is at the moment ! SH easily wins against HP again here. What does SH do ? He first talks in detail to the person bringing the sequence of events wanting explanation, visits the scene of the mystery, looks for any forensic clues, analyses what he finds, traces the ‘unknown / unseen’ characters, puts his findings about their movements to all of them and thus, jolts the guilty into a confession. This is [in a way] trouble-free because you need not rack your brains about conflicting testimonies from different characters. You get to see the truth directly. For only those people who don't understand / appreciate this science of forensics, SH appears as unrealistic and / or HP appears as more realistic ! 

    On the other hand, HP’s way of “reconstructing the crime” is suitable ONLY when the perpetrator is within the confinement of investigation – be it a house, plane, ship, library, railway coach, or anything. If the criminal is an outsider (as is more often the case in SH adventures AND by no means an impossibility in real life), HP would be in a soup for sure !! Notice that whenever HP needs to do something outside the confinement, like doing background check, gathering info, tracing people, there is always someone ready with the objective, reliable and accurate info on a platter for HP.(I OFTEN WONDER HOW AGATHA CHRISTIE FANS NEVER REALISED THIS !!) Whereas SH too uses outside agents to help him but only in situations when when he needs to observe the goings on at more than one place simultaneously. And even then, he tells his agents what exactly to do - meaning it is HIS brains that does the trick ! To ONLY conveniently direct the suspicion back to those inside the confined area, HP asks seemingly “logical” questions like “whose word do we have for it that there was a man in the corridor ? (Mystery of the Blue Train), “what evidence do we have for it that it was left in the draw last Friday ? (The Submarine Plans), etc. In fact, HP’s “logically” suspecting / concluding that ‘the lone testator to anything in the plot is most likely a liar’ itself is [based only on this assumption that / valid in a situation where] no outsider could have been involved in the affair ! And yes ! A detective simply ought to be amidst a lot of travel, action, thrill and adventure. I would say that a person who feels he can 'detect' without visiting crime scenes IS but LAZY ! [But, mind you - this is NOT to say that no mind work need to be involved !]
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    Poirot, for me because the stories are better and I find them easier to read
  • I agree with @Tommy_A_Jones‌ poirot's stories are easier to read and his character is very interesting even if he is sometimes irritating. And I like the way he uses tricks to reveal the truth..although I started liking Sherlock Holmes since I re-started watching detective Conan ..BTW does anyone watch detective Conan beside me??
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    Never heard of it, When Is It on? I am assuming you aren't meaning Sherlock Holmes which I have watched and have a DVD Boxed set of Rathbone Films.
  • Oh my god you don't know detective Conan anime! Surprised to be honest it's a Japanese world wide famous detective manga and anime .. The main character "sinchi kodo" which turned to "eidogawa Conan" is a big fan of Sherlock Holmes. And mention it in his episode and he is known as the new Sherlock Holmes because he is sooo smart actually he does mention AC also . I consider it the best anime I watched till now
  • Who** not which
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    No, Never Heard of It and only heard of anime at the weekend
  • AgathaSparrowAgathaSparrow Devon, United Kingdom
    I love anime
  • AgathaSparrowAgathaSparrow Devon, United Kingdom
    Do you prefer japanese manga or american manga maryamalbulushi ??
  • Japanese :D I think American manga concentrate on scince fiction more in a tough way which I don't like.. What about you? @AgathaSparrow‌
  • AgathaSparrowAgathaSparrow Devon, United Kingdom
    Definetely Japanese manga, I like reading the other way round maryamalbulushi
  • AnubisAnubis Ontario, Canada
    I too prefer Poirot for many of the reasons mentioned above; but as a former member of the Toronto "Bootmakers" (the local SH society), I would be remiss if I did not mention that with Sherlock Holmes one can play what is called "the game", in which we assume that Holmes and Watson were real people and that Watson's accounts of Holmes's exploits are disguised versions of actual events. There are several annotated books of the SH stories which speculate who clients actually were. I don't know if that can be done with HP or MM.
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    No Surprisingly Hastings could be Poirot's Creater but who could claim to be MMs Raymond, That could be as big a secret as Spode's Ulalee secret in Bertie Wooster Books.
  • FrankFrank Queensland, Australia
    It is hard to pick between the two detectives. The parallels between Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot are interesting. When Agatha Christie first created her most famous detective, Hercule Poirot, she made no bones of the fact that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective, Sherlock Holmes, was a major influence on her own work. From this perspective perhaps, Holmes was unknowingly a mentor, guide and inspiration for the rather vain Poirot (a trait very much part of Holmes’ personality too). In her autobiography, Christie says, “At that date, I was well steeped in the Sherlock Holmes tradition; so I considered detectives. Not like Sherlock Holmes, of course. I must invent one of my own. I reviewed such books as I had met and admired in books. There was Sherlock Holmes – the one and only. I should never be able to emulate him.”

