Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Merely Mystery Reading Challenge - Trent's Last Case by E.C. Bentley
Trent's Last Case follows the titular character, who amusingly, doesn't solve the case at the end (in his deduction, he was tricked by the murderer). It's really amusing, and doesn't have much (if any) of a serious tone.
Trent, the hero of the story, is overly-romantic and prone to dramatics. In a way, he's like an "eccentric detective" but exaggerated. His introduction as a detective is equally implausible - he's an artist, but is sent as a reporter by a paper. But still, he's a very likable character, he's honest about his flaws, and below the drama there's a kind person underneath.
As for the plot, it was full of drama. Really, I should just tell you that this is a very dramatic book, but it's the drama that makes it fun to read, in fact, I can't believe it's published in 1913. I guess it just goes to show that good books can and will endure.
So, here are three of my favourite quotes:
"Like the poet who died in Rome, so young and poor, a hundred years ago, he was buried far away from his own land, but for all the men and women of Manderson's people who flock round the tomb of Keats in the cemetery under the Monte Testaccio, there is not one, nor ever will be, to stand in reverence by the rich man's grave beside the little church of Marlstone."
To set this quote in context, this is the ending of the first chapter, which introduces us to the victim Manderson, who was a high-flier in the world of Wall Street/Finance. After reading this, I can't help but think that he's making fun of the Quaternary industry.
Here's a quote about one of the supporting characters:
"He was thinking about breakfast. In his case, the colloquialism must be taken literally: he really was thinking about breakfast, as he thought about every conscious act of his life when time allowed deliberation. He reflected that on the preceding day the excitement and activity following upon the discovery of the dead man had disorganised his appetite, and led to his taking considerably less nourishment than usual. This morning he was very hungry, having already been up and about for an hour; and he decided to allow himself a third piece of toast and an additional egg; the rest as usual. The remaining deficit must be made up at luncheon, but that could be gone into later."
And of course, Trent himself, is an enthusiastic, maybe over-enthusiastic detective:
"Some of these things have to be put back where they belong in somebody's bedroom at White Gables before night. That's the sort of man I am - nothing stops me."
If you haven't read this book, I really encourage you to do so. It's a really fun read.
So to re-cap: I read this book for the Merely Mystery Reading Challenge, and for once, it's not a cosy but a parody. ^^