The Battle of the Sexes Meets Two Private Investigators

              Welcome to the pre-St. Valentine's Day                  Battle of the Sexes - PI style! 

Who's the toughest Private Investigator, Ginger "Gin" Caulfield, or Benny Cahill? Both are excellent investigators written by outstanding authors. To help you decide, we peppered both the characters and the authors with some tough questions to determine which PI would win the Battle of the Sexes. There is a link at the bottom of the page to a brief survey. Place your vote, and the first 100 people to respond to each survey will be entered in a drawing to win the latest novel of the author for whom they voted, so make sure to enter the correct email address! Winners will receive either the paperback of Hedge Bet or the ebook version of Trouble is My Client. Winners will be announced next Tuesday!


We'll let the characters introduce themselves. Ladies first.

Hi, I’m Gin Caulfield. G.B. Pool asked me to answer these “Toughest PI Questions,” since I’m a private detective in one of her detective series. I came along before her Johnny Casino character, so I guess I have a few more miles under my belt. And I’m the one who trained Johnny, so half of what he knows, I taught him. Sorry, Johnny. Age before beauty, handsome.

Alright, let's get this over with. My rent ain't going to pay its self. My name is Benny Cahill. I'm a PI in a big, bad city. This writer, John Paul Wohlscheid, asked me to answer these questions about whose the toughest PI, but we already know who that is. The kid likes to call himself my "biographer". I guess it sounds better than "writer". To me, he's a pain in the butt. Excuse me, if I'm a little short, but I just spent the last two days playing nursemaid to a new PI named Solomon Strong, while we tailed a mark. I'm sure you'll learn about it soon enough. Now. let's get to the questions. I running out of coffee.

And now, for the questions.

What is the stickiest situation your detective has ever had to get out of?

 I’d say the stickiest situation in a book came along in my latest case, Damning Evidence. It had me thinking that I just might have run out of options. It started when I discovered a body up by a local dam. The main suspect hired me to prove his innocence. I went searching for clues to the real killer and found something that changed everything and it almost cost me my life and maybe the lives of hundreds of others.

Does being stuck on a boat between an armed gangster and his armed thug count? When the smoke cleared, they were both dead. And I was unarmed. Never a good thing.

Who is the most dangerous criminal your character has faced, and what made him/her so dangerous?

The most dangerous criminal I ever faced? That’s easy. Anybody who wants to kill you is dangerous, but one with power can really ruin your day. In Hedge Bet, I thought I knew who I was after when an acquaintance turned up dead at the racetrack, only to find out the hard way I was missing a piece of the puzzle And what made the killer so dangerous? The killer knew who I was and was waiting for me.

I've had to deal with quite a few gangster since I got home from the war. For worst gangster I've dealt with so far, there's a tie between Tom Branigan and Frank Cassidy. One sent a sniper to kill me and the other sent his goons to iron out my skull.

What is your detective's weapon of choice and why?

I have no problem carrying a gun… or two. I often do. But sometimes I’m in a situation where I can’t use a gun or I don’t have a gun with me. What do I rely on then? My brain.
I usually carry a rod. I own couple different ones, so it depends which one I grab that day. Sometimes it's the Luger and sometimes it's the Colt Police Special. But my weapon of choice is my fists because they are silent and don't need to be reloaded.

Does your private eye work alone, or does he or she have help?

When I first started out in the biz, I worked for another agency. I did undercover jobs and worked alone. Now that I have my own agency, I occasionally rely on another member of my staff to do some of the legwork. My husband, Fred, often gets roped into doing small jobs like bringing a Mexican firecracker back across the border in Hedge Bet. He had a few choice things to say about that. I hired a capable trainee quite a few years ago, mostly to save him from getting into serious trouble. He went on to start his own agency. His name is Johnny Casino. You can read about our first meeting in The Johnny Casino Casebook 1- Past Imperfect. Or when he first worked for me in The Johnny Casino Casebook 2 – Looking For Johnny Nobody. But now that I am getting older, I want to bring on a full-time partner. I know who he is: my husband. Wait until I tell him about it… in a forthcoming book.

I'm not Superman, I can't do everything myself. My biggest helper is a barfly named Mickey Jakes. Jakes used to be a top investigative reporter until he decided to dig through the mobs dirty laundry. It wasn't too long before the fixed his little red wagon. He still has a bunch of contacts around town, so I tap him when I need help with a case.

Do the police help or hinder your character?

That depends on the cop. In real life, cops give P.I.s some leeway. If you screw up once, they’ll give you a pass. But don’t let them catch you a second time. So far, that has worked. I do have a couple of cop friends who have backed me up a few times in both Hedge Bet and Damning Evidence. But there are one or two cops I wouldn’t turn my back on.

