This book is a great source of information for those wishing to become a PI. However, authors can pick up a lot of tips to make their sleuthing characters more believable and pick up tips about the work of a PI. How it is done and why it matters, Colleen’s book has it all.
— Alice de Sturler, former human rights defender, author, owner Defrosting Cold Cases blog

“As an experienced private detective and a skilled storyteller, Colleen Collins is the perfect person to offer a glimpse into the lives of real female P.I.s”
~Kim Green, managing editor of Pursuit Magazine: The Magazine of Professional Investigators

“SECRETS OF A REAL-LIFE FEMALE PRIVATE EYE is a great resource for anyone writing a female P.I. character, or any P.I. character. Filled with great tips and real-life examples, it helps clarify how things are really done. But it's particularly interesting how the book shows that a female P.I. can have a distinct advantage over a male P.I. in many situations, something for writers to think about.”
~Paul D. Marks, author of the 2013 Shamus winning noir-mystery, White Heat

Book Topics

Secrets of a Real-Life Female Private Eye kicks off with a history of the first female P.I. in the U.S., followed by the advantages and dangers of being a woman in this profession; various tools of the trade; investigative tips; case stories; links to P.I. blogs, online magazines and popular private-eye and crime fiction sites; excerpts from How Do Private Eyes Do That? and How to Write a Dick: A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths; and much more.

Book Excerpt

Some Favorite Sites

Below are a few of my favorite blogs, websites and online magazines, authored by real-life P.I.s or people in associated fields.  I’ve added a few private-eye genre sites as well for those interested in reading about gumshoe writers and stories.

Defrosting Cold Cases: A blog by Alice de Sturler to explore why some homicide cases remain unsolved. Through blogging and innovative use of existing technology, she has been able to get those cases renewed media attention.  Excellent resource for articles, interviews, news and cold case investigations.

Diligentia Group: Run by private investigator Brian Willingham, CFE, who specializes in due diligence, background and legal investigations.  He writes informative articles about the art and business of private investigations. 

Handcuffed to the Ocean: One of our favorite real-life private investigators, also a fiction writer, is Steven Kerry Brown who is one of the writers for this blog. To read Steve’s blogs, click on the “Crime” category. Also check out his nonfiction book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Private Investigating. news: News and articles about private investigations. Authored by Tamara Thompson, a highly respected California private investigator known for her expertise in Internet data gathering, genealogical and adoption research, witness background development and locating people.

Professional Investigator Magazine: Owned by the P.I. team Jimmie and Rosemarie Mesis, two nationally recognized private investigators, this magazine offers articles, resources and products for professional private investigators. In both print and digital, subscribers can order only one magazine or a full subscription. Also check out their investigative products site PIGEAR and their books on investigations at

Pam Beason: Private investigator and writer. From her website: “My books include strong women characters, quirky sidekicks, animals, a dash of humor and big dose of suspense. I love the wilderness, so many of my stories feature wildlife and outdoor adventures.”

Private Eye digital comic book:  Artist Marcos Martin and writer Brian K. Vaughan call this a “forward-looking mystery” featuring a private detective in a futuristic world where privacy is considered a sacred right and everyone has a secret identity.  The price is pay-what-you-can, and they’re planning on publishing 10 issues total.

Pursuit Magazine: What began as an informal e-zine for professional investigators, bail bondsmen, process servers, attorneys, and other security and legal professionals has morphed this past year into “a clearinghouse of information for truth seekers of all stripes, from detectives to journalists.Check it out.

The Rap Sheet: A crime-fiction blog with news about conferences, books, events and more.

Rick Johnson & Associates: Based in Denver, Colorado, Rick Johnson is a seasoned private investigator with decades of experience in the field. He’s also the founder and president of The Private Investigators Academy of the Rockies.

Sequence inc: Tracy L Coenen, CPA and CFF, specializes in forensic accounting and writes informative articles in her blog “The Fraud Files.”

Shaun Kaufman Law: Shaun is a former Colorado private investigator and current lawyer, who has nearly 30 years experience in the justice system trying cases from jaywalking to first-degree murder.  He writes about current legal issues on his blog.

Spencer Elrod Services, Inc. Mike Spencer, one of the principals of the Spencer Elrod Services agency based in Walnut Creek, California, is @SpencerPI on Twitter.  How can anyone resist a P.I. named Spencer?  Although Robert Parker would’ve preferred it spelled with an “s” Virginia Braden, a licensed private investigator based in northern Kentucky, investigates violent crimes and works tirelessly to speak on behalf of victims and to bring their families answers.

The Cold Case Squad: NYPD veteran detective Joe Giacalone’s blog with articles about cold cases, investigations and other related topics. Giacalone is the author of The Criminal Investigative Function: A Guide for New Investigators.

Thrilling Detective website: Kevin Burton Smith if the founder and editor of the most comprehensive website dedicated to the private eye genre on the Internet.


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