Victorian Spy Gadgets: What Every Lady Pinkerton Needs

Highlighting Historical Romance: Adrienne deWolfe

tight-crop_hat_paid_western-montage_shutterstock_133817396-300x202 Guest Author In Devil in Texas, my romantic, Western Whodunit, I yearned to give cool spy gadgets to Sadie, my Lady Pinkerton, so she could outwit sinister masterminds.

The trouble was, I figured readers would scoff at my outlandish ideas: “A smoke bomb that functions as a button? A mini gun hidden inside a compass? DeWolfe’s supposed to be writing Western Romance, not Steampunk!”

Ironically, lethal gizmos existed in the 1880s –- and many of them predate the Victorian Era. The more I researched, the more I realized that my “outlandish ideas” were tame!

As far back as the 1500s, weapon smiths were creating ingenious mini-guns out of virtually any material: door keys, shoulder suspenders, fish hooks, finger rings, pocket watches –- you name it. I even found a crucifix that fires bullets! Imagine my delight when I realized that my Lady Pinkerton really could blow off a bushwhacker’s head with a parasol gun –- or hide a pop-out blade in the toe of her shoe!

In Devil in Texas (Book 1, Lady Law & The Gunslinger,) I’ve written Sadie like a female action hero (she jumps out of a burning building, for instance.) But I had the most fun dressing her in disguises – especially when she comes face-to-face with her long-lost, outlaw lover (who’s working for the enemy.)

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Sadie and Cass are rapidly becoming my favorite protagonists. Their dialogue is hilarious. When I write, I hear them sparring in my head. Sometimes I feel like I’m taking dictation! For a sneak peek of their battle of wits, check out the excerpt, below.

To see pictures of the cool spy gadgets from my research, visit my Pinterest page:

1MB_Devil-in-Texas800-200x300 Guest Author About the Book

DEVIL IN TEXAS Book 1, Lady Law & the Gunslinger

Pinkerton Agent Sadie Michelson poses as a casino singer to investigate a Texas Senator. Before she can cozy up to her quarry, she must get past his bodyguard, William Cassidy, her long-lost lover.

An outlaw seeking redemption, Cass was lured to Texas by the promise of a Ranger badge. But he hasn’t forgotten the sassy siren, who toyed with his heart. When Sadie proposes a truce, Cass suspects she’s hiding something.

With assassins dogging their heels, Cass and Sadie uncover a murder conspiracy in the senate. To stay alive, they must do the one thing they’re dead set against: trust each other.

To purchase Devil in Texas, visit the eRetailer links at


 Reaching for his six-shooter, Cass waved his 17-year-old sidekick to safety and poked his head around the corner. A bearded figure in a sack suit was climbing through the window. Apparently, they’d caught a thief breaking into the hotel.

Cass marveled at the irony. All his life, he’d wanted to be a Ranger, to fight for right and make the world a safe place for little kiddies to play. Even though that dream had been derailed when he turned vigilante, Cass’s altruistic side couldn’t let some desperado barge into the building and loot innocent folks.

Stepping into the moonlight, he confronted the burglar.

“What’s the matter, mister? Stairs aren’t enough exercise? “

The thief went rigid.

“Hands,” Cass barked, cocking his .45.

Slowly, reluctantly, the burglar spread his gloves in the universal sign of surrender.

“I’ll frisk him,” Collie volunteered, lurching forward in his widow’s weeds, the matched pair of cantaloupes in his corset thumping together.

Cass wanted to wallop the kid for such a lousy stakeout disguise. “Confound it, Birdie, is that how your mama taught a lady to behave?”

The burglar chuckled. The sound was low and husky, reminding Cass of whiskey, scarlet, and sin all rolled into one.

“Looks like Birdie found Admiral Farragut’s lost torpedoes.”

“Mind your manners, cockroach,” Cass growled. “You’re talking to a lady.”

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Straight white teeth flashed in the thief’s graying beard. “Somebody’s got his facts all tangled.”

Cass’s brow furrowed. Something about that voice wasn’t right. For one thing, it wasn’t scratchy enough to be old. For another, it reminded him poignantly of Sadie.

Cass cursed himself. Now wasn’t the time to get distracted by grief. Sadie had betrayed him. She’d told the Rangers about his murder warrant. After a hurt like that, Cass shouldn’t have cared that the golden-eyed hellion had vanished in a fire.

But no matter how he tried, he couldn’t stop thinking about those long-lost days of star-gazing, berry-picking, and sharing secrets in the hayloft with Sadie. A yawning emptiness consumed his soul. The nights had lost their thrill because he could never love, war, and make up again with the Devil’s Red-Haired Daughter.

He dragged his thoughts back to his prisoner. “What’s that bulge under your coat?”

The ghost of a dimple peeked beneath the thief’s derby. “The usual.”

“Want to be more specific?”

“See for yourself.”

Cass frowned. This conversation was familiar—macabrely familiar. But his memory had to do with Sadie and a skimpy negligee that had nearly stopped his heart.

“Take off your hat,” he commanded suspiciously.

Another saucy dimple peeked. “You want it? Come and get it, hotshot.”

Cass’s patience was rapidly unraveling. Defying knives, blinding powder, and whatever else the thief might throw, Cass stalked closer. A tepid breeze stirred the draperies. The masculine scents of leather and horse wafted past his nose, along with the feminine fragrance of rosehips.

 Sadie’s favorite tea.

Now Cass was close enough to notice anomalies beneath the burglar’s bowler: a mustache that was just a hair off balance. Lips that were pink and kissably soft.

Cass’s brain told his senses they were liars, but his heart couldn’t give up the hope. With a shaking hand, he knocked off the thief’s hat.

Eyes as hot as golden brands burned into his.

In the next instant, a boot sent his gun flying. A second drop-kick plowed into his midsection.

“Son of a—” Cass stumbled to his knees, winded.

Collie reached for his revolver.

“No!” Cass tackled the boy. They hit the carpet in a tangle of limbs and lace.

“That’s Sadie!”

“Are you loco? Sadie’s dead!”

They flopped like a couple of beached whales, Cass’s spurs shredding the boy’s petticoats. Sadie glanced over her shoulder, that wicked dimple flirting with her lips. One last smirk for his embarrassment. One last sigh for all that might have been.

Then, with an audacious wink, she fled.

Adrienne-deWolfe_Author Guest Author About the Author

Adrienne de Wolfe is the #1 bestselling author of award-winning, action-packed Western Romance, where feisty heroines buck the conventions and true heroes must be wickedly funny. Follow her on Twitter (@AdriennedeWolfe) or visit her website,




To purchase Devil in Texas, visit the eRetailer links at

3 thoughts on “Victorian Spy Gadgets: What Every Lady Pinkerton Needs

  1. I was surprised to learn that scientists were working on solar power in the 1880’s!
    Thanks for these insights into the more-wild-than-we-realized west!

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