Sleuths in Love

From Harvard Magazine:

Eric_2 Flattened by a cold in 1998, Eric Lerner ’71, then a Hollywood screenwriter, picked up a biography of Allan Pinkerton, founder of the first detective agency in the United States. Three men were already working for Pinkerton in Chicago in 1856 when he hired Kate Warne as perhaps the first-ever female private eye. “The biographer dismissed rumors of a romantic relationship between Warne and Pinkerton,” says Lerner. “I literally dropped the book and laughed out loud—are you kidding me? She spends two years with him in Washington, D.C., while he is away from his family. He is at her bedside when she dies, and she is buried next to him. Rumors?

Within two days, Lerner was proposing a movie about Pinkerton and Warne to a studio. “They bought it on a phone pitch,” he says. He got paid to write the screenplay, but, in one of Hollywood’s familiar patterns, “Before I finished the first draft, everyone was fired. It sat in a drawer for seven years before the rights reverted to me. By that time I didn’t want to write a screenplay ever again.” Screenplays, he reports, “are enormously confining: the story is there, but there is no voice in a movie. As a writer, I missed my own voice. I always loved the voice in a novel, the storyteller.”

More here.