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ERIC TRENT

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Full Name: Eric Trent
Nationality: American
Organization: None
Occupation Adventurer

Creator: Donald E. Keyhoe
Time Span: 1940 - 2017

ABOUT THE SERIES

Eric Trent is an adventurer.

The time period of his recorded activities is the late 1930s and very early 1940. With much of Europe and Asia already deeply involved in war, the escapades of Trent are particularly interesting. Here is a man who plays by his own rules especially active in regions where rules have been thrown out - Trent seems to be very much in his element.

Trent likes to think of himself as a more of a salesman or perhaps, in business terminology, a marketing director. He is partners with the Mortimer Crabb, an inventor with an impressive catalog of interesting devices. Trent has decided it is his calling to find the best price for the sale of these gadgets, taking, of course, his share of the proceeds.

Now that partnership is a tad in question, at least when we first meet both as Crabb claims vehemently that "this young lunatic [Trent] hypnotized me into buying a plane and flying over here with him to sell some of my ideas. We landed in Europe in August. Since then I have been arrested three times, shot at twice, and chased out of four countries". Whether Crabb and Trent are truly in business together or not is part of the fun of following the two.

Advice given the burgomaster of the Netherlands city of Arnheim by the chief of police of Amsterdam regarding Eric Trent reads, "Take my advice and get him out of Arnheim before he turns your city upside down. Trent is a crazy adventurer, a modern D'Artagnan living by his wits-wits which unfortunately are entirely too sharp. He has been mixed up in a score of intrigues on the Continent, and it is a miracle the secret police haven't caught him. Don't try to trap him. He'll simply laugh at you. I know from experience."

This causes the town official some consternation but that is paltry compared to the anxiety he would feel after reading this from an enclosed confidential file on the exploits of Trent, relayed here to give a good idea of the kind of man Trent is and the types of adventures he is known for:

"February, 1937, Trent kidnapped two Gestapo agents who tried to arrest him near German border, later turned them loose in their underwear on Champs-Élysées, Paris, in broad daylight... April, reported in Singapore, with a small fortune in pearls, refused to pay duty, told British he found them in an oyster stew, collected five hundred pounds for false arrest.... Detained by Scotland Yard for masquerading as Guards officer, later privately released with apologies of Prime Minister, reasons unknown.... Reported executed in Manchukuo after scrape with Japanese.... Suspected in shooting of Greek blackmailer Nimopolis, no evidence... Secret rewards offered for his capture by Nazis in Austria, Czechoslovakia, also by Spanish authorities, in last two years.... January, 1939, broke the bank at Monte Carlo, purchased a flying boat with which he is said to have effected the mysterious Devil's Island escape of Jacques Gernay, later proved innocent of the murder for which he was sentenced..."

For a description of the man physically, we are told that he "might have been some polished European from the salons of Continental society" with his "a dashing, almost Latin darkness of hair and eyes, and white teeth under a close-clipped black mustache".

Normally the activities of an adventurer (or scoundrel) like Eric Trent might not qualify for membership in this compendium but considering the types of escapades - and the people he goes up against - likely he does.

And I wish to make one additional observation on the 'partnership' of Eric Trent and Mortimer Crabb. When you consider the statements of Crabb in the earliest adventures, Crabb does not look upon it quite the same way as Trent. "If anybody had told me six months ago I'd leave my factory and go chasing all over Europe with a lunatic, getting into one mess after another ..." He ended that lament with a plea that Trent return his passport and perhaps "enough change to get home". Trent smiles and declines and heads to their next adventure.

BOOKS

Number of Books:2
First Appearance:2017
Last Appearance:2017

In 2017, the terrific re-printer of pulp classics, Altus Press, released the first of two planned volumes of the baker's dozen of stories about Eric Trent. It contained the first 6 stories.

Despite my despair that the second set would never come out, Altus Press proved me wrong by releasing the last seven adventures in 2023.


