Real-life Detectives to Rival Sherlock in "Brilliant Deduction" from Lyon Hall Press

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"Brilliant Deduction" asks "who are the greatest detectives ever," then attempts to find an answer that doesn't involve fictional characters. The result is eight remarkable individual stories, and a larger narrative of how real-life detectives rose to great fame for nearly 100 years, then fell back into obscurity.

Today, nearly all of history’s real great detectives are forgotten, even as crime drama and mystery stories remain as popular as ever.

Everyone can name a famous detective or two. Sam Spade, Hercule Poirot, Columbo; and, of course, the Baker Street gentleman whose renown surpasses all the others. But the most familiar great detectives are all fictional. What about the real world? Haven’t any real-life detectives ever demonstrated a little greatness of their own?

Indeed they have. Once upon a time some of them were even celebrated far and wide for it. "Brilliant Deduction: The Story of Real-Life Great Detectives," a new history by Matt Kuhns, reintroduces these figures whose lives were every bit as remarkable as the literary figures who have supplanted them. The forty-niner who accidentally detoured into a half-century career as a crime solver. The famous London PI who dazzled Europe with his genius for mysteries, but may have been the biggest mystery of all, himself. The very last of the heroic-era greats, both of whom became legends in their own time for untangling the most complex of crimes, yet ended their careers in curiously similar disgrace.

These men and their peers once filled headlines with their exploits, winning tributes and sometimes stirring controversy, but fascinating the public either way. Today, though, nearly all of history’s real great detectives are forgotten even as crime drama and mystery stories remain as popular as ever. The contrast is something of a mystery, itself. "Brilliant Deduction" attempts to solve that mystery, not only reintroducing individual detectives from the past but putting their stories together into a single epic.

Kuhns says that the question at the heart of "Brilliant Deduction" proved so compelling, he found himself researching a book almost unintentionally. “As I began looking into real-life legendary detectives, their stories proved much more fantastic than I had ever suspected. I was uncovering a whole forgotten history, and wanted to learn more and more of the details. Eventually I realized that a larger story connected them, and that I could tell that story.”

The result hooks the reader with surprising twists and turns, then ties it all together by the end just like any good mystery. The first broad study of famous real-life detectives in decades, "Brilliant Deduction" should instantly find favor with fans of mysteries, true crime, and any thoughtfully written nonfiction.

"Brilliant Deduction" is published by Lyon Hall Press, and available through, as well as and most major online booksellers.

Matt Kuhns lives in Lakewood, Ohio, where he operates a graphic design studio, Modern Alchemy LLC. "Brilliant Deduction" is his first book.

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