Professional Thieves and the Detective

Found a great book at a garage sale last weekend! By Allan Pinkerton, founder of the famous ‘Pinkerton`s We Never Sleep Detective Agency. It was published in 1880 and is an account of some of his cases. My husband guesses that the book was his retirement project.

It is divided into sections: CRIMINAL SKETCHES – fourteen chapters, LIGHTNING STEALERS AND THE DETECTIVEfifteen chapters, THE EDGEWOOD MYSTERY AND THE DETECTIVE – seventeen chapters, BOOMING LOGS AND THE DETECTIVE – twelve chapters, CRIMINAL REMINISCENCES – five chapters.

The book is a glorious 598 yellowed, occasionally ripped, pages long. Loving it! Samples of the exquisite woodcut illustrations will be coming in future postings.

Bear Burglar

A new consideration in wildlife management. No picture unfortunately. It would have been a good one.

Grand Theft Bear: Colorado critter gets into car, honks horn, then sends it rolling downhill

Published: Friday, July 23, 2010 | 5:01 PM ET

Canadian Press Dan Elliott, The Associated Press

DENVER – A bear got into an empty car, honked the horn and then sent it rolling 125 feet (38 metres) into a thicket, with the bear still inside, a Colorado family said.

Seventeen-year-old Ben Story said he and his family were asleep in their home south of Denver when the bear managed to open the unlocked door of his 2008 Toyota Corolla early Friday and climbed inside.

A peanut butter sandwich left on the back seat is probably what attracted the bear, Story said.

It’s not unusual for bears to open unlocked doors to cars and houses in search of food, said Tyler Baskfield, a spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

“It happens all the time,” he said. “They’re very smart.”

Once inside, the bear must have knocked the shifter on the automatic transmission into neutral, sending the car rolling backward down the inclined driveway and into the thicket, Story said. The door apparently slammed shut when the car jolted to a stop, he said, trapping the bear inside.

Neighbours had called emergency police dispatchers, and deputies freed the bear by opening the door with a rope from a distance. The bear then ran into the woods.

Story said he’ll need a new car because the bear trashed the interior trying to get out.

Mean Streets Made Safe

“But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective in this kind of story must be such a man. He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world. I do not care much about his private life; he is neither a eunuch nor a satyr; I think he might seduce a duchess and I am quite sure he would not spoil a virgin; if he is a man of honor in one thing, he is that in all things. He is a relatively poor man, or he would not be a detective at all. He is a common man or he could not go among common people. He has a sense of character, or he would not know his job. He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him. He talks as the man of his age talks, that is, with rude wit, a lively sense of the grotesque, a disgust for sham, and a contempt for pettiness. The story is his adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. He has a range of awareness that startles you, but it belongs to him by right, because it belongs to the world he lives in.

If there were enough like him, I think the world would be a very safe place to live in, and yet not too dull to be worth living in.”  Raymond Chandler exert from The Simple Art of Murder (1950)

Masked Man

“I got the bill for my surgery. Now I know what those doctors were wearing masks for.”  James H. Boren

Alfred Hitchcock

From that wonder fountain of suspense fiction comes this little mystery gem. Plot pursuers take note: there’s nothing like a good way to dispose of the body.

“There is nothing quite so good as burial at sea. It is simple, tidy, and not very incriminating.” Alfred Hitchcock (English Film Director, 1899 – 1980)