Spy Gadgets for a Kick-Butt Pinkerton Heroine
When your job is to save the world, you can’t outwit evil masterminds without hiding a few spy gadgets in your Victorian underwear.
In the immortal words of my kick-butt Lady Pinkerton, Sadie Michelson, “A garter is only good for one thing: holding my derringer.”
Sadie is the sassy, street-wise star of my new Romantic Suspense series of Historical Western Whodunits, Lady Law & The Gunslinger. In Book 1, Devil in Texas, Sadie must team up with her long-lost lover, Cass, the outlaw who’s working as her enemy’s hired gun.
When I first envisioned Sadie as an undercover detective, my Muse dreamed up all kinds of wild gadgets, ala James Bond, for Devil in Texas. For instance, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if the villain carried a bullwhip that doubles as a gun?”
But my ever-practical, 21st Century brain scolded my Muse: “Modern-day readers would scoff! You’re not writing Steampunk!”
Imagine my shock when I learned that some crazy weapons maker from the 19th Century actually did construct a whip with a bullet-firing handle! (The contraption gives a whole new meaning to the term, “pistol-whipped.”)
The pistol whip wasn’t the strangest thing I discovered when I researched real-world spy gadgets. As far back as the 1500s, weapon smiths were creating ingenious mini-guns out of virtually any material. For instance:
- Door Keys (So you could eliminate eavesdropping chambermaids?)
- Fish Hooks (Inspired by the trout who refused to die?)
- Signet Finger Rings (So you could sign your name in blood?)
- Shoulder Suspenders (For the killer whose big belly blocks the “buckle gun?”)
- Pocket watches (For the nuisance whose time has come!)
But my favorite lethal gizmo is the one I saw in a TV Western, where an assassin was disguised as a padre. In my innocence, I thought that some crazy screenwriter, who’d sniffed one too many inkwells, had imagined the “Crucifix Gun” on the padre’s rosary.
In Devil in Texas, Sadie makes great use of smoke bombs, disguised as buttons. She also wears a bullet proof vest. (In the 1880s, Luke Short, a famous gambler-turned-gunfighter, inspired the bullet-proof vest when a silk handkerchief, wadded in his breast pocket, stopped a bullet.)
Not to be outdone, Cass carries his own brand of cunning gadgetry. Dubbed “Coyote Cass” for his skill at eluding capture, Cass hides 3 lock picks in his clothing and enough fire power to “blast his way out of Hades.” He also conceals a pop-out knife in his boot toe and a buckle-blade that can be “unsheathed” from his belt.
But writing Sadie-and-Cass scenes is even more fun than inventing gadgets. Their dialogue is hilarious. When I write, I hear them sparring in my head. Sometimes I feel like I’m taking rapid-fire dictation! For a sneak peek of their battle of wits, check out the excerpt below from Devil in Texas.
To see pictures of the cool spy gadgets from my research, visit my Pinterest page: https://www.pinterest.com/AdriennedeWolfe/cool-spy-gadgets/
For a long moment, Sadie stood in the doorway of the bathhouse. Moonbeams spilled through the skylight, illuminating the long, lean swimmer’s body, power-stroking through the pool. Completely naked, Cass’s exquisite length glimmered like a torpedo-shaped pearl.
She told herself she should arrest him for breaking-and-entering. Unfortunately, she was arrested –- even mesmerized — by the view: emerald waters sliding over alabaster flesh; corded limbs surging through frothy bubbles; the breadth and power of rippling shoulders, rising above the wave.
He hadn’t noticed her arrival yet. That gave her time to plot her strategy. She raced him along the pool’s longest edge, beating him to the shallows, where she waited triumphantly with a scowl. She was loath to let him know just how much she enjoyed watching his shameless virility cleave her ominous, black silhouette on the water.
When he pretended not to notice her, looming over him like an angry volcano goddess, she tugged his Bowie knife from her belt and flung it. The blade struck the deck’s wooden planks above his head with a resounding thunk.
That got his attention.
He reared up out of the water, tossing back his hair in a gleaming arc of spray that looked like a moonbow around his golden head.
“I hear you left a message for me at Wilma’s place,” she announced. Planting her fists on her hips, she straddled that erect and quivering hilt. “What the devil is this?”
Cass grinned. He trailed his wicked gaze from the knob on the hilt to the apex of her spreading thighs. “I’m not sure. But it looks illegal.”
“That’s why you like me.”
She snorted. “As far as I’m concerned, Marshal Wright should have locked you in the calaboose and thrown away the key. You think vandalism’s a game?”
“Life’s a game, sweetheart. I just play by different rules.”
“This from the man who wants to be a Ranger?”
“I’m starting to have second thoughts about Rangerhood,” he drawled. “Women aren’t allowed on the force.”
“Oh, so now you’re all about equality.”
He winked. “Mostly, I’m about undercover work.”
Adrienne is the #1 bestselling author of action-packed Historical Romance, where feisty Heroines buck the conventions and true Heroes must be wickedly funny. When she’s not writing, she’s mentoring aspiring authors, several of whom have become #1 bestsellers on Amazon. Visit Adrienne’s websites at WildTexasNights.com or WritingNovelsThatSell.com.