1 The Complete Adventures of Eric Trent, Vol. 1 The Complete Adventures of Eric Trent, Vol. 1
Written by Donald E. Keyhoe
Copyright: 2017

A collection of the first six adventures of Eric Trent, taken from the pages of Flying Aces magazine. The stories are:
Secret Flight Sixteen
Death Flies Blind
Junkers Juggernaut
Swastika Scourge
The Ace from Hell
Television Tracers

1 The Complete Adventures of Eric Trent, Vol. 2 The Complete Adventures of Eric Trent, Vol. 2
Written by Donald E. Keyhoe
Copyright: 2017

A collection of the remaining seven adventures of Eric Trent, taken from the pages of Flying Aces magazine. The stories are:
Squadron of the Dead
Lure of the Liberators
Death Dives the Douglas
Ryan Retribution
Death Flies Blind
Death Flies the Beam
On Haunted Wings

NOVELLAS AND SHORT STORIES

Number of Stories:13
First Appearance:1940
Last Appearance:1942

1 Secret Flight Sixteen Secret Flight Sixteen
short story
Written by Donald E. Keyhoe
Copyright: 1940

Published in Flying Aces, March 1940. Reprinted in the collection The Complete Adventures of Eric Trent, Vol. 1.
Eric Trent was trying to sell a device Mortimer Crabb had invented for use with peacetime commercial air travel. Was it his fault that Gestapo agents thought it was a bomb-sight?

2 Death Flies Blind Death Flies Blind
short story
Written by Donald E. Keyhoe
Copyright: 1940

Published in Flying Aces, May 1940. Reprinted in the collection The Complete Adventures of Eric Trent, Vol. 1.
Fleeing France and some little trouble that necessitated the temporary kidnapping of a Sureté officer, Eric Trent and Mortimer Crabb fly off in their DC-3 and head to England in a thick fog. An emergency landing there brings two mysteries to Trent - a strange and eerie red beam and a couple of German spies mistaking them for a rendezvous plane. Trent is excited about the potential escapade.

3 Junkers Juggernaut Junkers Juggernaut
short story
Written by Donald E. Keyhoe
Copyright: 1940

Published in Flying Aces, July 1940. Reprinted in the collection The Complete Adventures of Eric Trent, Vol. 1.
[plot unknown]

4 Swastika Scourge Swastika Scourge
short story
Written by Donald E. Keyhoe
Copyright: 1940

Published in Flying Aces, October 1940. Reprinted in the collection The Complete Adventures of Eric Trent, Vol. 1.
"Eric Trent vs. a grim Nazi Threat."
"'Just a couple of steaks at the Stranger's Club' - that's all swashbuckling Eric Trent and sad-faced Mortimer Crabb were seeking in Colon. But Fate had planned a bigger bite for the intrepid Yank skymen - one peppered profusely with Nazi nuggets of hate. For as they hurtled that Fokker T-4 through the dusk-shrouded Canal-Zone skies, a grim German juggernaut blasted hell-bent from the clouds. And the Fifth Column plotter flying that ship was - a trusted Government employee!"

5 The Ace from Hell The Ace from Hell
short story
Written by Donald E. Keyhoe
Copyright: 1940

Published in Flying Aces, December 1940. Reprinted in the collection The Complete Adventures of Eric Trent, Vol. 1.
"Trent was that pilot was - Satan himself!"
"Devil-May-Care Eric Trent laughed - and then stared horrified when that lead-blasting P-40 ripped at a defenseless Beechcraft. But Trent and Mortimer Crabb, his sad-faced companion, received a still greater shock. For when that unmarked Curtiss turned on them, they saw that the pilot was - Satan himself!"

6 Television Tracers Television Tracers
short story
Written by Donald E. Keyhoe
Copyright: 1941

Published in Flying Aces, February 1941. Reprinted in the collection The Complete Adventures of Eric Trent, Vol. 1.
"Captain Brennard became - a grinning green skull!"
"One moment, Eric Trent and Mortimer Crabb, his sad-faced companion, were talking with Captain Brennard - and the next moment the the Captain was a horrible, grinning green skeleton! That happened in Seattle - but they flew North in quest of the grim answer!"

