Bug in the Martini Olive and Other True Cases from the Files of Hal Lipset, Private Eye

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9780316371612: Bug in the Martini Olive and Other True Cases from the Files of Hal Lipset, Private Eye

An ex-colleague of private detective Hal Lipset provides a detailed account of Lipset's career, disclosing the strategies he pioneered and describing the crimes he attempted to solve

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Engrossing story of a modern detective, the private eye considered best in the business by his peers. Hal Lipset, who opened his office shortly after WW II, is not only an investigator, but an an eavesdropper nonpareil: The bug in the martini olive was a tiny wireless transmitter (with a toothpick as its antenna) that Lipset displayed before a 1965 Senate subcommittee on eavesdropping. Holt (book editor of the San Francisco Chronicle) is uniquely qualified to tell Lipset's story: In the mid-70's, she worked as an investigator for Lipset, and so he now has opened his case files, meticulously kept for 30 years, to her. Lipset, she tells us, has worked as an investigator for Angela Davis, Huey Newton, the San Quentin Six, and the Soledad Brothers, and was security advisor to the Black Panthers, the United Farm Workers, and the American Indian Movement. Lest he be accused of idealism, other clients included Jim Jones of the People's Temple, Chuck Dederich of Synanon, Werner Erhard of est, the Hare Krishna Society, and the Reverend Moon's Unification Church. Unlike many fictional detectives, Lipset does not care whether the people hiring him are right or wrong, guilty or innocent. ``Judgments belong in a court of law,'' he says. ``Our job is to earn the fee.'' Holt's adroitly written narrative follows a number of cases in detail, and she gives Lipset center stage to explain his private systems for putting together pieces of the lying client jigsaw puzzle, and to detail chases of jewel thieves across Europe, murder investigations, and an expert analysis of the Nixon-altered Watergate tapes. The real deal on private detectives, expertly told. A must- have for true crime fans and other students of human nature. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Holt, book editor of the San Francisco Chronicle , once worked for Lipset, a colorful character who is that city's--and probably the country's--most famous private investigator. She is obviously fascinated by both the man and his life, and a good deal of that fascination is conveyed to the reader as she recounts some of his most celebrated cases, largely using his own words. Lipset began as an investigator in the U.S. Army, and has remarkable stories to tell about wartime criminality in the service which are probably worth a book of their own. Later he became a pioneer in electronic surveillance techniques (Coppola's movie The Conversation was partly a portrait of Lipset), while remaining busy with a variety of cases that range from standard divorce snooping through insurance fraud to catching a jewel thief in Europe. One of the odd things about Lipset is his amoral, apolitical approach to his work: according to him, guilt or innocence is the court's concern, not his; he will work for anyone who pays. All this comes across well in the long excerpts from interviews; but in the end one wishes he had written the book himself, because too much of Holt's linking narrative consists of rather obvious psychological observations and sometimes strained attempts to link Lipset's work with that of famous detectives of fiction.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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