In general, private investigators are regular citizens with varying degrees of law enforcement training—or they should have such training—who are hired to snoop around and get the dirt on something or someone e.g. hired by attorneys in civil and criminal cases, by insurance companies to check into claims, and in divorce cases to see who has been stepping out and with whom, especially when money, property, and child custody are at stake (a solid pre-nup before the I-do’s would mitigate against that). Thanks to tailor-suited Wall Street sociopaths like Madoff, Stanford, Rothstein et al, and the popular, corrosive Ponzi scheme, P.I.’s are also now being called on to check if an investment is legit before cold cash changes hands. And thanks to globalization, P.I.’s no longer fit the Ellery Queen / Magnum PI models.
Forget the magnifying glass. Today they’re more like your local retired-police officer, neighborhood computer geek/hacker, or in Roger’s case, law school drop-out.
Enter Barbados—a balmy little island in the Caribbean Sea, long on history and strong in industry, culture and white coral beaches. No real excitement for a private investigator here, right?
There’s the high-end ex-patriot population, mostly wanting to kick back and keep their mega yachts, mansions, bucks and babes on the ‘down low’. Then they’re the locals -- laid-back but shrewd and more wryly cynical than star-struck by the glitz. Hounding someone for an autograph is ‘tacky and tasteless'—but don’t think for a moment that someone doesn’t know what’s really going on. On the surface, Roger’s island is as balmy as the climate. And underneath, the next scandal is already brewing. And thanks to easy technology and local private investigation networks with worldwide tentacles,"hiding out in Bim (our affectionate local moniker) where no one will find you" no longer works.
My guy, local P.I. Roger Gooding, isn’t one of the multi-tower big boys, however. No, he’s a one-man show tolerated by local law enforcement (barely). But with his nose to the ground, in between getting into and out of scrapes, he gets the job done. And he’s licensed to do it. (Becoming an ‘official’ PI varies by country and within country. In UK, there’s no specific license but there’s plenty training available. In some US states it isn’t licensed while in others it is licensed and regulated with certificate courses offered at university level. In Australia, one must be specifically trained and licensed.)
And to think the profession was started by a criminal! Back in 1833, Eugène François Vidocq, a French soldier and criminal himself founded the first known private detective agency and hired fellow ex-convicts! Official law enforcement tried many times to shut him down but it never took. Instead, Vidocq is credited with introducing record-keeping, criminology and ballisticsto criminal investigation....and Roger certainly understands the need to overlook some…character flaws, shall we say…to catch the real bad guy, all in the name of the greater good.