Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Detective Fiction — Private Detective vs. Private Eye

MURDER WILL OUT: THE DETECTIVE IN FICTION.
By T. J. Binyon.
Oxford University Press.
1989. 176 pages.
Binyon writes:
Though similar superficially, the private detective and the private eye are radically opposed to one another . . . .
Then he compares and contrasts them:
The Private Detective - Rural or urban setting
The Private Eye - Urban setting
The Private Detective - Closed society, with limited number of suspects, who are introduced at the beginning of the narrative 
The Private Eye - Open society, with indefinite number of suspects, who are introduced throughout the narrative 
The Private Detective - Detective is usually hired to solve a crime
The Private Eye - Detective is usually hired to investigate a situation 
The Private Detective - Detective often has an assistant with whom he has a Holmes/Watson relationship
The Private Eye - Detective may have colleagues or a devoted secretary
The Private Detective - Detective basically static: remains in one place to interview suspects
The Private Eye - Detective basically mobile: moves from place to place to interview characters
The Private Detective - Detective and police co-operate
The Private Eye - Detective and police usually antagonists
The Private Detective - Police usually honest
The Private Eye - Police often corrupt
The Private Detective - Little violent action, and confined to the conclusion, if it occurs
The Private Eye - Much violent action throughout narrative
The Private Detective - Organized crime rare
The Private Eye - Organized crime common
The Private Detective - No sex: love interest only between minor characters
The Private Eye - Sex: love interest between detective and client or detective and secretary
The Private Detective - Intake of alcohol normal
The Private Eye - Intake of alcohol excessive
The Private Detective - Third-person or first-person narration by Watson-type figure 
The Private Eye - Usually first-person narration by detective
We would do well to compare Binyon's list with this, and this, as well as this, not to mention this.

Category: Detective fiction

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