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Murphy has six full time employees who assist in a variety of investigations, including workers' compensation ("I believe 75 percent of all workman comp cases are fraudulent," he says), missing persons, surveillance, witness statements and accident reconstruction.

amusing," she says.

When a person calls his agency with a problem or seeking advice, Murphy suggests he or she first call an attorney. "I tell him to find out what the attorney wants me to do." His agency averages three or four calls a day from prospective clients.

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Murphy's background is in law enforcement, 33 years to be exact, 18 of it as Orleans County sheriff. He carries a bounty hunter license, and he's been licensed as a private investigator since 1995. Murphy started his agency in 2000 and is the president of the 34 member Vermont Association of Investigative and Security Services, a trade association.

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A peek at Vermont's door

A private investigator since 1980, she holds a dual distinction: She was the first woman to earn the requisite licensing from the Vermont secretary of state's office, and the first licensed investigator here who did not come from a law enforcement background.

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Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett would have spit out their Old Grand Dad had they stumbled upon this bad prose. But they'd surely give a tip of the fedora to the modern sleuths carrying on the work of their beloved fictional private investigators of yore.

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that." However, "I tell them this is no 8 to 5 job. I work weekends and spend hours on cases."

Today's private investigator is more likely to be hired by an attorney, insurance company, corporation or law enforcement agency than by an ordinary citizen who sashays into a smoky office where the occupant's name is stenciled on the door. He or she may spend more hours seated at a computer than hoofing it around town in a trench coat.

"He's like the lone gunfighter in the Old West willing to break the law for a good cause," says Otto Penzler, 64, publisher of The Armchair Detective, a quarterly journal devoted to the study of mystery and suspense fiction.

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A woman was hurt when she tripped on a raised piece of concrete at a shopping mall. The ambulance crew mentioned to her in passing that they had responded to a similar accident at the same spot the previous week. She got a lawyer.

That is, if they even recognized them.

Murphy, whose favorite fictional counterpart is Selleck's Thomas Magnum, admits half jokingly to keeping a half gallon of Scotch downstairs. "I told my wife: 'If you were in my business you'd drink, too.'"

Retired cops and people with a specialty.

That's who James Nike Jackets Mens Price Murphy, 66, wants working at Murphy Detective Agency (a name straight out of Central Casting if ever there was one) in Newport and with offices in Bridgewater and Burlington.

She operates Nancy Stevens Investigations out of her home in Lincoln.

Enter Boucher. He went to her home, interviewed her and took photos of her injuries. He went to the accident scene, took photos, drew a diagram and took detailed measurements. He hoofed it over to the Montpelier police department to read the accident report, then went to the town office and found the names of the mall's out of state owners. He later interviewed mall employees, including the manager, who provided the phone number of the owners, whom he called.

The usual image of a private investigator is the romanticized and mythologized figure of literature, film and television.

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fax, ma'am.

What lured a 28 year old woman to apply for a private investigator license? Ignore the fact that as a child she read every Nancy Drew book twice. "I thought this would be a lot of fun. Get in the car.

"I don't do surveillance and divorce cases. on the block.

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She refers to today's computer dependent investigator as a "cyber gumshoe" and insists there's no substitute for on scene interviewing, a skill at which she says she is exceptionally good. She spends a lot of her time on the job doing research and waiting for people to come home so she can interview them. "People think a case happens in 42 minutes, plus commercials," she says with a laugh.

Although he's had his shingle out for less than a year, Boucher is well versed in the world of investigations. He retired from the state after spending 25 years as a probation and parole officer in Burlington and Barre. "That profession gave me lots of investigative experience," he says.

An eye for detail and good report writing, he says, are essential in this business. Boucher describes what goes into a typical investigation, citing a personal injury lawsuit he was assigned to by the plaintiff's lawyer:

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"I was the first woman in an old boys' club. It was kind of Nike Women Tracksuits

Excuse me, doll, while I take this call on my cell phone. Oh, sorry. It was just the Nike Jackets Grey

When people find out what he does for a living they usually say, "I'd like to do Nike Hoodie Maroon

Maybe it's best if we start at the beginning. Clear up a few things. Care for a shot of bourbon? Me neither. Not these days. There are plenty of misconceptions about who I am and what I do. I'm strictly on the up and up. No busting down doors. No packing a concealed roscoe. That's pure fiction, sweetheart. Search for a missing person or tail an unfaithful spouse? Occasionally.

Most, though not all, of the 116 investigators currently licensed in Vermont have worked as state or local police officers, chiefs of police, sheriffs or deputies, federal agents or constables, according to the secretary of state's office.

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