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Trent's Last Case by E. C. Bentley
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Trent's Last Case (1913)

by E. C. Bentley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Philip Trent (1)

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7202120,256 (3.63)52
Get to know debonair sleuth Philip Trent in the first novel in which the beloved detective ever made an appearance. In Trent's Last Case, author E.C. Bentley pulls off a remarkable feat--a detective novel that is a sophisticated and hilarious send-up of the detective fiction genre! A must-read for die-hard fans of detective stories, or for anyone craving an entertaining whodunit… (more)

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» See also 52 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
But for the fact that Marlowe (the dead man's private secretary) has to explain what a car's rearview mirror is, one would think this book was written in the 1930s, when many standards of the genre had already been established. Nope, the Golden Age was yet to happen. Trent is an artist, a gentleman, and an enthusiast at reasoning out mysteries, to the point that a London paper pays him occasionally to investigate and report on newsworthy crimes. Thus he finds himself investigating the puzzling death of Sigsbee Manderson, wealthy American businessman. Required reading for Golden Age fans. ( )
1 vote NinieB | Sep 28, 2019 |
Well, you have to have an open mind and an appreciation for history, I think. For any modern mystery aficionado without these skills, they will likely be disappointed, just as those who don't care about bridges will be unmoved by examples of early bridges or Museums of Bridge Construction. So much is ridiculous by our standards--the detective, a newspaperman (not even a journalist, but an illustrator) is allowed unfettered access to roam the halls of a dead millionaire's home, questioning whomever, any suggestion that a lady might be less-than-honorable is met with horror from all parties, the stately home apparently has only two staff, and did you know the human bodies leaves fingerprints when they touch certain materials? It is assumed you don't, so early is this example.

It would be a two-star book if return today, because, well, it's just so awkward and kludgy, but I appreciate it in context, and it gets an extra bump for historical significance. Still, I hardly think anyone needs to read it--this is no classic of the stature of Dickens or Aeschylus, say--it's an early bridge, and that's about it.

(Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. I'm fairly good at picking for myself so end up with a lot of 4s). ( )
  ashleytylerjohn | Sep 19, 2018 |
How can you solve a mystery?
Trent had a hard time in this story. The facts are unclear and the journalist detective, called an artist, struggled to grasp then. The death of an american millionaire and the characteristics of his life were at the center of this plot. The book has plenty of descriptions and the characters interacted in a crescendo. At the end, the murder was solved but now in a conventional way. This is a book written before de WWI. It contained the seeds of the british Golden Age mysteries. A good reading for mysteries lovers. ( )
  MarcusBastos | Jun 17, 2017 |
My copy was published by Clue Publishing using the tiniest font I can imagine. What a pain. There are no page numbers so I can't tell how many pages.
  Stronghart | Nov 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bentley, E. C.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baldick, ChrisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gallego, Guillermo LópezTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hartun, Per A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rantanen, AulisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To

GILBERT KEITH CHESTERTON


My dear Gilbert,

I dedicate this story to you. First: because the only really noble motive I had in writing it was the hope that you would enjoy it. Second: because I owe you a book in return for "The Man Who Was Thursday." Third: because I said I would when I unfolded the plan of it to you, surrounded by Frenchmen, two years ago. Fourth: because I remember the past.

I have been thinking again to-day of those astonishing times when neither of us ever looked at a newspaper; when we were purely happy in the boundless consumption of paper, pencils, tea, and our elders' patience; when we embraced the most severe literature, and ourselves produced such light reading as was necessary; when (in the words of Canada's poet) we studied the works of nature, also those little frogs; when, in short, we were extremely young.

For the sake of that age I offer you this book.

Yours always,

E.C. BENTLEY
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Between what matters and what seems to matter, how should the world we know judge wisely?
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Malevolent American financier Sigsbee Manderson is dead, and the world's financial markets are sent into chaos at the news. Amateur detective and newspaper reporter Philip Trent arrives at Manderson's estate to look into the matter. Trent learns from Nathaniel Cupples, an old friend who is also Mrs. Mabel Manderson's uncle, that Sigsbee Manderson was detested by almost all who knew him, and in particular by his British secretary John Marlowe, his American secretary Calvin Bunner, and his new widow, Mabel, who exults at his death.

Trent observes a number of peculiarities about Manderson's body and seeks clues left on clothing and objects in the room. When Trent suggests that it might have been an affair between Mabel and Marlowe that contributed to Manderson's demise, Mabel reacts poorly, and Trent subsequently withdraws from the case. A year later, however, he meets Mabel Manderson again. Realizing he has fallen in love with her, he proposes marriage, and she accepts. Trent reopens the case, with results that have astonished readers ever since nearly as much as the detective himself. When the solution to the mystery is finally revealed, not by his own painstaking investigations, but by the genial, apparently inconsequential Cupples, Trent vows that the Manderson murder will be his last case.

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An American multimillionaire, a power in the world's finance, is murdered on his estate on the south coast of England. Half a dozen persons are presented to the reader as possible objects of suspicion — the dead man's young wife, his American secretary, his English secretary, an elderly Englishman with whom he has had a violent quarrel, his butler, and a French maid. Trent, a painter, who on several previous occasions has shown decided talent in solving criminal mysteries, is sent to the scene of the crime by a great London newspaper.

There is the inevitable foil in the person of Inspector Murch, of the official police, whose years of experience in the practical service of Scotland Yard avail him but little when pitted against the superior imagination of the brilliant amateur. Trent finds the key to a greater part of the mystery in a pair of worn patent leather shoes that had belonged to the dead American multi-millionaire, and in certain fingerprints. But the story of the affair that he writes out but does not send to his newspaper lacks accuracy in one or two important points, the explanation that seems to cover everything when the book has run less than two-thirds its course is not quite complete, and it is not until the final chapter is reached that the reader is in possession of the full account of the events surrounding the death of Sigsbee Manderson.

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Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400102081, 1400110815

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