What Makes a Good History Detective Story?

By The History Detectives Team
24 September 2009
Category: Viewer Mailbag

History Detectives producers are hunting for great ideas. Do you have an intriguing item locked away in your closet? Executive Producer, Chris Bryson, offers these tips that will make your submission rise to the top of the stack.

 

 

 

An object for a History Detectives investigation can be almost anything: a document, a weapon, a piece of jewelry, a statue, a building, a fragment of bone. Our stories have ranged from an object as small as a pin (a prototype for the suicide pin that U2 pilot Gary Powers was carrying over the Soviet Union when he was shot down) to a building in the Bronx alleged to have been the birthplace of hip hop. For a History Detectives investigation, size doesn't matter.

Two other important criteria: Does answering the question about the object have the likelihood of taking the Detective on an interesting journey? In other words, does there seem to be a reasonable chance -- with enough work, and research, and perhaps forensic analysis -- of solving the mystery?

And the other important criteria, does the object, and its investigation connect us in some way to significant US history? This is important, although not always apparent. You might be interested in an object because it has a family connection. This might be interesting for us too, but only if the investigation gets us to an important moment, period, or figures in US history.

If you aren't sure if the thing you are curious about will make a good story, either way, submit your story using our online web form and ask. We will be happy to hear from you, and hopefully answer your question as part of our TV series.

Chris Bryson, Executive Producer, History Detectives

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