“As an experienced private detective and a skilled storyteller, Colleen Collins is the perfect person to offer a glimpse into the lives of real female P.I.s”
~Kim Green, managing editor of Pursuit Magazine: The Magazine of Professional Investigators
“SECRETS OF A REAL-LIFE FEMALE PRIVATE EYE is a research must-have.”
~Holly Jacobs, award-winning author of Steamed, featuring amateur sleuth Quincy Mac
The Story Behind the Book
When I meet people who know I’m a private investigator, their questions often reflect what they’ve seen my fictional counterparts doing in stories and film. Do I carry a gun? Do I chase bad guys in speeding car chases? Do I go undercover in a slinky dress and blonde wig?
So I wrote Secrets of a Real-Life Female Private Eye to share my real-world stories about being a female private investigator. For starters, I’ve never carried a gun. Never had a pet ocelot like the iconic TV private eye Honey West, although I’ve sometimes worked with my loyal canine investigator, Aretha.
However, I have chased a bad guy in a car across three counties…caught him, too. And I once wore a blonde wig while…well, those stories and more are in the book.
The First Female Private Eye
The book begins with a review of the history of the private eye, from Eugène François Vidocq who, in 1812, started Sûreté, the first criminal investigative unit within a police department. Sûreté served as the inspiration for Scotland Yard and, some claim, for the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as well. Interestingly enough, Vidocq, when handling a case that required a woman to go undercover, wouldn’t hire a woman…instead, he dressed like one and did the work himself.
However, several decades later, Allan Pinkerton, founder of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, hired the first female P.I. in the U.S.: Kate Warne. Secrets of a Real-Life Female Private Eye provides an overview of Kate’s investigative services, from solving a high-profile embezzlement case to helping thwart an assassination attempt on President-elect Abraham Lincoln. Some sources think the Pinkerton motto “We Never Sleep” stems from Kate Warne staying up all night to protect Lincoln.
Subjects and Secrets in the Book
Secrets of a Real-Life Female Private Eye covers the advantages and dangers of being a current-day female P.I.; tools of the trade, from interactive crime maps to smartphone apps; a sampling of cases, from paranormal to criminal investigations; investigative tips, including free online searches, finding lost pets and sending untraceable emails; an overview of popular TV female private eyes and much more.
The book will be available on Amazon, downloadable to PC and Mac computers, browsers, Kindle ereaders and a variety of mobile devices. I’ll post a link to the book in early August.
Excerpt from Secrets of a Real-Life Female Private Eye
In one of the book appendices, I list some of my favorite blogs, websites and online magazines authored by real-life P.I.s or people in associated fields, as well as several private-eye genre sites. Handy info for writers doing research, readers who love the private-eye genre, investigators and armchair detectives.
To read the excerpt, click here.
“SECRETS OF A REAL-LIFE FEMALE PRIVATE EYE is a great resource for anyone writing a female P.I. character, or any P.I. character. Filled with great tips and real-life examples, it helps clarify how things are really done. But it’s particularly interesting how the book shows that a female P.I. can have a distinct advantage over a male P.I. in many situations, something for writers to think about.”
~Paul D. Marks, author of the 2013 Shamus award-winning noir-mystery, White Heat
Praise for The Zen Man
"Great humor. Great dialogue. Author did a great job of establishing the relationship between Rick and Laura. It never overshadowed the mystery, but it made the book truly multi-dimensional."
~New York Times best-selling author Dorien Kelly
"A real page turner. I enjoyed this book full of suspense and surprises. I have never read this author before but will look for her next surprise."
Interviews & Articles