Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Another year (almost) done

Well, it's just about that time, Dear Reader, where we are done with the Old and welcome in the New.

Good riddance to old rubbish, I say!

However, it's not like I'm feeling any excitement or anticipation of good things to come. Nope, colour me cynical and world-weary if you must, but I sense it's just going to be more of the same for the coming year.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Subject of Complaint

Once again, Dear Reader, I have had a subject of an insurance investigation make certain allegations in regards to my conduct and what I had supposedly stated to him during the course of the investigation.

This isn't the first time he's done so. Not only in regards to myself, but also others he had dealt with in regards to the claims process.

He's even claimed that he has recorded our conversations (without my knowledge or consent, naturally) but has yet to furnish any actual evidence of this. 

The guy is a Class-A douchenozzle, for reasons other than his spurious complaints.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Simple Plan

Well, today's little surveillance case did not go quite according to plan.

The job was rather straightforward enough; I was subbing for another investigator who needed someone on the ground. His client was claiming ongoing harassment from her neighbour - who allegedly has been throwing stones continually at her roof on a daily basis and has, almost literally by the sounds of it, driven her mad.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Ein Kleine Überwachungsmusik

Seriously fitting music for a long rainy night's surveillance in Bad City. Or any city.

Blondes in Trouble: The Accident That Wasn't There

"Do you mind if I smoke"

"It won't affect the test. Alright, I'm going to ask you a series of questions. Just relax and answer them as simply as you can."

Hello there, Dear Reader. Thought I might quickly mention a recent (actually, current) investigation in regards to a somewhat suspect insurance claim concerning an alleged vehicle accident.

Well, I say 'alleged' but there is no doubt that an accident occurred.

The question is whether the accident occured as the claimant has stated.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Do clothes really maketh the Man?

Well, it seems that not everyone is enamoured of my sartorial splendour, such as it is.

In fact, one individual went so far as to recently complain to the insurance company I was working on behalf of in regards to my dress sense.

Personally, I just don't get it.

How does what I choose to wear affect my ability to do my job?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Roger Ebert's Guide to the Film Noir Genre

Credit where credit is due, this was just brought to my attention and I thought worthy of a mention.

So back in 1995, renowned film critic Roger Ebert mused over the Film Noir genre and wrote a short guide.

Personally, I kind of like point 6 (emphasis added), but then again I probably would.

For women: low necklines, floppy hats, mascara, lipstick, dressing rooms, boudoirs, calling the doorman by his first name, high heels, red dresses, elbowlength gloves, mixing drinks, having gangsters as boyfriends, having soft spots for alcoholic private eyes, wanting a lot of someone else's women, sprawling dead on the floor with every limb meticulously arranged and every hair in place.


Sounds about right.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Thoughts on an Exposé

Recently there has been a prominent blogger* disclosing some 'revelations' regarding several political figures' dirty laundry. This blogger, clearly to the far right of the political spectrum, seems to be less interested in even-handedness, and more concerned with deliberately targeting the wrongdoings of those on the political left.

I guess everyone needs a hobby, even one that serves an agenda.

Raymond Chandler's guide to blondes

This quote from Chandler's The Long Goodbye was sent to me a few days ago. I swear I know a couple of these women but, sadly, not as many as I would like.

“There are blonde and blondes and it is almost a joke word nowadays. All blondes have their points, except perhaps the metallic ones who are as blonde as a Zulu under the bleach and as to disposition as soft as a sidewalk. There is the small cute blonde who cheeps and twitters, and the big statuesque blonde who straight-arms you with an ice-blue glare. There is the blonde who gives you the up-from-under look and smells lovely and shimmers and hangs on your arm and is always very, very tired when you take her home. She makes that helpless gesture and has that goddamned headache and you would like to slug her except that you found about the headache before you invested too much time and money and hope in her. Because the headache will always be there, a weapon that never wears out and is as deadly as the bravo’s rapier or Lucrezia’s poison vial.

