What Makes a Good Detective?

Whether you’re interested in becoming a detective, want to improve your ability to solve a case while watching a crime thriller, or plan to attend an event at The Dinner Detective, it’s important to understand what makes a good detective. 

Although there are many traits necessary to becoming a seasoned detective, here are five of the most important skills.

Observation skills

Having good observation skills means you use all five of your senses to take in, analyze, and recall your surroundings. You have to be mindful, which means you are present in the current moment and aware of the details around you. 

For a detective, perhaps the two most important observation skills are seeing and listening. Practice looking for information and truly listening to those around you when conversing. And remember to pay attention to non-verbal behavior, too. 

Attention to detail

As a detective, you need to pay attention to every detail to make sure you don’t miss anything during your investigation. This skill is important when examining evidence and interviewing witnesses and suspects. Missing the smallest piece of information can turn a successful investigation into one with an unfortunate outcome.

When you pay attention, you can easily connect the dots. A good detective can spot when a detail is missing or doesn’t line up with another detail. This strict attention to detail might seem tedious, but good detectives know that the smallest, most seemingly trivial or unimportant detail could be the key to solving the case.


Good detectives think outside the box. Detective work often involves logic and working through a puzzle in an orderly, step-by-step process, but there’s also a great deal of creativity involved. 

When working a case, a detective handles a seemingly endless amount of random, apparently unconnected pieces of information. Many times, it’s not the logical side of the brain that helps connect the dots, but the ability to imagine other possibilities that helps put all the pieces together. 


When you think of detectives, the word “friendly” might not be a descriptor that comes to mind. But a detectives interacts with all sorts of people on a regular basis, and these people have different personalities, attitudes, and diverse backgrounds. 

If you want to be a good detective, you’ll be expected to have a positive attitude and be a good conversationalist. If you’re someone who can strike up conversations, make others feel at ease, and win the confidence of others around you, you’re more likely to get the information you need.  


Intuition is the ability to know something without analytic reasoning. And an observant detective has intuition in spades. They can bridge the gap between the conscious and non-conscious parts of their mind, and they follow the feeling in their gut that instinctively says which idea or course of action is right or wrong.

Sometimes, it’s the moment when you sense kindness or fear, in another’s face or other non-verbal cues. You might not know why you feel that way about a certain person or event. After all, it’s just a hunch. But as a good detective, you know when to listen to your instinct and follow a new path that might lead to breaking the case. 

There you have it. Five of the most important skills necessary to become a great detective. So whether you plan to go into that line of work or you just want to impress your friends when having fun at The Dinner Detective, you’ll be ready to tackle the case.