The gravestone stands in an open area, unprotected by trees and exposed to the blustery snow flurries and frigid winds that regularly rake north-central Colorado. Near the top of this granite marker is a single name: McParland. Below is a record of the supposed birth and death dates of a man once so widely recognized that when his admirers referred to him as the "Great Detective" others instantly knew of whom they spoke. But James McParland surely would have chuckled at the dates on his tombstone, for throughout his life this master of evasion, obfuscation, and at times, outright deceit maintained that he did not know when he had been born. So was this the long-hidden truth finally appearing? Had his widow ordered this particular date for reasons of her own? Or was it another instance of the elusiveness and ambiguity that marked McParland's entire life?
-Beau Riffenburgh, from the Introduction to Pinkerton's Great Detective: The Amazing Life and Times of James McParland