There is the soft and willing alcoholic blonde who doesn’t care what she wears as long as it is mink or where she goes as long as it is the Starlight Roof and there is plenty of dry champagne. There is the small perky blonde who is a little pale and wants to pay her own way and is full of sunshine and common sense and knows judo from the ground up and can toss a truck driver over her shoulder without missing more than one sentence out of the editorial in the Saturday Review. There is the pale, pale blonde with anemia of some non-fatal but incurable type. She very languid and very shadowy and she speaks softly out of nowhere and you can’t lay a finger on her because in the first place you don’t want to and in the second place she is reading the Wasteland or Dante in the original, or Kafka or Kierkegaard or studying Provencal. She adores music and when the New York Philharmonic is playing Hindesmith she can tell you which one of the six bass viols came in a quarter of a beat too late. I hear Toscanini can also. That makes two of them.

And lastly there is the gorgeous show piece who will outlast three kingpin racketeers and then marry a couple of millionaires at a million a head and end up with a pale rose villa at Cap d’Antibes, and Alfa Romeo town car complete with pilot and co-pilot, and a stable of shopworn aristocrats, all of whom she will treat with the affectionate absentmindedness of an elderly duke saying good night to his butler.”

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Work in Progress

Like pretty much every other Private Investigator in existence, I entertain the notion of writing a novel.

Yep, sorry.

Actually, the desire to practice writing actually led me to start this blog, so in some ways you have only yourselves to blame.

Be that as it may, I actually have written a number of 'scenes' or vignettes, if you prefer, with the idea of (eventually) stringing them together in some coherent manner that tells a meaningful story.

I even have most of the meta-plot figured out, which surely has to count for something? Shame I haven't done much actual writing in a while.

But that is about to change. Time to get back on the horse and finish what I have started.

Anyway, in lieu of something more investigatory-related, here is one of said vignettes for your appraisal and critique.

PS: it's about a down-and-out PI.

Fiction, I tell you.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Bullshit Files: 'Psychic' didn't see guilty verdict coming

It always gladdens my heart to see the truly deserving get what's coming to them and, in this case, Sylvia Mitchell (her real name) has been found guilty of defrauding two women out of $138,000.

You can read the full article here

Oh, Sylvia, did you not see this dark cloud looming over your own future?

Guess not.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Nothing to see here

Girls, Whiskey, and Cigars

Three things I'm pitifully short of.

Truth be told, I'm not really all that fond of whiskey anyway so no loss there.

However, these are supposedly the staple of the lone gumshoe - according to decades of propaganda - and I'm left wondering where it all went wrong?

You had me at "betray your country", Anna

Seems former Russian spy, Anna Chapman, had recently made the news after her July 03 tweet "Snowden, will you marry me?!" to which there has been no response.

Chapman refused to be drawn into an explanation with NBC reporter Michael Engel and promptly terminated the interview.

You're a lucky man, Engel, she might just have terminated you instead.

However, if the position is still open, I would just like to state that I would willingly betray any national secrets I may, or may not, possess. 

Surely that has to count for something?

Just sayin'.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

PIs in Fiction: Robert Bogerud

It's not easy to be 28 year old detective Robert Bogerud. He is the only detective in the country with Downs syndrome. He has own office, a trench-coat and a Bogart-hat. He is ready - all he needs is his first case.

I kid you not.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

More things that really get my goat...

You know, Dear Reader, sometimes we PIs find ourselves in fairly unusual circumstances.

Something we probably didn't have in mind for later when we first got up that morning. 

I had a day like that yesterday.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Review: Monsieur Notebook

Hooray for free stuff, Dear Reader! Today I received my eagerly anticipated Monsieur Notebook for review.

It is the A6 (11 x 14.5cm) plain notebook in black. 192 pages.

In one word: fairlyfuckingawesome!

However, let's take a closer look inside...

