Author(s): E. Clerihew Bentley
When a scheming American capitalist is found dead in the garden of his English country house, two immediate matters confound amateur detective Philip Trent: why is the dead man not wearing his false teeth, and why is his young widow seemingly relieved at his death? The newly widowed Mabel Manderson - 'the lady in black' - has a disarming effect on the refreshingly fallible and imaginative Trent, in this classic detective story that twists and turns with ingenious deductions and misplaced assumptions.
E. C. Bentley was a popular English novelist and humorist of the early twentieth century, and the inventor of the clerihew, an irregular form of humorous verse on biographical topics. His first published collection of poetry, Biography for Beginners (1905), popularised the clerihew form; it was followed by two other collections, in 1929 and 1939. His detective novel, Trent's Last Case (1913), was much praised, and with its labyrinthine and mystifying plotting can be seen as the first truly modern mystery. The success of the work inspired him, after 23 years, to write a sequel, Trent's Own Case (1936). There was also a book of Trent short stories, Trent Intervenes.