A shop assistant in a jewellery shop shows precious antique rings to a prospective customer, an American, when one of the jewels goes missing. The customer’s trouser turn-ups are checked and he ie even taken to an inner room for a more thorough search. But it is not found. Another customer – this time a woman – walks in and after some casual inquiry she turns to depart when the salseman asks her to stop. The missing property is found on her person.
In this detective story, the detective is not “an extraordinary person, extraordinarily favoured by fortune” but “just an ordinary man who uses his eyes and his common sense to the full”.
There are clues very cleverly laid in the course of the stroy so you too can be a detective if you so wish. So when the shop assistant explains to his grateful employer how he detected the crime, it does not totally surprise us. But did we anticipate him? Well, it depends on how carefully we followed the leads.
Nicolas Bentley is the brother of E. C. Bentley, creator of the clerihew and also the author of a single famous detective story “Trent’s Last Case.” That’s a good one but long.