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

  • Copyright Notices

    All rights reserved by Colleen Collins and Shaun Kaufman. Any use of the content on this site (including images owned by Colleen Collins and/or Shaun Kaufman) requires specific, written authority. Any violations of this reservation will result in legal action.

    It has come to our attention that people are illegally copying and using the black and white private eye at a keyboard image that is used on our site. NOTE: This image is protected by copyright, property of Colleen Collins.

  • Writing PIs on Twitter

    • RT @AnneSerling: "The writer's role is to menace the public's conscience. He must have a position, a point of view. He must see the arts a… 8 hours ago
  • Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes

  • Advertisements

Posts Tagged ‘Stephanie Plum’

Readers Top 10 Investigative Posts in 2017

Posted by Writing PIs on January 2, 2018

Below is a list of our readers’ favorite investigative posts in 2017. Some continue to show up year after year on our most-viewed posts, with one continuing to to be readers’ #1 favorite since we first kicked off Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes in 2009!

Top Ten Posts in 2017

Starting with #10…

#10: Can a Private Investigator Obtain a Police File?

#9: No, Stephanie Plum Isn’t a Private Eye, She’s a Bounty Hunter

#8: Top 10 Reasons Police Pull Over Vehicles

#7: Female Private Eyes Walked Those Fiction Mean Streets, Too

#6: The Witness Who Came in from the Cold

#5: When Is a Private Investigator’s Evidence Admissible in Court?

#4: Don’t Make Hiring a Private Eye One of Your New Year’s Resolutions

#3: Tips for Writers Tracking Sleuths: Tracking Missing Persons

#2: How to Conduct a Trash hit: A Private Investigator’s Dumpster Secrets

#1: Private vs. Publis Investigators: What’s the Difference? (This article continues to be readers’ favorite post since 2009)

Thank you, everyone, for visiting Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes over the years. Wishing all of you a happy, healthy, successful 2018!


All rights reserved by Colleen Collins. Any use of the content requires specific, written authority. Except for the “Happy New Year” graphic in gold letters, directly above, all other images are licensed by Colleen Collins, who does not have the legal authority to forward/share with others.

Advertisements

Posted in Readers Favorite Articles in 2017 | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Readers Top 10 Investigative Posts in 2017

Our Top 10 Private Investigations Posts in 2013

Posted by Writing PIs on December 21, 2013

At the end of each year, we like to post our readers’ favorite top 10 posts.  Below is our 2013 Top 10 list, starting with #10.

Top 10 Posts

#10 Private Detective Couples in Fiction and Real LifeMyrna Loy and William Powell 1

#9 Marketing the Private Investigations Business (We wrote this in 2009, but a lot of the tips still hold true)

#8 Private Eye Writers of America Shamus Awards Finalists 2013 (Great list of private eye genre books – check ’em out!)

#7 No, Stephanie Plum Isn’t a Private Eye, She’s a Bounty Hunter

#6 What’s the Importance of a Crime Scene? crime scene tape

#5 Secrets of a Real-Life Female Private Eye – The Violent Side of Process Services  (This is an excerpt from Guns, Gams and Gumshoes’s Colleen Collins’s book Secrets of a Real-Life Female Private Eye)

#4 How to Conduct a Trash Hit – A Private Eye’s Dumpster Secrets (This post pops up on our top ten lists year after year)trash hit man in dumpster

#3 Best of 2012: Our 7 Favorite Private Investigator Sites (We’ll be compiling our favorite P.I. sites for 2013 soon, too)

#2 Can You Put a GPS on My Boyfriend’s Car? 

#1 Private vs. Public Investigators: What’s the Difference? (This post has been #1 in our top readers’ favorites for several years running!)

Thank you, readers, for dropping by our site!  Wishing you and yours a happy, safe holiday season, Writing PIs

The Writing PIs

The Writing PIs

Posted in 2013 Shamus Award, Attaching GPS's, Bounty Hunters, Importance of Crime Scenes, Public vs Private Investigators, Real-Life Private Investigator Stories | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Our Top 10 Private Investigations Posts in 2013

No, Stephanie Plum Isn’t a Private Eye, She’s a Bounty Hunter

Posted by Writing PIs on October 5, 2013

Female investigator – could also be a bounty hunter (image licensed by Colleen Collins)

It’s interesting how many people think Stephanie Plum, the popular character developed by writer Janet Evanovich, is a private investigator. No, she’s a fugitive recovery agent (AKA bounty hunter), but jumbling these two professions is easy to do. Guns, Gams & Gumshoes’s Colleen Collins discusses why in an article she wrote for Savvy Authors — below is an excerpt, with a link to the full article at the end.

Private Detectives and Bounty Hunters: Similarities and Differences

By Colleen Collins for Savvy Authors

In a recent online voting poll for the best private detective character in fiction, one of the choices was the character Stephanie Plum in author Janet Evanovich’s popular series that began with the novel One for the Money. Actually Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter, not a private detective, but this isn’t the first time I’ve noticed people confusing the two professions. It’s easy to mix them up as both private investigators and bounty hunters perform a number of similar work tasks, which I’ll discuss later in this article.

But first, let’s briefly review job descriptions and titles for these two professions.

What Do Private Investigators and Bounty Hunters Do?

Private investigators accept employment from clients — such as law firms, corporations and private individuals — to obtain information on crimes or civil wrongs; locate people and property; analyze the cause of accidents, fires, or injuries to persons or to property; and locate evidence to be used before a court.

