Published in 1913, Trent’s Last Case is considered one of the first “whodunits” – stories in which new clues appear throughout, making it possible for readers to feel as if they’re solving the crime along with the detective. Also, this Philip Trent mystery includes a “less than perfect” sleuth – in contrast to Sherlock Holmes. Agatha Christie called it one of the three best mystery stories ever written.
Reflect: Check out the conversation starters below.
Certainty of Achievement – “There are moments in life … when that which is within us … lets escape into consciousness some hint of a fortunate thing ordained. Who does not know what it is to feel at times a wave of unaccountable persuasion that it is about to go well with him [and] success is at hand … The general suddenly knows at dawn that the day will bring him victory; the man on the green suddenly knows that he will put down the long putt. As Trent mounted the stairway outside the library door he seemed to rise into certainty of achievement.” Ever feel certain of your own achievement — a gut sense that everything’s going your way?
Fear – The “only thing that held [Trent] back was fear of an unfamiliar task. To react against fear had become a fixed moral habit with him.” Can anyone identify? Carolyn sure can.
The Modern Woman – Cupples says, “I have observed a sort of imitative hardness out of the products of the higher education of women to-day which would carry them through anything.” However, he says Mabel is different – refined, reserved, and filled with “womanly mystery.” For his part, Trent “went through life full of a strange respect for certain feminine weakness and a very simple terror of certain feminine strength.” Bentley sure seems terrified of women …
Tea, Tonic, and Toxin is a book club and podcast for people who love mysteries, thrillers, introspection, and good conversation. Each month, your hosts, Sarah Harrison and Carolyn Daughters, will discuss a game-changing mystery or thriller from the 19th and 20th centuries. Together, we’ll see firsthand how the genre evolved.
Along the way, we’ll entertain ideas, prospects, theories, doubts, and grudges, along with the occasional guest. And we hope to entertain you, dear friend. We want you to experience the joys of reading some of the best mysteries and thrillers ever written.
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