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Trent's Last Case

Trent's Last Case

Written by E. C. Bentley

Narrated by Simon Vance


Trent's Last Case

Written by E. C. Bentley

Narrated by Simon Vance

ratings:
4/5 (21 ratings)
Length:
7 hours
Publisher:
Released:
May 25, 2009
ISBN:
9781400180813
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

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Also available as bookBook

Description

Considered by many to be the first modern mystery novel, Trent's Last Case introduces the gentleman sleuth Philip Trent, a freelance reporter and investigator. Trent becomes involved in the case of the murder of millionaire American financier Sigsbee Manderson, slain while on holiday in England. During the course of his investigation, Trent falls in love with one of the primary suspects. And while he collects evidence and becomes convinced that he has cracked the case, he turns out to be well off the mark.
Publisher:
Released:
May 25, 2009
ISBN:
9781400180813
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

E.C. Bentley (1875-1956) was an English novelist. The son of a civil servant and international rugby player, Bentley was raised in London and attended the prestigious St Paul’s School before attending Merton College, Oxford. In his professional career as a journalist, he worked for several newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph and The Outlook. In his first published book of poems, Biography for Beginners (1905), he invented the clerihew, a form of rhyming light verse consisting of four lines satirizing the biography of its subject. Popularized by Bentley, the form would be used by numerous writers, including G.K. Chesterton and W.H. Auden. In addition to two subsequent collections of poetry—More Biography (1929) and Baseless Biography (1939)—Bentley published the successful detective novel Trent’s Last Case (1913). The novel, which has been adapted three times for the cinema, earned the acclaim of such writers as Dorothy L. Sayers, and was followed by a sequel and a collection of short stories involving its main character. Bentley served for a number of years as president of the Detection Club, a society of British mystery writers that included Sayers, Chesterton, Agatha Christie, and Hugh Walpole, among others. Recognized as a central figure for twentieth century detective fiction, Bentley has inspired generations of writers and readers.

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Reviews

What people think about Trent's Last Case

3.9
21 ratings / 13 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    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).
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    Two main thoughts upon finishing this novel. One, the murderer, motive, and mysteries were much more complex than I guessed at when I was only a third of the way through. Two, if this is how people spoke at that point in time, the English language has undergone a sad sad diminishing. Enjoyed it, but it's filled with poetical references and "high falutin'" language, so it's not an easy read.
  • (1/5)
    I read this about 30 years ago and had forgotten most of it. So, I decided to re-read it. I'm sorry I did. The attitudes of the author are so uncomfortably racist/imperialist that I just had to give up when I reached the limerick towards the end. I did some research...Bentley worked as a journalist for "The Outlook" - an imperialist newspaper supposedly financed by Cecil Rhodes, the noted believer in white supremacy. So maybe Bentley's casual use of language reflects his world view more that just an "of the times" thing. He is oddly out of date for the late 1920s in his views in other ways, too - towards women, towards science (that section about Mercury and Chalk, for example).
  • (4/5)
    This very enjoyable old-fashioned (because it is old) mystery introduces us to the great painter-detetective-newspaperman Philip Trent as he tries to solve the murder of an American multimillionaire at his British residence. There are lots of twists, lots of long conversations, and pages and pages of summing up, but it is a pleasure all the way (I read it in one day). If you have the version with the Dorothy Sayers introduction, DO NOT READ IT FIRST as it is full of semi-spoilers.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (3/5)
    Who did it was a complete surprise to me! However, I found Trent to be a bit too "precious" for me and as a result found the story dragged in several places.
  • (3/5)
    Considered a bit of a breakthrough in the detective story because the sleuth is a bit of a bumbler, not the omniscient genius in the Sherlock Holmes mode. The classical education of the early twentieth-century British writer shows in the lengthy, but well-punctuated and readable, sentences. Although the somewhat florid writing would not pass muster with today's editors, it does not detract overmuch from the story. Trent, the detective, may have influenced Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey as he has the same propensity to "talk piffle," scattering allusions here and there. I more or less figured out the solution, but partly that's because the Dover edition I got from the library had a spoiler on the back cover! At the very end there is a distressing bit of that nearly unconscious racism that white writers were so prone to in those days (1913).
  • (4/5)
    Philip Trent has been called in by the newspaper to get to the bottom of a story and crime. He has has success on a few other cases, and everyone looks to him with high expectations. But somehow, the story never gets published. I enjoyed it, although it seemed a bit quaint in some of the mannerisms and language. Other parts seemed exceedingly modern for its times. As a murder mystery, it completely fooled me, and yet the author played fair all along. Reading it, I could certainly see the seeds of Lord Peter Wimsey, Poirot and many other detective stories of the Golden Age of mysteries. Loved the dedication to Chesterton, and Sayers' introduction was a good comparison and illustration to show why this is a special mystery. Also, I don't know who did the cover on my version, but I love the look of Philip Trent on it, even though I think the story said he had sandy tousled hair.
  • (4/5)
    Fifty Classics of Crime Fiction series. Very Clever twists. The light, amusing patter style and gentleman-detective amateur nicely handled. The victim, Sigsbee Manderson, is a capitalist-toad sucking the life of the people and is universally unmourned. The reader is quickly maneuvered into hoping that the guilty party gets away with it.
  • (5/5)
    This classic book deserves its reputation. Published in 1913, it involves a rich mean guy being killed on his south England estate and Phillip Trent is called in to solve the case. I had my own idea for the solution but of course it was not the author's--but was perfectly logical if one leaves aside the question of character. I almost gave this book five stars!
  • (3/5)
    Considered the grandaddy of 20th c. murder mysteries, this is Bentley's first novel written in 1912 in response his friend G. K. Chesterton's The Man Who was Thursday. Trent is a freelance reporter investigating the mysterious death of a wealthy English baron. This is a true whodunit, and you probably won't guess correctly. Agatha Christie obviously learned something from this Brit mystery, and she used it to write better, more clever novels.
  • (4/5)
    A little dry but good