I think it was an Amazon Kindle group thread on good public domain books to read that I heard of this one. I downloaded it to my iPod Touch and read it using the Stanza app.
Apparently Bentley was a newspaperman, who wrote Trent’s Last Case in 1913. There’s no doubt writers wrote differently back then, and I found the story-telling method of that era a bit slow at first, and it was many weeks before I picked it up again. I’m glad I did. After the intro, this book is a deceptively mild meandering mystery. It seems that the mystery is solved when you’re only halfway through the book, yet is it? The fact you’re only halfway through the book creates doubt although all the clues seem to be sewn up. But the mystery, the story, is like a Russian doll — when you think you’re at the end, when you think this is another genteel early-20th-century scene between two or three characters, surprise! The title is revealed on the very last page, or I should say the reason for it.
There are all sorts of neat details about life a century ago. Although we may still be familiar with the word “receiver” in relation to phones, I’ve never heard the word “transmitter” used in relation to consumer phones. Cars were real slow. And there were no forensics! Forensics are imaginative-crime killers. Finger markings could tell the police only so much 100 years ago, which gave the writer lots of room, whereas today microscopic hair, blood, fingerprints, DNA tell the police lots, enough for them to figure out the gist — in mystery books anyway. A century ago, the little grey cells ruled.
I enjoyed this ebook very much and would recommend it for a summer or holiday read. And next time I download a public domain book, I need to put it on my Sony Reader too. Stanza makes it easy to read an ebook on the iPod Touch, but I prefer a bigger screen.