Colleen’s take on private eye stories — from pet peeves to props — is posted at The Thrilling Detective. Don’t know about Thrilling Detective? Time you did. It’s the brainchild of Kevin Burton Smith who’s crafted a site dedicated to the private eye genre. Want a listing of great TV private eyes? It’s got ’em. Reviews of private eye novels? Yep, got ’em. Quotes from private eyes in the movies and books? Yup. There’s lots more…it’s a site that you can get lost in for hours. Not a big surprise as Kevin’s been developing the site for over a decade.
Props & Peeves!
Private Eye Stories from A Real-Life P.I.
by Colleen Collins
Okay, true confession time here. Yes, I’m a working professional private investigator , but the truth is I love reading about fictional private eyes’ searches for hidden truths down a wide variety of mean streets. I just love the stuff, and I’m honoured to have been asked — not once, but twice — to be a judge for the Private Eyes Writers of America.
But sometimes I just have to groan out loud. Like, when a protagonist mangles a basic investigative device, or blithely commits a major legal faux pas, I’ll wonder why the writer didn’t Google the technique, check out one of dozens of books on private investigations, or even interview a real-life P.I. Worse, I’ll realize the writer cribbed the technique from another writer who also got it wrong. Sure, it’s fiction. But getting an investigative method right adds plausibility, complexity, even tension to a story.
Without naming names, here are five pet peeves I’ve read in private eye stories. Following those peeves are several props for investigative techniques a writer’s employed that are right-on, sometimes brilliantly so. Definitely naming names there.
To read the rest of Colleen’s article, click here: Props and Peeves: A Real-life P.I. Spills the Beans
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