7 Squadron of the Dead Squadron of the Dead
short story
Written by Donald E. Keyhoe
Copyright: 1941

Published in Flying Aces, April 1941. Reprinted in the collection The Complete Adventures of Eric Trent, Vol. 2
"Eric Trent battles the 'Invisible Empire'."
"Neither Eric Trent nor Mortimer Crabb could believe their eyes. That French flyer had died many months before - but there he was, gasping out his last breath, while they were unable to help! Yet he helped them by giving an ominous message, which meant - nothing!"

8 Lure of the Liberators Lure of the Liberators
short story
Written by Donald E. Keyhoe
Copyright: 1941

Published in Flying Aces, June 1941. Reprinted in the collection The Complete Adventures of Eric Trent, Vol. 2.
"Two men had been killed, and Eric Trent and Mortimer Crabb were next!"
"Already, two men had been killed by that unknown murderer - and eric Trent and Mort Crabb were next on the death list! But to escape from that menace, Trent and Crabb took a night ride in a stolen autogyro - and shot down a fighter with Canadian markings!"

9 Death Dives the Douglas Death Dives the Douglas
short story
Written by Donald E. Keyhoe
Copyright: 1941

Published in Flying Aces, August 1941. Reprinted in the collection The Complete Adventures of Eric Trent, Vol. 2.
"Eric Trent faces a new, more puzzling mystery."
"Nine Army and Navy crashes - without an explanation ... Two bombers scores of miles off course ... Intelligence was frankly puzzled and didn't have so much as a clue. Then Eric Trent stepped in - and bit hard on a cigarette!"

10 Ryan Retribution Ryan Retribution
short story
Written by Donald E. Keyhoe
Copyright: 1941

Published in Flying Aces, November 1941. Reprinted in the collection The Complete Adventures of Eric Trent, Vol. 2.
"Eric Trent had exposed the man as an imposter, a member of a ring of Nazi spies. But G-2 wouldn't listen, branded Trent a traitor. And then he discovered that the pattern of intrigue had been carried further and G-2 itself was not G-2!"

11 Death Flies Blind Death Flies Blind
short story
Written by Donald E. Keyhoe
Copyright: 1942

Published in Flying Aces, January 1942. Reprinted in the collection The Complete Adventures of Eric Trent, Vol. 2.
"No stranger sight had ever been witnessed over that Texas waste land. For these two military ships were pounding hell-hate from hot guns - for an innocent-looking model plane!"
Note: this is indeed the same name as the second adventure but it is a totally different adventure.

12 Death Flies the Beam Death Flies the Beam
short story
Written by Donald E. Keyhoe
Copyright: 1942

Published in Flying Aces, May 1942. Reprinted in the collection The Complete Adventures of Eric Trent, Vol. 2.
"A Yank had died bringing that garbled message back to the "Lexatago". But Eric Trent swore that he would work out the hellish puzzle, and he took-off into the night sky in search of - a cat!"

13 On Haunted Wings On Haunted Wings
short story
Written by Donald E. Keyhoe
Copyright: 1942

Published in Flying Aces, July 1942. Reprinted in the collection The Complete Adventures of Eric Trent, Vol. 2.
"Swashbuckling Eric Trent faces the strangest mystery of his career as he combats his own image and German Stukas over the heart of Washington!"

MY COMMENTS

Every blurb I have ever read - and granted that is not that awfully many - has Eric Trent listed as a spy and he definitely works as one here and there. I have him down, though, as an adventurer because he seems interested in adventuring a whole lot more than anything else. Granted, he does a fair amount of spying so he deserves membership here but he is first and foremost a thrill-seeking having-a-blast-in-the-skies kind of pilot who does take time out to do some spying for his country.

Donald E. Keyhoe was a gifted adventure writer and he shows his skills in this series.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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