Korean fictional detectives

WORK IN PROGRESS – I’m trying my best to work on this blog, but I have many other activities so it’s not always easy to update it regularly!

I am working on a list to present of the Korean fictional detectives. What I mean by “detective” is a fictional character who solves criminal cases, but he is not necessarily a private detective or a police officer. Some are writers of detective novels, some are lawyers…

The condition to figure on this list is to appear in at least two works of fiction, but it can be two short stories.


YU Bul-ran 유불란

Created by: KIM Nae-seong 김내성
First appearance: 가상범인 (1937)

Characteristics: YU Bul-ran is an author of detective novels who got involved in a real murder case in 가상범인. He uses his inspiration as an author to solve cases.

Appears in (to be completed)


LEE Sang and Gubo 이상&구보

Created by: KIM Jae-hui 김재희
First appearance: 사슬에서 풀려난 프로메테우스 in 경성 탐정 이상 (2012)

The two characters LEE Sang and Gubo are based on real Korean authors who were active during the colonial period.

LEE Sang or YI Sang, is a well known author of modern literature (1910-1937). His real name is KIM Hae-gyeong 김해경.

Gubo is the pen name of the author PARK Tae-won (1909-1986). He and LEE Sang belonged to the same literary group, the Circle of Nine, which also appears in KIM Jae-hui’s novel.

In KIM Jae-hui’s novel, LEE Sang is a poet and a mysterious character whose investigation skills are remarkable. He does not hesitate to fool his interlocutor to get information. He knows Gyeongseong well and has connections with people who can help him in his investigation.

GU Bo is a writer who has a nervous personality. He is the reader’s eyes and ears. He does not do much to make the investigation progress and the couple LEE Sang & Gubo reminds of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.

Appear in:
경성 탐정 이상 1, 2 & 3

Dang Seungpyo and NA Seungman 당승표 & 나승만

You certainly have here my favourite duo of Korean fictional detectives. DANG Seungpyo is initially an author of detective novels who gets involved in a real mystery/murder case in 교도회관 밀실 살인사건.

NA Seungman is a retired police inspector who has high self-esteem and likes that hierarchy due to age and position should be respected. He meets DANG Seungpyo in 교도회관 밀실 살인사건.

While the deduction mania DANG Seungpyo works with his brain, NA Seungman is a man of action. Theyhave different personalities, they form a very enjoyable duo of detectives.

Appear in:
교도회관 밀실 살인사건
나당탐정사무소 사건일지 (short stories)

GO Jin and LEE Yu-hyeon 고진&이유현

Created by DO Jin-gi 도진기
First appearance: 붉은 집 살인사건

LEE Yu-hyeon is a police detective and GO Jin is a lawyer, or to be more precise a “lawyer of the shadows” or a “dark lawyer”. This means that GO Jin does not work in a law office, nor does he appear in court. He takes cases from clients as a private detective would do or helps LEE Yu-hyeon to solve his cases.

GO Jin has remarkable deduction skills and loves being confronted with challenging puzzles. Together with LEE Yu-hyeon, they form one of the most exciting duos of detectives I know of. They complement each other as GO Jin makes the deductions and LEE Yu-hyeon conducts the investigation.

Appear in:
“변호사 고진 series”:
붉을 집 살인사건
라 트라비아타의 초상
유다의 별 1 & 2
악마는 법정에서지 않는다

KIM Geon and SHIN Yeong-gyu 김건&신영규

Created by JEONG Ga-il 정가일
First appearance: 신데렐라 포장마차 1

KIM Geon is a private detective who looks and wears like a Hollywood star of the 50s, including the soft hat. SHIN Yeong-gyu is a police detective who does not hesitate to use questionable means to achieve his goal.

They used to be partners, but an event in their common past changed everything.

Appear in:
신데렐라 포장마차 1
신데렐라 포장마차 2 (to be published)