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11 Gifts for Amateur Sleuths and Super Spies

Hidden cameras, masterful disguises, and Sherlock Holmes-inspired deduction instructions to slip under the tree.


Someone stole Christmas this year, and it wasn’t the Grinch. Know an amateur detective who can solve this case? Make sure they’re ready for action with gear only a true crime fighter can appreciate.

gift guide: operation faust

Operation F.A.U.S.T. Card Game

Rescue priceless artwork from the Nazis in this bluffing card game that raised more than $25,000 on Kickstarter. It doesn’t come out until June 2015, so take an I.O.U. and remember it’s going to be worth the wait. ($25)

gift guide: smartphone telephoto lens

Smartphone Telephoto Lens

A tiny lens with an impressive zoom easily attaches to most smartphones and comes in handy during impromptu stake-outs. ($20)

gift guide: hollow book safe

Secrets & Spies Hollow Book Safe

They’ll never guess you hid something in the book that says “Secrets.” ($35)

gift guide: l.l. bean trench coat


L.L. Bean Commuter Trench Coat

This sleuthing staple helps gumshoes remain under wraps. ($109)

gift guide: patch nyc pipe candle

Patch NYC Pipe Candle

Some detectives do their best thinking with a pipe in hand. If smoking’s not your style, burn this tobacco-, cognac-, and vanilla-scented candle instead. ($37)

gift guide: victorinox swiss card

Victorinox SwissCard

Snip, slice, and file your way through sticky situations with a slim 9-in-1 tool that fits into your wallet undetected. ($37.50)

gift guide: mastermind, by maria konnikova

Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, by Maria Konnikova

Psychologist and author Maria Konnikova has the key to your Sherlockian brain attic and teaches you how to unlock your powers of ultra-logical deduction. ($8)

gift guide: master of disguise kit

Master of Disguise Kit

You might not have ex-CIA agent Jonna Mendez’s skills (watch her in action), but you can practice camouflage techniques with these mix-and-match fuzzy mustaches and eyebrows. ($8)

gift guide: pepsi camera

Pepsi Can 110 Instamatic Camera

Pretend to enjoy your caffeinated beverage of choice while secretly snapping photos with a vintage camera-in-disguise. Want something more realistic? Grab a soda from the fridge and follow this tutorial. ($40)

gift guide: rite in the rain notebook

Rite in the Rain All-Weather Notebook

Keep a log of suspects and clues (or even your grocery lists) on waterproof paper that won’t even smudge during a downpour. ($33.50)

gift guide: operation spy

Operation Spy at the International Spy Museum

Practice decoding secret messages, interrogating double agents, and hiding from the enemy in this hour-long interactive experience at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. ($15 + trip to Washington D.C.)

Courtesy of Grey Fox Games; Courtesy of Urban Outfitters; Courtesy of Virtual Distortion; Courtesy of L.L. Bean; Courtesy of Beautyhabit; Courtesy of Victorinox; Courtesy of Viking Press; Courtesy of Restoration Hardware; Courtesy of High Places Photography; Courtesy of Rite in the Rain; Courtesy of International Spy Museum