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Trent's Last Case

E. C. Bentley

Book Overview: 

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.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .To Mr. Murch he said aloud: 'Well, I'll draw the bedroom later on. What about this?'

'They call it the library,' said the inspector. 'Manderson used to do his writing and that in here; passed most of the time he spent indoors here. Since he and his wife ceased to hit it off together, he had taken to spending his evenings alone, and when at this house he always spent 'em in here. He was last seen alive, as far as the servants are concerned, in this room.'

Trent rose and glanced again through the papers set out on the table. 'Business letters and documents, mostly,' said Mr. Murch. 'Reports, prospectuses, and that. A few letters on private matters, nothing in them that I can see. The American secretary—Bunner his name is, and a queerer card I never saw turned—he's been through this desk with me this morning. He had got it into his head that Manderson had been receiving threatening letters, and that the murder was the outcome of that. But . . . Read More

Community Reviews

Perhaps the first "cosy" detective story. Has the distinction of being lauded by Dorothy Sayers and derided by Raymond Chandler.

The plot is clever, and still works today, even if the setting seems alien to the modern reader.

Extra points from me because E.C. Bentley was my great grandfather.

Odd to give 5 stars to a mystery whose first half seemed stilted and somewhat formulaic. Yet if it seems formulaic, in part it's because, having been written in 1913, it invents part of the formula.

But then comes the second half. Unfolding one of the most complicated plots ever put down in writi...more

No hay nada como comenzar el año con un buen libro.

Desde el punto de vista actual esta novela no tiene nada que sorprenda mucho, pero fue un punto de inflexión en el género cuando se publicó (al menos en el mundo anglosajón). Acostumbrados a detectives racionales y siempre acertados como el Holme...more

A Golden Age mystery with many, many twists and turns. Phillip Trent, a well known amateur sleuth is called in to investigate the murder of millionaire businessman Sigbee Manderson.

What starts off as a seemingly straight forward murder mystery develops into a convoluted and perplexing mystery. T...more

4.5★

I loved this book, & only one major plot hole (& a too long finale) stopped me giving it 5★!

I thought this was a thirties mystery and found out half way through my read that it was a groundbreaking novel from 1913!

Journalist E C Bentley originally wrote it as a parody & the tone v...more

E. C. Bentley is a British mystery writer of the golden age, though of far less repute than authors like Dorothy Sayers and Margery Allingham. In this novel (published in 1913), an American mogul named Manderson has been murdered and his body discovered under various contradictory circumstances i...more

Philip Trent, a fairly successful artist, who also has a remarkable talent for solving the most baffling of murders and writing dispatches on them for the Record, is called in by the paper when the great financial giant, Sigsbee Manderson is found dead in mysterious circumstances. Was it suicide...more

Bentley, E. C. (Edmund Clerihew). (1913). ****.
I remember trying to read this widely praised detective novel about forty years ago, but wa put off by the style of writing used by the author. Forty years later, I’m better able to recognize temporal differences and preferences in style and success...more

This book, which was published in 1913, gets three stars for the mystery (and one of those is for the satisfying final twist). It gets 1/2 star for reputedly being the first "golden age" British mystery. It gets another 1/2 star because the great Dorothy L Sayers was a friend (and fan) of the aut...more

A slow opening with huge chunks of twisty prose. But ever so enjoyable afterwards. Reads pretty much like a modern mystery novel, for all that it was written in 1913.

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