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Bencolin, Henri. Henri Bencolin was created by John Dickson Carr (Dr. Gideon Fell, Colonel March, Sir Henry Merrivale) and appeared in four stories and five novels from 1926 to 1937, beginning with “The Shadow of the Goat” (The Haverfordian, Nov. 1926).
Henri Bencolin, an eccentric dandy, is the juge d’instruction of the Parisian police, although he also works on the side as a private detective, charging exorbitant fees that are greater than his official salary. He is very flamboyant and a regular at certain nightclubs, where he is regularly seen drinking beer, smoking cigars, and listening to jazz from a corner table. More importantly, though, he is known as the “foremost police official in Europe” and as the “most dangerous man in Europe.” It is widely said about him that when he is looking only for pleasure, he wears a plain sack suit. When he is thinking about a case he is working on, he wears a dinner jacket. But when he has found the culprit and is about to capture him or her, Bencolin wears evening clothes and carries his walking stick with the silver head, inside of which is concealed a sword blade. This story is true. Bencolin encourages his Watson, a young journalist named Jeff Marle, to spread this story. Bencolin is known, with good reason, as "Mephistopheles smoking a cigar," and though often challenged by his old rival, Baron Sigismund von Arnheim, always triumphs.
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