The Fifth Steve Bentley Adventure

“Steve Bentley [is] series fiction’s toughest tax accountant.” Bill Pronzini & Marcia Muller, 1001 Midnights, The Afficionado’s Guide to Detective Fiction

She was a lush-bodied, Latin Chanteuse with a song on her lips, passion in her heart, and murder on her mind…

“My name is Steve Bentley, and I’d seen Chula Marques on TV before, but seeing Chula perform in person was something entirely different. The TV tube had always shot her from the waist up. Now I knew why.

Her voice was throaty and true, the way Latin voices are supposed to be, but nothing sensational. What made the customers edge forward was what she did with her hips and legs while she was singing. The message was a little too basic for the home audience.

Oh, she was quite a little girl all right, a girl of many faces. Daughter of a penny ante revolutionist, protege of the biggest racketeer since Al Capone, estranged wife of a too-handsome Princetonian type who was drowning his misery the slow painful way.

My client, Chula Marques, singer of songs. My love, carrier of murder…”

“As ‘Robert Dietrich,’ E. Howard Hunt wrote ten novels starring Steve Bentley, a Washington D.C. accountant who solves murders in private-eye style. The first thing to know about Bentley is that he isn’t just a paper-pushing CPA. He’s a Korean War veteran who was employed at one time by the U.S. Treasury Department. If you love vintage crime-fiction you should enjoy this tale.” The Paperback Warrior


Robert Dietrich was a pseudonym for E. Howard Hunt, better known for his role in the Watergate scandal rather than for his great crime novels. Gore Vidal wrote this about “Robert Dietrich” in The New York Times: “In 1957, H.H. gave birth to ‘Robert Dietrich,’ who specialized in thrillers, featuring Steve Bentley, formerly of the CID and now a tax consultant. H.H. plainly enjoys composing plausible (and implausible) biographies for his characters—not to mention for himself. In Contemporary Authors, H.H. composed a bio for his pseudonym Robert Dietrich, taking ten years off his age, putting himself in the infantry during Korea, awarding himself a Bronze Star and a degree from Georgetown.”