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Editorial Reviews

Simon Vance excels here at what he does best: portraying through accent, pace, and intonation the traditional British social outlook. Fans of the classic detective story will delight in a novel that's wonderfully rooted in pre-WWI Britain - and probably could not have been written or published in any other time or place. With its vintage race and gender attitudes and its bland and unquestioning assumptions about class, merit, and social standing, that milieu is as interesting, or more so, as the murder case that sends Trent into retirement. Perfectly articulated by Vance - whose mimicry of the female voice is not, alas, its finest feature - this novel from the old school is a curiosity, a connoisseur's piece, and an afternoon's worth of listening pleasure.

Publisher's Summary

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 when the real murderer tells Trent just how wrong his conclusions were. An inspiration to writers like Agatha Christie and G.K. Chesterton, Trent's Last Case is a classic of the mystery genre.

(P)2006 Tantor Media, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"The prototype of the modern detective novel." (The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Roxane
  • RIO RANCHO, NM, United States
  • 06-17-10

A real find!

As a fan of "The Golden Age of British Mysteries," I had read frequent allusions to this book as one of the founding works of the genre, but had never come across a copy. So I was thrilled to find this version read by Simon Vance, whom I think is one of the most reliably good readers in the business.

And the book lived up to the hype--it contains foreshadowings of everyone from Sayers to Tey, and is a very satisfying and well-written tale in its own right.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A classic but that much of a classic

I would venture to guess that most people haven't heard of this book, though I think it has an interesting place in history of detective fiction. The blatant racism of the day does appear in the story, which I always find a bit disappointing and unnerving. I can get past that, as one has to do to enjoy golden era detective fiction, but I just wasn't as engaged in the story as with other mysteries that I've read. That said, here is what I like and appreciate about it: 1. I had no idea what was going on. I didn't know the solution to this whodunnit. 2. Neither did the detective, but not because he was a dummy, but rather because the author wanted to make a point. Bentley was tired of all the brilliant literary detectives neatly wrapping up cases, when in reality, people are fallible. In this way, this book is both an early golden age mystery and a send-up of one, which is pretty brilliant. Still, I just wasn't wowed by the writing, though I'd give it 3.5 stars if I could!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Simon Vance wonderful as always

I've listened to Trent's Last Case twice now. It is an unusual detective story, delightfully so. It is a great diversion from the usual police procedural or the gumshoe detective who always gets his man. The literary aspects of the story, as well as Trent's attributes, reminds me of P.D. James's Adam Dalgliesh but without the melancholy. It is a novel that challenges your imagination and is great fun. Plus, Simon Vance narrates, as usual, to perfection.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Good story as long as you don't mind delays

I was unsure what to expect with this, and was pleasantly surprised. My only complaint about this was that the plot too so many detours that I kept losing interest. If I had been reading this book I would have either skipped chapters or not finished it. Due to the delightful narration I kept listening with only mild annoyance. I will be looking for more works by this author and especially more works by the narrator.

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Trents last case

interesting and enjoyable book, great narrator

  • Overall
    out of 5 stars

Twist

Good Anti-Detective :-)

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Bought for Simon Vance narration

Is there anything you would change about this book?

No. It is rather forgettable as it is.

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

Maybe.

Which scene was your favorite?

Can't remember a single one! However, I do remember lots of scenes from The Watch That Ends The Night: Voices from the Titanic.

Did Trent's Last Case inspire you to do anything?

To be more selective in my ordering, perhaps paying more for some of my Audiobooks than in the past.

Any additional comments?

When this book was finished I remember thinking, well that was okay. Apparently it takes more than loving to hear Simon Vance's narration for something to stick in my memory.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful