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Trent's Last Case

Trent's Last Case by Edmund Clerihew Bentley
By: (1875-1956)

This is one of a series of EC Bentley novels featuring the highly erudite artist qua reporter / detective, Philip Trent.

In it, Trent is sent to a charming English seaside village to cover the murder of Sigsbee Manderson for a large London newspaper. The victim is an unpopular and extremely powerful financial tycoon, who is murdered virtually within sight of his own house, at a time when it seems impossible that anyone there – to say nothing of all of its more than half dozen inhabitants – could have failed to see or hear the crime being committed.

As Trent pokes around, attention is focused on Manderson’s extremely troubled marriage, not least because Trent himself falls in love with Margaret Manderson, the widow of the murdered man. At the same time, Trent himself considers her to be at least complicit in the crime for much of the novel. The plot cannot be described further without spoiling the punch-line, as it were. Indeed, to the really clever detective fiction-lover, this is already almost saying too much.Trent’s Last Case was on the “ten best” list of Rex Stout, author of the famous Nero Wolfe mysteries. Like Stout, Bentley has a fondness for complex plot twists of the “boxes within boxes” variety.

(Introduction by Kirsten Wever)

First Page:



Copyright, 1913, by The Century Co. NEW YORK Published, March, 1913

"... So shall you hear Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters, Of deaths put on by cunning, and forc'd cause, And, in this upshot, purposes mistook Fall'n on the inventors' heads ..."

Hamlet .


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... Continue reading book >>

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Reviews (Rated: 5 Stars - 3 reviews)

Reviewer: - November 21, 2014
Subject: Trents Last Case
A very good story with unsuspected twists, the reader is clear and consistent as a robot reading the story would be.
Reviewer: - July 2, 2013
Good story very well read. Thank you.
Reviewer: - February 18, 2013
Subject: Great story
A great mystery with a lot of twists. Great characters.

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