Philip Trent4 books in series
Trent’s Last Case Publisher's Summary
This is a whodunit that neatly fits into the history of detective fiction. It features artist Philip Trent as he unexpectedly becomes an amateur detective. Some of his carefully collected information often proved erroneous. It begins when a wealthy American plutocrat, Bigsbee Manderson, uses his finances in attempt to establish rules controlling society. When Manderson is found murdered on the grounds of his country house in England, Trent is hired as a reporter by a press association to investigate and file reports. The investigating officer from Scotland Yard, Inspector Murch, is an old acquaintance of Trent, and this gives the “new” detective contacts resulting in clues of both significant and spurious nature.
The unusual aspect of this story, first published in 1913, is that although Trent winds up with the correct solution, he was so worn down he declared it would be his last case. It was 23 years later before author Bentley wrote another Trent story and began it with a recap of what happened in the “last case”. Along the way, Trent becomes romantically interested in the character referred to in this book’s subtitle as "The Lady in Black". Was she the widow of the murdered man? It’s probably better for us to let you hear the whole story, beginning now.
Originally published in 1913.