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Corporate Spies Must Toe the Line

Private investigators don’t do what Hollywood would have you think they do. Not legally, at least. They can’t smack people around, like Sam Spade did in The Maltese Falcon, or sneak into crime scenes, like Philip Marlowe did in the Big Sleep. As a grateful dame remarked to Dashiell Hammett’s hardboiled gumshoe, the Continental Op, he was seen as “a monster. A nice one, an especially nice one to have around when you’re in trouble, but a monster just the same.” Hammett and Chandler make for far more entertaining reading than the dry statutes and standards that licensed private investigators are obliged to abide by, and so maybe it shouldn’t be so surprising when someone in the business acts as if they were in a pulp novel.

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