Detective fashion

Posted by Matt Kuhns on May 5, 2013

I’m hardly an expert on fashion, either modern or historical. But I have given some thought to how it relates to the great detectives of my book, particularly after receiving one remarkable comment on the cover from a good friend: “Wait a second — I’m looking at their ties!  Holy crap — the first guy looks like 1820 – 1830s.  Then a civil-war era guy — then a 1880s – 1890s guy — then the last one from the 1930s or 40s?  Wow — quite the time range.”

This was one of those moments that remind you people how much people can surprise you, even after you’ve known them for years. I have no idea where it came from, but he just nailed it, without any background about the book’s content, from these photos alone:

Portraits from front cover of Brilliant Deduction

Right to left: Vidocq (prominent in the 1820s); Allan Pinkerton (prominent around the Civil War); William Burns (prominent in the 1890s); Ellis Parker (prominent c. 1930)

For my part, I hadn’t even consciously intended to arrange these portraits in a chronological order, or even realized that I had done so. Still, the discovery that four at least of the great detectives were very much men of their time in terms of style made quite a bit of sense upon thinking about it.

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