Monday, September 09, 2013

PI Toolbox: Visualising Relationships & Networks

Hello Dear Reader. Today I thought I might share a couple of tools that you might find useful in regards to mapping out relationships and networks in regards to investigations.

While IBM's i2 platform is arguably the king of intelligence analysis software, the pricing is also princely. There are a few contenders to the throne (Palantir, Sentinel Visualizer, Wynyard Investigator to name but a few) some of which are focused on particular niches - such as total investigations case management coupled with an intelligence analysis suite to seek hidden information and linkages.

And naturally, they all come with hefty pricetags.

However, if you just want to map out information manually, and don't specifically need the deeper analysis functionality, there are a couple of free (or almost free) options out there.

The price is certainly right.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Book Review: Intelligence and Private Investigation

Well, Dear Reader, I try to stay true to my word - except when I'm deliberately lying of course (not that I'd ever lie to you) - so here is that  promised review of "Intelligence and Private Investigation - Developing Sophisticated Methods for Conducting Inquiries", edited by Hank Prunkun, PhD.

Sadly, I came away slightly disappointed.


Monday, August 26, 2013

More Gang Stalking Madness!

So there I was, Dear Reader, on a routine insurance case where I had to interview an individual involved in a single-vehicle motor accident along a straight stretch of road late one night.

But this isn't about that.

My destination was only about an hour's drive from Bad City, not that far out. It was a miserable grey day with intermittent showers and a cold breeze. One of those days when you don't really want to get out of your vehicle unless you really had to.

I took a back-roads route, off the well-travelled highway. It was a better drive, in my opinion, and one of my favourites.

Then I noticed something strange. A number of vehicles I had passed going the other way, and there weren't all that many of them to begin with, had one headlight out.

And as we know, vehicles with only one working light are symbolic of organised gangstalking.

Is that what this was? Am I now a victim of the very thing I mocked earlier?

This Just In: Intelligence and Private Investigation

This morning's other nice surprise was receiving my recently ordered copy of "Intelligence and Private Investigation: Developing Sophisticated Methods for Conducting Enquiries" edited by Hank Prunkun, PhD.

Quite a title.

I purchased this after a heads-up from Hal Humphries over at Pursuit Magazine, who promised a review...

Still waiting, Hal.

Like I can talk.

Anyway, I'll get around to doing a review of my own as soon as I've had a chance to thoroughly read it. In the meantime, you can sneak a view of what's inside over at Amazon.

Having said that, I think I still owe you another review.

Shameless Product Placement: Monsieur Notebooks

As you should know by now, Dear Reader, I have a thing for notebooks. A compulsion that drives me - an urge that cannot be satiated.

Must. Have. More. Notebooks.

Moleskine, Leuchtturm, or some unnamed knock-off - I've gone through them all. And none of them have quite filled all my, quite specific, notebookery needs.

Well, enter a new contender.

I received an email this morning from Tom (probably his real name) informing me of the upcoming launch of Monsieur Notebooks.

They've even offered me a sample for review. That's a first!

Anyway, judging from the content of their website, I'm already excited by the prospect given that notebooks can be customised from a range of options or even created from scratch with their bespoke service.

Naturally, I've replied to Tom kindly accepting his offer and will gladly post a thorough review once I get my hot and sweaty hands on said product.

Lastly, here is a video on their coming launch.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Anatomy of a (Mostly Successful) Follow

I had a big day recently, Dear Reader, on a surveillance case following a subject from the only location we knew where she would be at within a particular timeframe.

The mission was to obtain a visual ID on her and commence with the follow to determine where she was staying and whether or not she was meeting anyone else. 

The Client prepared a detailed brief along with supplying photographs of the Subject and possible Third Party.

And this was my very first client-set value-based billing case.

So how did it go?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

No names, no pack-drill

You know how it goes.

I would have updated the blog sooner but I've been unavoidably detained by a number of real-world issues that have kept me otherwise occupied. It has been a hectic few weeks and I'm glad that it is now (mostly) behind me.