    Both the detectives had chivalrous sidekicks who were stereotypical British gentlemen. While Holmes had his able Dr. Watson, Poirot enjoyed the company of Captain Arthur Hastings. Apart from of course chronicling the adventures of their famous companions, they also assisted them in fieldwork some times taking the law in their own hands. Watson and Hastings suffered in their role as innocent stooges as both Holmes and Poirot were conceited and downright rude when in their most uncharitable moods. Vanity was an essential ingredient in the make-up of both Holmes and Poirot and none could vouch for this more than their two assistants. This vanity was a manifestation of their supreme self-confidence abetted by years of exercising the little gray cells. And yet there have been times when this confidence has been shaken. “The Yellow Face” set in Norbury and “The Chocolate Box” stand as the rare failures of Holmes and Poirot respectively. At one point Poirot asked of Hastings, “If at any time you think I am growing conceited, you shall say to me ‘Chocolate Box’, it is agreed?” just as Holmes once said to Watson, “If it should ever strike you that I am getting a little overconfident in my powers, kindly whisper ‘Norbury’ in my ears.” The similarity in both these cases is only too obvious to miss.

    Of course, along with a stooge assistant all detectives need a policeman that they can outwit. So while Sherlock Holmes had Inspector Lestrade, Hercule Poirot had to contend with Scotland Yard’s Inspector Japp. In spite of their self-importance, both Holmes and Poirot were content to let the grateful inspectors take all the credit for solving the cases. For the two detectives, the satisfaction and success of solving a tough case was a greater reward than any public appreciation.

    Another interesting parallel is that Holmes and Poirot had strong feelings for only the one woman, both of whom were strangely on the other side of the law. While it was Countess Vera Rossakoff for Poirot, Holmes was attached to Irene Adler whom he invariably mentioned not by her name but by the sobriquet of “The Woman”. However, these relationships do not go far and the two ladies feature in not more than two or three adventures.

    A further striking resemblance is their choice of vocation after retirement, which were far removed from the world of crime that the two detectives had been accustomed to. While Holmes famously took to beekeeping and wrote books on the same, Poirot kept himself busy through the cultivation of vegetable marrows. 

    If I have to pick between the two then it would be Poirot by a whisker.

  • edited June 2015
    @Frank: very, VERY insightful! I enjoyed reading your comparisons between Poirot and Sherlock Holmes, two of the greatest detectives in history. May I add to your comparisons? Sherlock Holmes played classical music on his violin. And though Poirot did not play a musical instrument, he was fond of classical music like Holmes, particularly Mozart and Bach as evidenced in Curtain and The Clocks.
  • I also plump for Poirot, and I disagree about who is a better detective, or rather want to qualify it. It is true that Holmes has more skills than Poirot, but we, the readers, do not have these skills - therefore, Poirot is more of a reader's detective; he uses "human" tools, which we can understand. And while I've never guessed a murderer on reading an AC book the first time around, on rereading, I can see where all the clues were there. That is not the case for Sherlock Holmes.
  • HerculeHercule Newcastle Pa
    Hercule Poirot FOR LIFE
  • JS88JS88 Peterborough
    Dare I say the dice is a little bit loaded asking this question on this section of this forum? However, think of the sparks if a young Poirot and an aged Holmes encounter each other on a case...
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    It is an odd Question on this site just like if the same was asked on a Sherlock Holmes site, Why who is best between Poirot and Holmes? Why Not Poirot and Wimsey? or Poirot and Roderick Alleyn?
  • While both are very good. For me there is only one  greatest detective for me . Lieutenant Columbo.  
  • tudestudes Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    I prefer Poirot's style. You can picture the murderer, the motive by yourself. It's different from Holmes stories. I think it's much more difficult to figure things out. As @taliavishay-arbel has said, you can see where the clues are in the case of AC, even in short stories. But it's not the case when it comes to Holmes.
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