Three Gun Terry (aka “Three Gun Mack)

Created by Carroll John Daly Pseudonyms include John D. Carroll (1889--1958) "You don't take me for no Sir Lancelot, do you?" -- Terry explains he ain't that kinda guy. Here's the real deal! Carroll John Daly's THREE GUN TERRY is the very first hard-boiled private eye. Probably... Because, of course, with any such statement, there … Continue reading Three Gun Terry (aka “Three Gun Mack)

Hagedorn

Created by Peter Collinson Pseudonym of Dashiell Hammett 1894-1961) Hammett scholar Vince Emery, citing William F. Nolan, suggested that Dashiell Hammett's "The Road Home," featuring professional manhunter HAGEDORN and originally published in the December 1922 issue of The Black Mask is in fact "the first hard-boiled detective story," predating Carroll John Daly's "Three Gun Terry," which is … Continue reading Hagedorn

Who’s on First?

The First Hard-Boiled Private Eye Story "Firsts" are the sort of game literary historians, scholars and bookgeeks love to play, giving them a chance to strut their stuff, loudly and proudly offering up the most blurry of distinctions and the most wishy-washy of definitions, turning hair-splittery into a fine art -- and occasionally a contact … Continue reading Who’s on First?

Early Eyes

Historical and Literary Influences on the Genre Trying to pinpoint the first fictional "private detective" (never mind the first "private eye") is pretty much like nailing two pieces of jello together... during an earthquake. Nonetheless, all the following usual (and maybe occasionally unusual) suspects contributed to the development of the private eye as we now … Continue reading Early Eyes

The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes (Private Detectives & Other Miscreants)

We can go around and around all night about who the first fictional "private detective" was, but most of us, I think, will agree that Sherlock Holmes was the first significant fictional detective -- his 1887 debut was a literary shot heard 'round the world that still reverberates over a hundred and thirty years later. … Continue reading The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes (Private Detectives & Other Miscreants)

Charlie Siringo

(1855 – 1928) A lot of folks have tried to trace the private eye, as we understand it, to the American cowboy myth. While I think it actually goes back further than that, you could certainly make a case if you consider American lawman, detective and bounty hunter, CHARLIE SIRINGO. He's a fascinating character, a real-life frontier … Continue reading Charlie Siringo

Allan J. Pinkerton and the Pinkerton Detective Agency

  To say that Allan J. Pinkerton (1819-1884) lead a colorful life is a little bit of an understatement. In his long and varied career he was called a traitor and a patriot, an outlaw and a police officer, a thug and an idealist, a left-leaning political activist fighting for the plight of the workers and … Continue reading Allan J. Pinkerton and the Pinkerton Detective Agency

This Day in P.I. History

Births, deaths, anniversaries, celebrations and other reasons to celebrate. This is an on-going project, a compilation of dates, anniversaries and holidays of historical interest to readers of this site, that I'm hoping will be updated frequently. Don't be shy -- please tell me what I'm missing... JANUARY JANUARY 1 Novelist and screenwriter Ernest B. Tidyman, the … Continue reading This Day in P.I. History