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Cocktail Party Questions - Do you read Mysteries?

This part of our blog will take a lighthearted look at being a private investigator, addressing some of the clichés, fictional accounts and questions we’ve gotten as private investigators. Look for reading lists, recipes, restaurant & coffee shop reviews, tales of derring-do, and well…a few learning experiences. In PI chat rooms, you can often tell when someone is bored, their business is slow, or they’re just not feelin it that day. Because inevitably the talk turns to fictional detectives, be they from novels, TV, Classic or modern films. You can often guess someone’s age from their picks. Of course gadgets, cool cars often play a role in our picks. I’m often amused at the number of PI’s who carry a Walther PPK (James Bond’s handgun of choice). Since the Winter Holidays are just over the horizon we will take a look at some children’s mysteries as well as a couple of adult ones. My parents had one rule for children’s literature; they had to enjoy reading it to us.

For Children

The Big Six by Arthur Ransome

Set in the Norfolk Broads of England, is related to the Swallows & Amazons series, but can be read as a standalone novel. It has makes use of the latest (for its day) technology, flash photography (think gun powder on a palette), and hand prints to identify the real culprits and clear the falsely accused. It is great fun and an excellent example of how common the presumption of guilt is based on mere circumstantial evidence.

For Adults

The Cormoran Strike Series by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

As much as I enjoyed the Harry Potter series, I was bound and determined not to read her mystery series, perhaps in the false hope that if no one bought them she would go back to writing Harry Potter books. But I caved when my flight from Auckland to San Francisco was delayed departing for 2 hours, and now I’m hooked. Her characters are quirky, fun and very human. Some of the protagonist’s sources are not dissimilar from some of the sketchier who are in the periphery of the investigative world.


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