Guns, Gams & Gumshoes

A blog for PIs and writers/readers of the PI genre

  • Writing a Sleuth?

    A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life Sleuths

    "How to Write a Dick is the best work of its kind I’ve ever come across because it covers the whole spectrum in an entertaining style that will appeal to layman and lawmen alike."

    Available on Kindle

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Posts Tagged ‘real-life private detective stories’


Posted by Writing PIs on March 23, 2013

How to Write a Dick cover

To go book’s Amazon page, click on cover

by Colleen Collins & Shaun Kaufman

“If you want authenticity in creating a fictional private investigator for your stories, then this is a must-have reference book. Its authors, Colleen and Shaun, are living breathing PIs with years of actual experience in the PI game.”
~R.T. Lawton, 25 years on the street as a federal special agent and author of 4 series in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

Book Excerpts

How to Write a Dick: Catching the Cheater

How to Write a Dick: Financial Investigations

How to Write a Dick: Intellectual Property Investigations 

Book Blurb

To purchase HOW TO WRITE A DICK, click on Bogie

To purchase HOW TO WRITE A DICK, click on Bogie

The private eye genre has come a long way, baby, with new subgenres — from teenage PIs to vampire gumshoes to geriatric sleuths — attracting new readers every year. Unfortunately, most writers are not aware of the state-of-the-art developments that shape today’s professional private investigator, which sometimes leave writers floundering with impossible and antiquated devices, characters and methods in stories.

Which is why we wrote How to Write a Dick: A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life Sleuths, whose material we culled from our combined 14 years as private investigators, as well as one partner’s 18 years as a trial attorney training private investigators, and our teaching online classes and conducting workshops at writers’ conferences about writing private investigators.  How to Write a Dick isn’t about how to write a novel, but what you need to know to write an authentic, compelling 21st-century sleuth character or story.


To go to book's Amazon page, click on banner

To go to Secrets of a Real-Life Female Private Eye’s Amazon page, click on banner

Posted in How to Order Criminal Records, PI Topics, Real-Life Private Investigator Stories, Reverse Email Searches, Social Networking Search Engines, Training to be a PI | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Three Book Excerpts from HOW TO WRITE A DICK: A GUIDE FOR WRITING FICTIONAL SLEUTHS

#truecrime The Case of the Disappearing Money

Posted by Writing PIs on June 15, 2011

Coins and paper money public domain

Several years back, a probate lawyer hired us to investigate a family’s trust fund from which money had been “disappearing.” In the below review of this case, we discuss our investigative goals & tasks, unforeseen glitches and the end result.

The Case of the Disappearing Money

Investigation Goal

An attorney who specializes in probate, elder law, and estate planning/administration asked our investigations agency to investigate what had happened to the money that disappeared from a family’s trust fund.  The family already suspected a specific member.

Investigation Tasks

Our investigations on the suspected family member included the following tasks:

  • Researching public records for significant purchases for land, cars and other high-price-tag items.
  • Researching purchases made by the suspect’s daughter and son-in-law.  Our investigation revealed that the son-in-law had come unexpectedly into large amounts of money that he had used to fund large purchases, one being a new home.
  • Checking records in the assessor’s and clerk of recorder’s offices.  We learned the suspected family member had acquired an interest in a pricey downtown condo.
  • Surveilling the suspected family member.  Although she claimed to be unemployed, we discovered she suddenly had sufficient amounts of money to attend a university full time.
  • Investigating suspected family’s member’s claim that she occasionally babysat for another family member to earn some money.  Our investigations, including surveillance, showed she never conducted any babysitting, and that the children in question were enrolled in a daycare that the suspected family member had no ties to.

Unforeseen Glitches

The object of our investigations learned from another family member that private investigators were watching. Therefore, the suspect became cautious, and spent a lot of time looking around the corner whenever they left the house.  Too bad that they left so much evidence in public records regarding their acquisitions using family money.

End Result

The lawyer applied for a court order forfeiting the ill-gotten property back to the deceased person’s estate. In other words, the pricey downtown condo was taken over by the family members who had been ripped off.

All rights reserved by Colleen Collins and Shaun Kaufman. Any use of the content (including images owned by Colleen Collins and/or Shaun Kaufman) requires specific, written authority. Other images are licensed by Colleen Collins, and are not to be copied, pasted, distributed or otherwise used.

Posted in The Case of the Disappearing Money | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

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