Friday, July 10, 2015

Writers Born Today - E. C. Bentley

It's the birthday of Edmuncd Clerihew Bentley, born July 10, 1875 in London. He is considered by many as the father of the modern mystery novel. His stories ushered in the Golden Age of Mystery (generally the period between 1920 and 1945).

After attending Oxford he became a newspaper journalist, but was motivated to write mystery in response to a challenge from his friend G.K. Chesterton. Sherlock Holmes detective novels had been the standard for crime fiction for many years but Bentley felt they were too melodramatic and Holmes was just too perfect. The result of his effort was a mystery that set a new standard for the detective novel...Trent's Last Case.

Published in 1913, it's complex plot twists inspired the writing of Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, among others. The novel presented the reader with three possible outcomes to the mystery. It became an international best seller, and was filmed in several movies, including one by Orson Wells.

You can hear a radio broadcast of the novel at the Radio Detective Story Hour.

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