Bounty hunters work on behalf of a bail bondsman to re-arrest and put into jail the bondsman’s client who has defaulted on his/her bail contract. Typically, the client has failed to appear in criminal court as promised, and a judge has signed a warrant for the client’s arrest.

What Are They Called?

Both occupations have a variety of titles, from the professional to the slang, with some of the latter being viewed as derogatory within that vocation.

Private Investigators

Having co-owned a private investigations agency for ten years, and currently working full-time as a legal investigator for several law firms, I know numerous private investigators across the U.S. Some prefer the job title professional private investigator as it adds esteem to a vocation that often gets a bad rap, thanks in part to the cynical, law-breaking private eye protagonist in early noir films.

Humphrey Bogart in the iconic fedora & trench coat, often worn by noir private eyes (image is in the public domain)

Humphrey Bogart wearing the signature fedora & trench coat often seen in classic private eye films (image is in the public domain)

Personally, I always referred to myself as a private investigator, and sometimes a private detective (although there are some private investigators who think the word detective should be used only by those who work in law enforcement). The abbreviation P.I., for private investigator, is also commonly used by my peers. I’ve also had law firms call and request to retain the services of an operative, another term for P.I., a term that always struck me as a bit old-fashioned.

Slang terms that are commonly viewed within the profession as having negative connotations, but which are often found in movies and stories, include the following:

  • Gumshoe
  • Private dick
  • Shamus
  • Snoop

On the other hand, some P.I.s like to play with these terms, using them in their businesses or related projects, including the author of this article who co-wrote the book How to Write a Dick: A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths.

Bounty Hunters

Some who work in this profession prefer the title fugitive recovery agent because the term bounty hunter to them conjures derogatory images of the Old West dead or alive posters, which advertised rewards in exchange for the fugitive.

More professionally accepted titles for bounty hunters include:

  • Bail bond recovery agent
  • Bail agent
  • Bail enforcement agent
  • Bail officer
  • Fugitive recovery agent
  • Fugitive recovery officer

P.I.s and Bounty Hunters: What Do They Have in Common?

Private investigators and bounty hunters perform some similar tasks in their work, which is why it can be easy to confuse the two occupations. For example, both professions perform the following:

  • Tracking people to a current residence or location (also called “skip tracing”)
  • Conducting interviews
  • Performing surveillances
  • Contacting the subject
  • After the subject is located, the P.I. or bail recovery agent might perform “legal process” (a P.I. might serve legal papers on the non-fugitive, and a bounty hunter might serve a warrant on the fugitive).

To read the rest of this article, click here.

Other Articles on P.I.s and Bounty Hunters

Requirements for Becoming a Fugitive Recovery Agent by David Fletcher

Difference: Bounty Hunter and a Bail Bondsman by Bail Hotline Bail Bonds

Bounty Hunters Cleaning Up Their Image by Oliver Libaw

Female Atlanta Private Investigator Uses Bounty Hunting Skills to Help Attorneys and the Public in Knoxville Daily Sun

All rights reserved by Colleen Collins. Any use of the content requires specific, written authority. Please do not copy/distribute images that are marked copyrighted or licensed—images in the public domain are yours to use.

Posted in Bounty Hunters, Nonfiction Books on Private Investigations | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on No, Stephanie Plum Isn’t a Private Eye, She’s a Bounty Hunter

Answering Writers’ Questions: PIs Wearing Disguises and Carrying Guns

Posted by Writing PIs on April 14, 2010

Today we’re posting questions from writers about PIs wearing disguises and carrying guns.

WRITER’S QUESTION: Do you use disguises often?

GUNS, GAMS, AND GUMSHOES’S ANSWER: Yes. The best disguise in the world is a baseball cap and a pair of sunglasses. Why? Studies on certainty in eye-witness identification show that the color and setting of the eyes, the hair color and style, and the shape of the head and face are all crucial in making positive identifications. A baseball cap and sunglasses obscure just about all of those. Check the below site for photos of bank robbers at the time of the robbery–see how many are wearing baseball caps and sunglasses:

http://bandittracker.com/bank-robbery-suspects/

WRITER’S QUESTION: If you wanted your PI to be able to carry a gun, would he/she have had to have a detective/police background? Is there another way to have them be able to carry a gun legally?

GUNS, GAMS, AND GUMSHOES’S ANSWER: In most states, in order to carry a gun on the job, a PI needs to have a PI license with a rider for carrying a weapon and a CCW permit.

WRITER’S QUESTION: In Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, Stephaie is a bounty hunter and the laws of “in plain sight” would apply there as well, but many times, she’ll break and enter a place with her cohort and say “you saw the door was left open, didn’t you?” Granted, this is fiction, and played up for fun, but I still wonder how she gets away with it. Readers don’t seem to mind. I wonder if PI fans would feel differently?

GUNS, GAMS, AND GUMSHOES’S ANSWER: Licensed bail bond recovery agents are unique creaturs in the law. They are not law enforcement officers, but they are agents of the court. When someone is on bail, they are technically still in custody, but that custody is moved from the county jail to the bail bond agent. As such, a BBRA (bail bond recovery agent) has limited authority to enter private premises and use force in order to return their charges to custody. Interestly, a BBRA working for a bail bondsman does not need any reason whatsoever to take a person who is on bail into custody–the BBRA simply makes the determination that the defendant is a risk to flee. As PIs are governed by different regulations than BBRAs, there’d really be no reason for PI fans to feel differently.

Have a great week, Writing PIs

Posted in Q&As | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
%d bloggers like this: