Oct 7, 2012
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

How to Process a Crime Scene – The Underworld Academy

Welcome to The Underworld Academy!

Underworld AcademyFor our inaugural edition of The Underworld Academy we speak with “Inspector Todd” in Northern California. The good Inspector prefers to remain anonymous, so we at the Noir Factory will respect his wishes.

The “Inspector” has a wide and varied history in law enforcement spanning over twenty five years and has worked with countless crime scenes. I sat down with “The Inspector” yesterday morning and we discussed some of the things that investigators look at when they dissect the scene of a crime.

Noir Factory: Is there a “basic training” of sorts for officers when learning about crime scene procedure?

Investigator Todd: We receive intense investigative training both at the start of our careers and consistently throughout it. On completing their academy training, rookies go through additional training with veteran officers in the field for 12-16 weeks. Afterwards, officers periodically attend training classes to learn new technologies and procedures. They also receive further training when their duties or job roles change. Crime scene procedure is stressed at every level of law enforcement.
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Sep 30, 2012
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

Underworld Academy

Underworld AcademyThe Underworld Academy Is Coming!

Why the Underworld Academy?

Lately when I’ve been watching television shows or reading police procedurals, a number of things jump out. I see DNA markers gathered at crime scenes, no matter where, and processed that same day.

In another show, the police have high-tech hologram computer screen that get instant access to inter-agency data. Still later, we have super-villains that have encyclopedic knowledge of the inner-workings of law enforcement protocols.

I would throw the “B.S.” flag on this… if I had any clue as to what law enforcement and criminals actually did.
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Aug 23, 2012
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

Murder Ink – Murder on Broadway

Murder Ink

Murder Ink – The Grandmother of Mystery Bookstores

For over thirty years the greats lived between 91st and 92nd Streets in New York. Philip Marlowe rubbed shoulders with Nero Wolfe, Mickey Spillane sat beside Dashiell Hammett, and Robert Parker passed the time with Arthur Conan Doyle.

This was no boys club, however. Dame Agatha Christy proudly sat beside Dorothy Sayers, keeping an eye on newcomers like Sue Grafton and Sara Paretsky. And for over thirty years, the mystery community was the better for it.

Murder Ink was the first of its kind; a bookstore specializing in mysteries. Opened in 1972, the store was founded by Dilys Winn, who wrote a novel of the same name. (Mystery Ink: The Mystery Reader’s Companion)
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Aug 3, 2012
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

“Bring ‘Em Back Alive” Frank Buck

frank buckWho was Frank Buck?

In the 1920’s, when pulp magazines ruled the planet, stories of larger-than-life characters were their stock in trade. The heroes were steeped in mystery, intrigue, and danger, and were often globe-trotters, found in settings and plots that most of America could only dream of.

The world of the 20’s and 30’s was immensely larger than it was today, and places like Africa, South America and Asia represented not just foreign cultures, but alien worlds.

For everyday America, the “Orient” represented a culture as different to what they knew as Mars did. Writers of the day, when they needed big characters to interact with mysterious plots, only needed to look as far as the newspaper.

Frank Buck grew up a terrible and mostly absent student in the area surrounding Dallas, Texas. As a boy, he collected birds and small animals, often dreaming of a life of adventure. While he was still a boy he went to work as a cowpuncher, and rode cattle cars to Chicago. Once there, he never looked back.
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Jul 26, 2012
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

Beware The Black Mask

The Black MaskThere’s a feeling you get walking into a newsstand or a drugstore and looking at the magazine rack, and sadly, the feeling is disappearing.

It’s similar to looking at the departure board of a railroad station or the flight schedule of an airport. When you look at row after row of magazines, comic books, and newspapers, it’s almost impossible to keep a smile from crossing your face.

All the magazines ask the same question, but the answer changes all the time.

Where do you want to go today?

In 1920, drama critic George Jean Nathan and legendary critic and journalist H.L. Mencken were hungry, both idealistically and literally. Both men worked and edited Smart Set, a literary magazine that gave up-and-coming writers a chance to put their work in front of a large audience and be discovered.

Smart Set also operated at a staggering loss, and was a labor of love for both Nathan and Mencken. To keep their baby alive, they resorted to putting out sensational pulps such as Parisienne and Saucy Stories to generate enough money to keep Smart Set alive.

In 1920, they decided to go another way, and take some of the best young mystery writers of their day to create a hard-boiled pulp of their own.
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