Detectives Don’t Wear Seatbelts: True Adventures of a Female P. I. by Cici McNair

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As good a detective novel as any, this book contains an intriguing and detailed account of the hidden world and cases of a real life private investigator. Get drawn into the mysterious tale that Cici McNair has crafted from her own existence.

Growing up in Mississippi, Cici McNair was always more the tomboy her mother supported than the Southern belle her father demanded. She escaped her suffocating upbringing the first chance she had to travel the world. Whether working at the Vatican in Rome or consorting with a gunrunner in Haiti, she lived a life of international adventure. When Cici finds herself in New York, divorced, broke, and fashionably starving to death in a Madison Avenue apartment, she impulsively decides to become a private detective.

But, as Cici soon learns, the world of P.I.s is tight-knit and made up almost exclusively of former law enforcement officers. By nature, they are a highly suspicious group and are especially wary of a newcomer with an untraceable past. Diligently working her way through the Yellow Pages, doggedly pursuing the slightest lead, Cici is finally hired by a private investigator willing to take a chance. The next day she’s working side by side with a pair of seasoned detectives and a skip tracer who is scary to meet but like silk on the phone. She quickly realizes she’ll need all her energy and wits to succeed in this new world.

Being a private investigator is as exciting and liberating as Cici ever dreamed, from creating a false identity on the spot on her first case in the field to surviving adrenaline-rushing car chases. Working with law enforcement, she goes undercover, dealing with the ruthless Born to Kill gang in Chinatown and the Middle Eastern counterfeiters west of Broadway.


“Detectives Don’t Wear Seat Belts is a wonderful, wonderful read, an amazing true story told in the voice of a born story-teller. Come meet a rich and sometimes highly comic cast of detectives, clients, criminals, tough guys, and shady characters, and ride with Cici McNair as she learns her trade as a private investigator. She’s funny, she’s honest, and she’s completely fascinating, as she helps us see why she loves the job. This is a memoir written by someone who made her own life into an adventure story, and who knows exactly how to grab your hand and pull you along.” (Perri Klass, author of The Mercy Rule 2009)

“This improper southern belle’s memoir as a private detective combines the immediate impact of a newspaper column, with the ironic detachment of a fine novel. McNair’s crafted vignettes of low-rent detectives are like chocolate truffles: dark, bittersweet, and addictive.” (Bruce Schimmel, founder and columnist, Philadelphia City Paper 2009)

“One of the few female members of this hard-living, stained-tie fraternity, McNair declassifies the donkey work and dangers that are all part of the job description for those who would live for the chase.” (Phoebe Eaton, novelist and screenwriter 2009)

“Detectives may not wear seat belts, but you definitely should hang onto your seat when you read Cici McNair’s saucy, smart memoir about a hot female P.I. from the South. I always knew Cici was a pistol, but she really blew me away with this one!” (Lewis Burke Frumkes, author of How To Raise Your I.Q. By Eating Gifted Children 2009)

“Riding with Cici McNair would be a hair-raising experience. Can anyone have led such a zany, explosive, fun-filled, and inviting existence from Rome to Florida to Mississippi and from New York to Philadelphia? Reading is believing. And one suspects should McNair decide in one moment to become a brain surgeon, she would do so forthwith and with relish.” (The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, MS Joseph L. White) 

“Learn all about the gritty life of private investigators and how one tough woman broke into this largely male club. Stepping into one of its offices, Cici McNair found herself stuck in hanging fly paper. Anyone who picks up this book will be stuck in McNair’s world, and is guaranteed to enjoy the experience-wackiness and all.” (Andrew Nagorski, author of The Greatest Battle and Last Stop Vienna

Detectives Don’t Wear Seatbelts: True Adventures of a Female P. I. by Cici McNair

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Weight0.7 kg

Center Street (2009)




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