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Summary

Written in reaction to what Bentley perceived as the sterility and artificiality of the detective fiction of his day, Trent's Last Case features Philip Trent, an all-too-human detective who not only falls in love with the chief suspect but reaches a brilliant conclusion that is totally wrong.

Trent's Last Case begins when millionaire American financier Sigsbee Manderson is murdered while on holiday in England. A London newspaper sends Trent to investigate, and he is soon matching wits with Scotland Yard's Inspector Murth as they probe ever deeper in search of a solution to a mystery filled with odd, mysterious twists and turns.

Called by Agatha Christie 'one of the best detective stories ever written', Trent's Last Case delights with its flesh-and-blood characters, its naturalness and easy humour, and its style, which, as Dorothy Sayers has noted, 'ranges from a vividly coloured rhetoric to a delicate and ironical literary fancy'.

©1913 Estate of E. C. Bentley; Introduction © John Curran 2017; Afterword © Estate of Dorothy L. Sayers (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic reviews

"The finest detective story of modern times." (G. K. Chesterton)
"A masterpiece of detective fiction." (Edgar Wallace)
" Trent's Last Case holds a very special place in the history of detective fiction. A tale of unusual brilliance and charm - startlingly original." (Dorothy L. Sayers)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kl Love
  • Wassenaar Netherlands
  • 15-10-17

An exceptionally clever plot

This is another of the lovely 'period' mysteries, whose depiction of time and place is a pleasure in itself. This was a world in which it was necessary to explain what the rearview mirror in a car was, and what it was for; in which tobacco was a universal solace and a celebration supper still consisted of mutton.
But this is also a very cleverly-plotted mystery, with several twists that I didn't foresee (including the last one, which came as a real surprise). The character of Trent is mildly attractive, being a classic, slightly eccentric gentleman sleuth. One does not become deeply engaged with any of the characters, but they are interesting and sympathetic enough to hold ones interest.
The narrator did a excellent job, with good pacing and a pleasant voice. He manages to make the characters distinctive, without straining to 'act them out' in a literal sense.
I found this an unusually enjoyable listen, one of the best of its genre. A real pleasure.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Euphuistic hero in contrived plot.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Euphuism (got that off Stephen Fry) might have been fine in 1913 but more used to the laconic detectives of later decades I was, after 8 and half hours, fed up with it. Another version cuts the book to 3 hours. Good as a renowned period piece.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The brazen contrivance of the plot.
The hero.

What three words best describe Steven Crossley’s voice?

Tedious. Monotonous. Slow.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

Having read the book I might, just to see what they made of it.

Any additional comments?

The advertised afterword from Dorothy Sayers seems to be missing.
Narration is improved by tweaking the speed up a bit.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interest story

Founded couldn't stop listening, reader, very well read
Good voice story fascinating lots of twists and turns

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

No Sayers afterword

Would you try another book written by E. C. Bentley and Dorothy L. Sayers - afterword or narrated by Steven Crossley?

No. The narrator was fine, but a bit lifeless, a day the story fairly predictable in the end.

Would you recommend Trent's Last Case to your friends? Why or why not?

No, at least not in this format. I bought it to hear the afterword as much as anything, which isn't actually included at all.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

An interesting piece of "periodiana"

Slow and leisurely paced with a few twists. An interesting idea that could have been more deftly crafted.