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Pinkerton's Great Detective: The Amazing Life and Times of James McParlandby Beau Riffenburgh
Synopses & Reviews
The story of the legendary Pinkerton detective who took down the Molly Maguires and the Wild Bunch
The operatives of the Pinkertons National Detective Agency were renowned for their skills of subterfuge, infiltration, and investigation, none more so than James McParland. So thrilling were McParlands cases that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle included the cunning detective in a story along with Sherlock Holmes.
Riffenburgh digs deep into the recently released Pinkerton archives to present the first biography of McParland and the agencys cloak-and-dagger methods. Both action packed and meticulously researched, Pinkertons Great Detective brings readers along on McParlands most challenging cases: from young McParlands infiltration of the murderous Molly Maguires gang in the case that launched his career to his hunt for the notorious Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch to his controversial investigation of the Western Federation of Mines in the assassination of Idahos former governor.
Filled with outlaws and criminals, detectives and lawmen, Pinkertons Great Detective shines a light upon the celebrated secretive agency and its premier sleuth.
"This energetic biography sheds light on a master undercover operative for the famed Pinkerton's Detective Agency. The iconic sleuth of his time, first hired by Pinkerton in 1873, McParland made his name (as well as the company's) investigating the Molly Maguires, a secret society of Irishmen whose crimes terrorized the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad. McParland went on to become Pinkerton's western superintendent and oversaw investigations into Butch Cassidy and the Western Federation of Miners. Though the idealized McParland would appear in the stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dashiell Hammett, the man himself proves far more flawed: he perjured himself to assure the sentencing of his victims, and often helped shrewd industrialists exploit an abused labor force. As a result, historians have both revered and lambasted him. Riffenburgh (Shackleton's Forgotten Expedition) takes up the 'conundrum' of McParland's moral character and transforms legal and business records into a cinematic adventure through meticulous research. However, despite the momentum of the Molly Maguires' narrative in the book's first half, the episodes of detection from later in McParland's career are disconnected. Despite these lags, Riffenburgh brings a forgotten rough-and-tumble world to life. Agent: George Lucas, Inkwell Management." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Beau Riffenburgh has a Ph.D. in history from the University of Cambridge, where he was a member of the academic staff. He has written numerous books on exploration, including Shackletons Forgotten Expedition. He lives in Llanarthne, Wales, UK.
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