A how-to manual for those daring and bulldog enough to be their own ""cowboy"" (unlicensed private eye), along with helpful hints and illustrative anecdotes by a veteran investigator. Although this purports to be a manual, only an exceptionally self-disciplined person would do what a hired P.I. does professionally. People involved in sticky infidelities, etc., do not usually have their emotions in tow, and objectivity is the sine qua non of good legwork. There are a number of stories here about people slightly haywire over an errant mate's peccadillos. However, there are many useful techniques in information-gathering and good advice, too, on how to look and talk. Don't expect to find Sam Spade in these pages; what are there, in abundance, are sad and amusing anecdotes, always with a point and not without wisdom. The dark side of our lives often requires the assistance of a real pro. There may be areas where an ordinary Joe can do a few sensible things for himself, but when it comes to pirate taps, ""Johnsons"" (stolen vehicles), ""short eyes"" (child molesters) or nasty affairs of the heart, watch out. Good fun, good sense and a good read. What private eyes are all about--hard work, experience, street smarts and intelligence. There are no wrinkled Burberrys here, no smashed fedoras, but readers will be titillated nonetheless, and even informed.