Who’s Your Favourite Death in Paradise Detective?

Ralf Little has been confirmed as the next Death in Paradise detective, but which of the befuddled Brits abroad has been your personal favourite so far? We make the case for each sweaty sleuth.

Richard Poole (Ben Miller)


Richard's the original Death in Paradise detective, so he gets immediate points for being a trailblazer. Well, he would, if the word "trailblazer" wasn't so comically inappropriate for a man as stiff, awkward, wary, hesitant, and generally un-trailblazer-like as DI Poole. That's not to say he was incapable of dramatic flourishes - when having a brainwave about a case, he was liable to stomp around, waggle his arms and make his colleagues think he's suffering severe heatstroke. And let's not forget the time he violently flashed his badge and bellowed "I'm a police officer and I want a cup of tea!" That was pretty bold.

But such moments of mania aside, his default mode was definitely "low-key alarmed and/or disgruntled", and that's why we love him. Richard Poole was the ultimate fish out of water. The other Death in Paradise detectives at least dressed semi-appropriately for life in the Caribbean, while Poole remained stubbornly sheathed in a suit and tie at all times (his underarms must have been more humid than Saint Marie in hurricane season).

Sweaty, squinty and ill-at-ease in surroundings which 97% of the rest of humanity would find gorgeous and idyllic, Richard Poole genuinely looked like he'd be far more comfortable wedged in a London Tube carriage mid-rush hour than sitting on a beach in the Caribbean. He also had a morbid fear of nuns. And yet, despite all his issues, despite forever having the look of a man who's trodden barefoot on a Lego brick, he also developed an utterly touching will-they-or-won't-they romance with local copper Camille Bordey. Which, all fairness to the ensuing lead detectives, is definitely the most adorable courtship we've seen on the show so far. It's just a shame he never got to treat her to that caravan trip he'd promised her.


Settling into Saint Marie after poor Poole's untimely murder, Humphrey Goodman was every bit as quintessentially English as his predecessor. But he was much less of a fish out of water, and actively embraced the beauty of the island (as any semi-normal, non-Poole-like person surely would, let's face it). Fond of light linen blazers and even the odd short-sleeved shirt, he certainly blended in rather well, and could easily have been mistaken for a suncream-slathered holidaymaker.

But, while he may have looked like a man who should be forever sat sipping tall fruity drinks at a local beach bar, Goodman had the razor-sharp mind of an ace detective, sharing Poole's talent for spotting the unlikeliest, teeny-tiniest clues while his colleagues goggled in grudging admiration. That's when he wasn't tripping over his own feet, swan-diving out of windows or unexpectedly snogging the floor due to his immense clumsiness.

Yes, if Richard Poole's defining foible was his grumpy awkwardness, then Goodman's was the fact he was forever starring in his own sun-soaked reboot of a Charlie Chaplin film. Seriously, the man was so old-school slapstick, it's a wonder he didn't literally step on a garden rake and have the pole hit him square in the face.

Part Sherlock Holmes, part Hugh Grant, part Chuckle Brother, Humphrey Goodman was a hoot to watch. But whether he's was MORE of a hoot than Richard Poole is up for debate, and depends on what flavour of foreign-based Englishman you prefer: neurotic or dorky? But wait a moment, because there's a third contender for the top spot...


"Paradise is a state of mind." So declared Jack Mooney early on in his tenure, proving himself to be a bit of a philosopher as well as a sleuth. But then, he's had lots of life experience. Unlike his predecessors, he came to the island with family in tow - namely, his daughter Siobhan. There's also the fact that Jack is a widower, and was still recovering from the death of his wife when he moved to Saint Marie. All of this means Jack Mooney is definitely the detective of choice for fans who like a hefty side order of "poignant backstory" with their heroes.

But that's not to say it's all doom and gloom with Mooney. On the contrary, he has twinkly-eyed Irish charm by the bucketload, and is definitely in the Humphrey Goodman mould when it comes to island-appreciation. Yes, you viewers who like a good, cantankerous Brit abroad: your man is still going to be Richard Poole, because Mooney, like Goodman, is well at home on the beach (although Poole would probably have approved of Mooney's fondness for a good necktie).

Warm, empathetic and really very lovely to be around (that Irish charm really cannot be emphasised enough), Jack Mooney is probably the Death in Paradise detective you'd most want as your real-life friend. He'd listen to your woes with big, comforting, puppy dog eyes (unlike Poole, who'd probably be chomping at the bit for you to finish and leave him alone), and he'd cheer you up by getting another round in (without accidentally falling head-first into the bar, Goodman-style). Question is, which one's your pick of the Caribbean crime-solvers? And how will Ralf Little's new recruit compare?