The best detectives aren’t who you think.

Everyone can name a famous detective or two. Sam Spade, Hercule Poirot, Columbo; and, of course, the Baker Street gentleman whose renown surpasses all the others. But all of the familiar great detectives are fictional. What about the real world? Haven’t any real-life detectives ever demonstrated a little greatness of their own?

Indeed they have. Brilliant Deduction: The Story of Real-Life Great Detectives reintroduces these figures whose lives were every bit as remarkable as the literary figures who have supplanted them. The forty-niner who accidentally detoured into a half-century career as a crime solver; the famous London P.I. who dazzled Europe with his genius for mysteries, but may have been the biggest mystery of all, himself. These men and their peers once filled headlines with their exploits, winning tributes and sometimes stirring controversy, but fascinating the public either way.

Yet today, nearly all of history’s real great detectives are forgotten, even as crime drama and mystery stories remain as popular as ever. The contrast is something of a mystery, itself. Brilliant Deduction summons witnesses, reviews the evidence and presents its theory of the case, all in entertaining style and witty, lively language. The first broad study of famous real-life detectives in decades, Brilliant Deduction should instantly find favor with fans of mysteries, true crime, and any thoughtfully written nonfiction.