No doubt a few of you will surmise I have been away on some NWO-sanctioned black bag op against your fellow citizens and to that I can only tender the following video for your edutainment.

For the rest of you, those who aren't barking mad, expect a few more posts of an investigative nature over the next few days.

As you were.

Monday, July 22, 2013

(Not quite) the Rockford Files redux

It is true, Dear Reader, that there has been a change in my personal circumstances where in a short week from now I shall be homeless.

Well, half-homeless.

I have secured a caravan (or trailer as the Americans put it) as I did a couple of years back, which will do temporarily until I find something a little more suitable, and permanent.  

Thursday, July 11, 2013

In other news...

Well, Dear Reader, there's no danger of me going out there and getting a so-called 'real job' just yet.

Once again, my tender hopes to be a respectable and contributing member of society were cruelly crushed. To add insult to injury, I didn't even rate an interview for a position I am most suitably qualified and experienced for.

I'd like to say I'm not one to hold a grudge... but yes, that's exactly the kind of guy I am.

Some people say you shouldn't take these things personally but they don't get much more personal that this.


Thank you

One Dear Reader, not mentioning any names here, kindly donated to the buy-a-struggling-PI-a-coffee fund.

Mmmmmm... coffeee.

Anyone else feeling generous can also do the same buy hitting the button on the upper right.

It qualifies for your one good deed for the day requirement.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

How much would you pay...?

I've been thinking - which is never a good sign because it usually means things are getting desperate - that there has to be a different (and maybe even better) way of doing things.

Recently, Brian Willingham wrote a piece over in Pursuit Magazine titled 'A Slave to the Billable Hour' and it has rekindled an idea I had a while ago.

Value-based billing.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Nice work if you can get it

Well, Dear Reader, the winds of change may be a-blowin' if  things go my way.

Which they won't.

But if for some reason, and against all odds, they do, I may be a down-and-out Private Investigator no longer and actually find myself in gainful employment.

Yep, working for the man.

Doing what, you might ask?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

PIs in fiction: Hank Dolworth and Britt Pollack

It was a terrible crime.

A crime that the 2010 series "Terriers" was canned after just one season.

Hank Dolworth and Britt Pollack (played by Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James, respectively) are unlikely duo of unlicenced PIs in Southern California, fighting the good fight.

Mostly within the law.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Don't Ask

Well, Dear Reader, just when I thought things couldn't get much worse, they took a turn for the predictable.

Have I mentioned how much I hate tyre-kickers and timewasters?

I think I might have. Once or twice.

Enter Hazel, not her real name. Actually I have no idea what her name is at the moment, it has changed twice already in our communications.

Hazel is trying to pump me for advice and information under the guise of being a 'potential client'. Except that I know there will never be any work and, more importantly, dollars coming my way from the elusive and mysterious Hazel.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Is 'Gang Stalking' a real phenomenon?

Now THAT's a surveillance van..

...as Crocodile Dundee might say, if he were a PI.

Apologies for the laxity in updates but I've been a busy man; busy feeling sorry for myself - which is almost a full-time occupation in itself although, to be fair, not all that rewarding.

Well, you only have yourselves to blame. Apart from the occasional "Winning Lottery" notification, or a very nice email from the Solicitor of some former dead politician in Niger offering me a lot of money, my inbox has been rather quiet of late. You could make an effort to flick me a line, even if just to tell me how crap I am.

It's a two-way thing, you know. Communication.

About that surveillance van in the photograph, though. That harks back to when we PIs were cool and could get a table in any restaurant in town.

Unlike now, apparently.  

Anyway, it belonged to the (in)famous Hollywood gumshoe, Fred Otash, whose exploits you can read about further here.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Psychic dead wrong. Again.

So it's all the news at the moment that 'Spiritual Teacher and Psychic' Sylvia Browne wrongly predicted that Amanda Berry was dead, back in 2004, on a US TV show.

Browne's comment in regards to the recent events?

"Only God is right all the time."

