E.C. Bentley

Edmund Clerihew Bentley


Born: 10 July 1875, London

Died: 30 March 1956, London

Detective: Philip Trent

E.C. Bentley’s reputation rests on Trent’s Last Case (1913), a book as monumentally important as Chesterton’s Innocence of Father Brown.  The novel humanizes the detective, turning him from an infallible superman into an ordinary man who makes mistakes and falls in love with his chief suspect.

A novel, Trent’s Own Case (1936), and a short story collection, Trent Intervenes (1938), followed a quarter of a century later.


  1. Trent’s Last Case (1913) *****
  2. Trent’s Own Case (1936) ***
  3. Trent Intervenes (1938)
  4. Elephant’s Work (1950) **

Trent’s Last Case – What they say

Dorothy L. Sayers: “It is the one detective story of the present century which I am certain will go down to posterity as a classic.  It is a masterpiece.”

Agatha Christie: “one of the three best detective stories ever written.”

Freeman Wills Crofts: “I have read the book three times with an increased interest each time; one of the very best detective stories extant.”

J.J. Connington: “Mr. Bentley’s record is, so far as I know, without a parallel…  a detective story which appeals to women as well as to men.  It does not date: it might have been written yesterday.”

Ronald Knox: “I suppose somebody might write another story as good as Trent’s Last Case, but I have been waiting nearly twenty years for it to happen.”

R. Austin Freeman: “the literary workmanship is of a quality that must satisfy the most fastidious reader.”

G.D.H. and M.I. Cole: “The best detective story we have ever read.”

Edgar Wallace: “Trent’s Last Case is a masterpiece of detective fiction.”

J.S. Fletcher: “the very best and cleverest detective story I have ever read.”

Dean Inge: “the best detective story I ever read”

Frank Swinnerton: “the finest long detective story ever written”

Dr. Alington: “impossible to imagine a better detective story”