3 Things to Look for in a Hard-Boiled Detective’s Notebook – The Shamus’ Best Friend

detectives notebookA client’s details, a contacts phone number, a secret code, or hint that leads to purloined gems. Everything a detective holds dear makes its way into the pages of his little black book.

The journal is a receptacle that holds forensic evidence, finger prints, contacts, clues, and any bits of minutia that could mean life or death for the hapless gumshoe.

While any notebook could work (although anything with “Hello Kitty” is frowned upon), a detective’s journal should be rough, worn, and as beaten as the detective himself. It is less an item for athletics and more a product of utility.

It is as much a part of the shamus as their left arm. In addition to being essential, the trusty detective’s notebook has to have some rather specific features….

1) Bullet Proof

A thick hide and a nice, fat, wad of paper inside can be a gumshoe’s best friend. Everything a detective knows is jammed into his notebook. Cleverly placed inside a trench breast pocket, strategically over the heart, can be the difference between life and death.

2) Water Resistance

The life of a shamus is a fickle one! One day is payday and the next someone runs a blackjack over your dome and tosses you into the drink.

Consider also that a shamus spends as much time, if not more, in dark, dank alleys as they do in their office. A PI’s notebook needs to stand against weather and the elements as well as the occasional blood splatter.

3) Easy to Conceal

A detective loses things as often as they find them, partly because of the amount of time they spend in proximity to those pointing guns at them, demanding their secrets. Pockets are turned out, coats are frisked, and searches are initiated.

The clever sleuth can palm his notebook or slip it into a concealed pocket, preserving the important clues, as well as an edge over the competition.

As important as a snub-nose .45, as essential as a flask of cheap booze, a great notebook is a matter of life and death to a detective, in a business where life and death IS the business!


Steven Gomez is a pulp writer in the best (or worst) tradition. You can get his FREE Knockout Noir Novella THE STANDING EIGHT at TheNoirFactory.com.

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