Detectives and Investigative Journalists

Detective

“Now I pass up about twenty-five or thirty thousand of honest gain because I like being a detective, like the work. And liking work makes you want to do it as well as you can. Otherwise there’d be no sense to it. That’s the fix I am in. I don’t know anything else, don’t enjoy anything else, don’t want to know or enjoy anything else. You can’t weight that against any sum of money. Money’s good stuff. I haven’t anything against it.” 
― Dashiell HammettThe Big Knockover: Selected Stories and Short Novels

It took me a while to like hard-boiled detective novels. I think I started with The Shadow (the pulp novels) and worked my way up. I still prefer Raymond Chandler to Dashiell Hammett, but Hammett worked for Pinkerton, so he really knew the business. The Continental Op series, which may include Red Harvest are some of the finest detective stories in the business. What Hammett has his character say in The Big Knockover, I think that’s the author also speaking. And that’s what it feels like to be an investigative journalist. The detective and the investigative journo–they both want to do one thing: get past the lies and find the truth. It’s a bonus if you get paid for doing the work. Sometimes, it’s nice to get half up front.

 

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