Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Detective Fiction — Private Detective vs. Private Eye

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


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Are They Safe is an award winning Private Investigations Agency. We supply private investigators and private detectives throughout London and the UK -