Created by Robert Martin (pseudonyms: Lee Roberts; 1908-1976)
Cleveland, Ohio's own JIM BENNETT was a rarity in detective fiction in the fifties -- a happily-married man. Thomas Dewey, Bart Spicer and James M. Fox are about the only other writers of this period that seemed to stray from the whole lone wolf/P.I. thing. His long-suffering wife was Sandy (née Hollis), who served as his secretary through most of the series; their constant struggle to pick an actual wedding date stretched through the series.
Bennett was a company man, the head of the New York-based Cleveland branch of the American-International, Inc., and far more domesticated than many of his contemporaries, at ease in his own skin, and partial to poker, hunting, trout fishing, hunting and dry martinis. He first appeared in a string of novelettes in the pulps in the forties, most notably Dime Detective, and many of the novelettes were later cannibalized, expanded, revised, and published as novels in the fifties and sixties.
A good series, solid, and pleasingly Chandleresque, given to far more characterization than was common for its time, but not shy about the private eye action, either. Surprisngly, however, there's little actual sex -- as Bill Pronzini once lamented, "In all of Jim Bennett's cases, he never once gets laid, not even by Sandy Hollis!"
Nonetheless, Martin's apprenticeship in the pages of the pulps served him well when he moved to novels. Unfortunately the series is all-but-forgotten now, although I've always enjoyed the books.
As Lee Roberts, he wrote about at keast one other private eye, Lee Fiske, and the crime-solving Dr. Clinton Shannon.
-- Bill Crider on Rara-Avis, June 2001
Private Eyes of the Buckeye State
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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