This is the rather long life of the short man with the small ""cold, grey eyes"" who founded the ""Pinks"", provided the North with intelligence service during the Civil War and lived to a successful old age after any number of incredible detections. The author has paid close attention to detail and makes very little use of fictional conversation to carry the biography. After the Scotch immigrant's almost accidental start as a sleuth, the book becomes a series of case episodes that carry their own interest as well as the story of the man. Some of Pinkerton's methods and his brutal addiction to practical joking are reported without comment, but the irony of the agency's involvement with the Molly MacGuires in the light of the founder's start as a refugee Chartist is examined at length. This will find a ready readership who will benefit from sidelights on the times that Pinkerton lived through.