Good point, Sylvia. Well, if you can't be right ALL the time, just how many times can you be?

Apparently never.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Monday WTF Files: The man who sold the Emperor new clothes

This might seem a little out of place here, not being about investigations per se, but I think it is of general interest to those involved in the security industry.

James McCormick has been jailed for 10 years for selling his modern-day version of snake oil in the form of the contains-no-actual-working-parts ADE651 Bomb Detector (and previous models) to such tranquil and trouble-free locales as Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan,Thailand and others.

Not after raking in some £55million though.

(No) Money No Problem

I should have known better.

When a mysterious and exotic woman comes to you, whispering of riches and intrigue, you know it's never going to be that easy or go as expected.


Friday, April 05, 2013

An improbable tale from Mr Moon

You may have heard of the apocryphal "black dog" story, Dear Reader, where some schmuck provides the unlikley explanation that the vehicle accident he was involved in was the result of having to swerve to avoid some stray animal on the road (in this case that pesky black dog).

Well, I never really believed that people actually would try this exceptionally lame-sounding excuse out.

Until now.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

In the the new, out with the old...

So, Dear Reader, you might recall I was feeling a little hurt because I had been described as 'rough-looking'... Well, turns out he might have been right!

You see, one of my favourite pieces of kit is my 5.11 Tactical Covert Vest which allows me to cram all kinds of toys tools into its myriad pockets.

The problem is that this has been my favourite piece of kit for almost 8 years and it was starting to look decidedly shabby. Worse, holes were appearing and things had a tendency to just fall out.

Um, yeah, I really was that rough-looking guy.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Threats, paranoia, and sartorial style

This morning I received a call from Tony*, a client for whom I have done a few jobs previously. You can read about the first time here, which should give you some kind of indication as to the problems Tony has been having.

Tony has a small contracting company, TWA*. Given the nature of the industry, finding suitable employees has been a bit of a challenge for Tony, and some of his hiring decisions made have come back to haunt him - particularly when his erstwhile employees have been stealing from the company or the clients.

Just the day before I had backed Tony up in a carpark meeting with another recently-fired employee. Tony said he wanted me there to 'document the proceedings' but I think he really wanted me there if the proverbial shit hit that fan since there had been threats.

It didn't. At least not right then.

So then I received that phone call from Tony, clearly nervous...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Surprise! Or maybe not...

Seems like I'm always the last to know but about a year ago Forbes published an article on the 10 most surprisingly low-paying jobs

Compiled from data sourced from the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, Forbes determined that to make the list the average pay of employees had to be under US$50,000 per annum yet commonly perceived as being more lucrative than in actuality.

Private investigators made the list.

Of course the criteria for selection were entirely subjective and based on what the writers thought the various occupations were worth. Ironically, and yet somewhat satisfyingly, reporters also made the list.

Perhaps someone at Forbes was angling for a pay rise?

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

The Informant

I heard her before I saw her. 

Her heels on the cobblestones sharp in the otherwise muted sounds of another fog-shrouded night at the docklands.      

Click clack, click clack.

I checked my watch one last time; ten to midnight. Right on schedule. A solitary dark figure loomed out of the mist ahead of me and stopped, one hand hidden from view in her coat pocket. 

"Are you the dick?" she asked.

That's never how it happens.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Coming right up after this message from our Sponsors*...

Not really a shameless product placement (yet) - just a heads-up that I recently ordered a copy of Becnel & Krischke's "Principles of Investigative Documentation" and it's shipped.

Looking forward to getting this and will post a review as soon as I can.

But while you are waiting, check out the review from Diligentia. You might note that I posted a comment back in early 2012 but have only purchased the book now. What gives?

Actually, I totally forgot the name of the book and where I'd read the review.

I'm good, not fucking perfect!

* Still looking for those elusive sponsor-types who might want to shower me with gadgets and books for review, in-the-field testing, or otherwise because it's my birthday and/or I'm just awesome. Make that Awesome! With a capital A. And it's not my birthday, but it could be. So if you would like to be equally as Awesome, flick me an email

Monday, February 25, 2013

Black as midnight on a moonless night

Pretty black then.

