The Model Town and The Detectives. Byron as a Detective [Autographed by Robert A. Pinkerton].
The Model Town and The Detectives. Byron as a Detective [Autographed by Robert A. Pinkerton].
The Model Town and The Detectives. Byron as a Detective [Autographed by Robert A. Pinkerton].

The Model Town and The Detectives. Byron as a Detective [Autographed by Robert A. Pinkerton].

Written by detective and spy Allan Pinkerton, founder of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency—“The Pinkertons”


The Model Town and The Detectives is a collection of three short stories about crime and its detection by Allan Pinkerton (1819–1884), noted Scottish-American private detective and spy. This copy has a presentation inscription from Pinkerton’s son and successor, Robert Allan Pinkerton (1848–1907).

The inscription reads in full: “Comr. Frank Stott with compliments of Robt. A. Pinkerton.” Francis Horatio “Frank” Stott (1832–1900), the son of a woolen mill owner in Stottsville, Columbia County, New York, was for many years the “Commodore” of the Atlantic Yacht Club of Brooklyn.

After the death of his father, Robert A. Pinkerton and his twin brother, William, became co-directors of their father’s detective agency, the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.

The first story, bearing the same title as the book, is fictionalized tale of detectives in the 1850s based on true events. The other stories are “Byron as a Detective” and “The Life of a Detective.” The former recounts the curious story of one Augustus Stuart Byron, who claimed to be the son of the poet Lord Byron, and how Allan Pinkerton arrested him for deliberately causing a railroad train to derail so that Byron and an accomplice could rob money from the mail on board.

Allan Pinkerton emigrated from Scotland to the United States in 1842. Moving to Chicago in 1850, he investigated counterfeiting for the U.S. Treasury Department, mail theft at the Chicago post office, and railroad theft, the latter involving an elaborate spy system. At this time, Pinkerton set up a private police force which later became known as the Pinkerton National Detective Agency—popularly called “The Pinkertons.” Pinkerton’s motto, “We Never Sleep,” along with an image of an eye is stamped in gilt on both the upper cover and spine of of the book.

Pinkerton’s spying for the federal government continued during the Civil War. Notably, he foiled an assassination attempt against President-elect Abraham Lincoln. Pinkerton is also noted for his controversial work in infiltrating the secret Irish-American fraternity, The Molly Maguires, and for policing labor strikes. Pinkerton agents also helped to search for and kill such Wild West outlaws as Jesse James and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

According to American National Biography (ANB), “To tap into the popular ‘yellow book’ publications glamorizing the exploits of detectives, and at the same time correct many misrepresentations, [Allan] Pinkerton published sixteen detective books between 1874 and 1884. Some were matter-of-fact ‘true detective stories,’ which retold past cases, while others were not stories at all but descriptions of various crimes and criminals. Like Pinkerton’s detective activities, his literary efforts were a cooperative endeavor—different authors under his supervision put his memories on paper.”

The Model Town and The Detectives is the fourth title in Allan Pinkerton’s series, Great Detective Books.


Description: The Model Town and The Detectives. Byron as a Detective [Autographed by Robert A. Pinkerton].

New York: G.W. Carleton & Co., Publishers, MDCCCLXXXI [1881]. Frontispiece, [i]–x, [11]–288pp. + Illustration plates. Sm. 8vo. Publisher’s illustrated green cloth, stamped in gilt and blind. Inscribed on preliminary leaf by author’s son, Robert A. Pinkerton. Very minor wear at extremities; small mark on spine; frontispiece sprung with some minor chipping; one plate with short closed tear at fore-edge; otherwise, very good.

[3726639]

Price: $75.00