The Detective Fiction of E.C. Bentley

“There are few, if any, better detective stories…”

Times Literary Supplement, 20th February 1913

“I had thought, until I finished Trent Intervenes in one regrettable gulp, that absolute originality in the handling of short stories had died with Father Brown or was lingering lazily with Reggie Fortune.”

– Torquemada, Observer, 17th July 1938

EC Bentley’s reputation rests on three books: Trent’s Last Case (1913), a book with the monumental importance of The Innocence of Father Brown, and a novel and a collection of short stories published a quarter of a century later: Trent’s Own Case (1936) and Trent Intervenes (1938).  That reputation is entirely justified, for they are highly intelligent and witty works, with as much interest in the characters as in the detection, surprising last-minute solutions and a detective who is ingenious but not quite correct.  It is fair to say that, without Bentley, the works of Sayers and Christie would have been very different. <>

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These pages copyright Nicholas Lester Fuller, 2000--2010. Created 3rd December 2004.