I am referring, of course, to that investigator's staple - coffee. And a reminder that it is "International Buy a PI a Coffee Day 2013" on Saturday 16 March.

As Agent Dale Cooper once said: "I still can't get the taste of fish-filtered coffee out of my mouth."


Quick Reviews: 'Uncovering Reasonable Doubt" & "Forensic Testimonial Evidence Recovery"

Hello Dear Reader. Some time ago I purchased two texts by Brandon A. Perron in regards to Criminal Defence Investigations: "Uncovering Reasonable Doubt: the Component Method" and "Forensic Testimonial Evidence Recovery: the FTER Method".

It kind of makes sense to review them together as the books complement each other in a number of ways.

So what did I think?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Eating Man Sighted!

Dear Reader, I am pleased to announce that at 1402hrs this afternoon, the elusive Eating Man was captured on film outside his natural habitat.

This momentous, and rare, sighting has given researchers more to puzzle over as the Eating Man was seen to converse with cafe staff nearby, enquiring as to what ingredients were in a particular tasty food product.

The Eating Man had previously thought to have been a mute species, unable to communicate effectively.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Reducing Paperwork, Increasing Efficiency

I'm going to share a tip about a tool I am currently using to help reduce the amount of actual paperwork I have to deal with.

While I don't believe it is possible to go entirely paperless (nor is it necessarily entirely desirable), I do like the idea of real-time reporting directly to clients as a means of both efficiency as well as cutting back on the time I spend on admin after I'm done for the day.

Considering Insurance Fraud?

I know, Dear Reader, I am breaking my own rule and commenting on a currently active investigation but this is one, I think, you will appreciate.

If you are going to make an insurance claim, particularly in  unusual circumstances, it's best that you cover all your bases and check your facts lest something seemingly insignificant trip you up.  

Take Mrs Summers (not her real name), for example, who awoke one fine morning to discover her beloved vehicle had been apparently stolen and damaged in some gratuitous joy-riding, then courteously returned by the thieves.

Yep, somewhat unlikely, I thought to myself.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Quick Review: Canon IXUS 510 HS

Hello Dear Reader. Today I thought I'd quickly rate a recent purchase: the Canon IXUS 510 HS.

I really needed to get a simple point-and-shoot camera as using the one on my phone wasn't cutting the mustard, particularly when taking close-up snaps of IDs or even routine pics in insurance claims investigations.

I wanted somethings small, easy to use, and relatively inexpensive.

A couple of weeks on, what do I think?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Eating Man Phenomenon

I would like to share a bit of a tale from my observations of the activities and movements of a person whom I have dubbed "The Eating Man" over the past few years.

He is called thus because virtually all sightings of this mysterious individual involve him in the process of stuffing his face.

Hence the Eating Man...

But that's not the story. No, this is a tale of shifting paradigms and making conclusions based on faulty assumptions. And being surprised.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A (not so) wonderful day

Ever have one of those days where everything just goes according to plan, good results at every turn, and nothing unexpected ever happens?

As a general rule, I don't, but for just a moment thought I was having one.

Of course, I was wrong.

Friday, January 18, 2013

PIs on TV: Kalinda Sharma

Okay, so she's an investigator for a law firm rather than in a private capacity but, in this particular case, I'm prepared to make an exception.

And it's not those smouldering eyes, the misandry (even misanthropy), or the short skirts and boots.

Although they help.

Why so ronery?

An encounter with Mrs Kim Jung Il (might not be her real name but it fits) has really managed to piss me off today.


She was given my details from the Family Court in regards to serving her divorce papers. So far so good. I agreed to come pick them up in person, something I usually do, and she wanted to meet right away in a part of Bad City that wasn't all that close to my current location.

No problem, I said. I'll make my way there forthwith.

Wish I never bothered!