I mainly deal with two detectives: Lieutenant. Brady Summers and Lieutenant Crowley. Summers is a good cop and I generally get along with him. But Crowley’s another story. As soon as I show up on a case, he works overtime to make me fit the crime. I don't think he likes me.

Who was your toughest client and why?

You ask who was my toughest client? Donald Delvecchio from my Hedge Bet case, because the idiot married somebody less than 24-hours after his wife was killed. My quote: “Are you out of your freaking mind? Marrying somebody before you even buried your wife! Do you want me to save your butt or direct traffic to your hanging?”

I've dealt with quite a few gangsters in my time. Before that, I helped kick the Nazis out of Europe. But none of those scared me like Mother Mary Peter. She taught high school at St. Sensation's the whole time I was there. Most of the kids tried their best to stay on her good side, but there always was someone begging for the ruler. She hired me to clean drugs out of her school a couple of years after I hung up my shingle. She might have been in her eighties, but you still didn't mess with her. I gave the kid the information, but he hasn't written it up yet. (The story will be published later this year. JPW)

What is the toughest part of writing a series featuring a private investigator?

Your last two questions will have to be answered by the author. So I’m signing off. See ya, Gin.

What is the toughest part of writing a series featuring a private investigator? The main thing I did when I started writing the Gin Caulfield P.I. Series was to write a biography for her so I knew where she came from and what type of person she was. Since I used to be a private detective, I sort of know what they can and can’t do. And I also didn’t want the books to be so regimented with procedures that I would get bogged down in detail, so I tend to let my imagination take her into fictional trouble rather than blood and guts reality. I don’t write cozies, mind you, so there are dead bodies and some high-wire tension to keep you on your toes, but the language is fairly reserved. Since Ginger Caulfield is a professional, she does use her head and follows the rules… most of the time… and she owns a gun.

I don't know what to tell you, so I'll let the kid answer this.

For me, the hardest part of writing this series is coming up with the solution to the mysteries. The banter and the characters are fun to create, but solutions take time for me to come up with. Most of the time, I'll come up with the crime to be solved and then build from there.

What is one situation/location/challenge you would like your character to face in a future book?
Gin was shot in the back by a very influential man who got away with it by lying to the police. She nearly lost her life and ended up closing her detective agency for a few years until the urge to solve a case became too great. I want her to catch the bum who shot her while he is doing something that will land him in prison. And I want it featured on the nightly news so the swine can’t deny it. It will be a subplot in a subsequent novel. And I will tell you this, I came up with the plot while answering this question. Thank you, Jackie, for stimulating my creative juices.
Well, that's a hard one. I've already been to the (spoiler). What?!? I can't even say (spoiler). For some reason, the kid has his Spoiler Filter set to high. So, I'll say that I've taken down gangsters and lesser criminals. Maybe in a future book, I'll take on bigger fish, like politicians. Because that's where the real money is.

A former private detective and a reporter for a small weekly newspaper, Gayle
Bartos-Pool has several books in print: The Johnny Casino Casebook 1- Past Imperfect, The Johnny Casino Casebook 2 – Looking for Johnny Nobody, and The Johnny Casino Casebook 3 – Just Shoot Me; Media Justice, Hedge Bet, and Damning Evidence in the Gin Caulfield P.I. Series; From Light To DARK, a collection of short stories; Eddie Buick’s Last Case, The Santa Claus Singer, and Bearnard’s Christmas. She is the former Speakers Bureau Director for Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles and also a member of Mystery Writers of America and The Woman’s Club of Hollywood. She teaches writing classes: “Anatomy of a Short Story,” “How To Write Convincing Dialogue” and “Writing a Killer Opening Line” in sunny Southern California. Website:

John Paul Wohlschied was born and raised in West Michigan. He discovered
detective stories at an early age through the magic of Old Time Radio. Since then he has devoured hundreds of hours of radio shows (such as Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe, Boston Blackie, Richard Diamond and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar) and mystery stories. With all this knowledge, he decided to take a crack at recreating those hard-boiled stories of yesteryear. Someday he plans to expand into scifi and westerns and pick your own adventure games. You can visit his website or sign up for his mailing list to get the latest news! 

And now, vote for the toughest PI!

Click here to vote for Gin Caulfield

Click here to vote for Benny Cahill


  1. A very cool interview article, Jackie V. Creative and interesting. Love to see more.... maybe between a pet psychic and an animal detective?

    1. When I say "animal detective" I mean where the dog (or cat) does the detecting.

  2. What a fun (and creative!) post. I read first thing this morning, and what a great way to start the day. I've never heard about or read Benny Cahill, but now I'm interested! Voted, and that was fun, too.

    On on the "animal detective"--I have one dog who can "detect" the sound of opening the dog treats bag a mile away...not so sure about finding a murderer, Mugs would probably run away. (smile)


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