Ironically, the Private Investigator is a staple of the murder mystery genre. In real life, the PI almost never works a murder investigation. That job is left to professional police forces. But whether their goal is truth, justice, the American Way or putting bread on the table, the PI can still get involved in your mystery through a lot of ways.
- A friend or family member may retain your PI’s services after an initial homicide investigation has hit a dead end.
- Search for a missing person – especially if police believe that person is voluntarily missing. When that person is found dead, the PI is now heavily involved.
- Skip traces – and not just persons who take off after making bail, but subcontractors who take initial payment for construction work then disappear or runaway teens. Whether the skip is found dead or is a suspect in another murder, the PI is now on the case.
- An attorney may hire a PI to find someone who witnessed a crime, or find a witness who has disappeared. Again, it brings the PI’s involvement in through the back door.
- An insurance agency may hire a PI to research the circumstances of an accident that led to a large payout, especially when arson is involved. Of course, this leads the PI to getting involved with the suspect.
- An embittered spouse may hire a PI to prove a loved one’s infidelity. It’s the oldest plot in the book, but can still put the PI on the murder trail.