Sunday, July 06, 2008

Raising the dead on the intertubes

Idly searching out online (as you do) a variety of names from the past, I made the mistake of looking up some first cousins I've not seen in many years. No estrangement or anything, just distance and lack of common ground. But I typed one name into a search engine and up came a Facebook photo, and there were my mother's huge hooded blue eyes (which I, annoyingly, did not inherit), disconcertingly set in someone else's face and gazing at me out of the screen.

After I got over the ontological disquiet, the eeriness of the dead brought back to life, and the shock of being gazed upon once more after nine and a half years by the eyes I know best in the world, there was also an infinitely more banal yet equally important issue to consider: the internet is going to put private detectives out of business, and crime fiction will die a nasty, lingering death.

8 comments:

innercitygarden said...

A friend of mine (with video editing skills) used to work for a PI company, they make most of their money doing insurance cases - worker's comp rorts and so on - and the internet wont film people who say their back is too bad to drive actually driving several hours to their favourite fishing haunt. That said, the industry is apparently in the doldrums.

Dysthymiac said...

My favourite netsearch/detection story is the lost microchipped cat one - where it had been lost for 3 years and the RSPCA person just put the owners name into FB and got her instantly.

I hired a PI once. Best money I ever spent - I just laughed and laughed for ages afterward.

You be careful what you Search for dear PCat - you just might get it.

Lefty E said...

That is freaky Pav.

A few years ago I ordered my grandad's war service records. I had never met him; he died a few years before I was born.

I opened it up and saw my younger brother looking at me - in 1940.

TimT said...

Innercitygarden's friend probably worked for the same company I worked for (is s/he from Newcastle, I wonder?) I did reports for them and the internet was the tool of choice for checking car types, street names and spellings for companies. I wonder if there's a Philip Marlowe-style PI actually working in Australia. The reality of detective work is certainly quite removed from the romance that you get in detective novels.

Helen said...

Crime fiction will die a nasty, lingering death

On the staircase. With the blunt end of a champagne bottle. The butler dun it.

Jeeves, on loan from Bertie Wooster's residence for the month said...

The butler dun it.

If you say so, milady, but might I put in that I was not present in the house for the execution (ahem) of that particular plot convention?

Anonymous said...

A mate of mine works as a PI in Adelaide. I caught up with him last ANZAC Day, but I only have a hazy recollection of what he actually does (for the obvious reason). It's mostly insurance work, I believe.

David

Pavlov's Cat said...

My sister used to work for a PI firm and I think that was mostly insurance work as well. Although I do know someone who got a PI to spy on her husband and confirm his full-on affair complete with Love Nest, because she knew that if she confronted him with no undeniable evidence he would simply deny it. Very unsavoury all round.