Buy this book?

Buy this book?

LESTRADE AND THE DEADLY GAME
By M. J. Trow

Regnery Press, Hardcover, 208 pages (August, 1999) $19.95

Reviewed by J. Ashley (11/99)

Whenever I encounter sleuths that were historical people or fictional characters in another author's book, I ask one question as I read: If this character were completely unknown to me prior to this story, would the book still stand up on its own?

In this case, the answer is an emphatic Yes!

The Lestrade books are funny, thoughtful, and just plain fun. No, they aren't heavy with messages or philosophy, but Trow, despite all the puns and running gags, manages to write engaging stories that don't ignore the dark side of Victorian and Edwardian England.

In this volume, the year is 1908. London hosts the Olympic Games, and Lestrade is on the scene. The son of the Marquess of Bolsover is found dead (shot). It is apparently a suicide, but Lestrade and the marquess think not. This death is followed immediately by the murder (stabbed) of Hans-Rudiger Hesse, a German journalist.

Lestrade then meets an American journalist, MaryLou Adams of the Washington Post, in England to cover the Olympic Games. She knew the German, and Lestrade keeps his eye on her as the investigation continues (it doesn't hurt that she's attractive). After another murder (poison), Lestrade lands himself in a brawl at the Royal Yacht Club involving the Duchess of Westminster, MaryLou Adams, Princess Beatrice, and the teams of the Norwegian, French, Belgian, and Swedish yacht racers.

More murders stalk the games and participants, and it is up to Lestrade to connect the pieces. He works tirelessly (or is it tiredly?) to solve the case, while constantly facing interference from the Suffragettes, Scotland Yard's Mounted Division, the Surete, the Berlin Police, Pinkerton's, Special Branch, and the Foreign Office. But Lestrade persists, using common sense and dogged police work to come to the his conclusions.

The Lestrade books can be read in any order. This particular book is Volume V, but it is set later in time than Volumes VI and VIII, and earlier than Volume VII. Each book gives away nothing of the last. As usual, it's a fun, quick read that leaves me wanting more Lestrade.

Other books in the series include: THE ADVENTURES OF INSPECTOR LESTRADE, BRIGADE: FURTHER ADVENTURES OF LESTRADE, LESTRADE AND THE BROTHER OF DEATH, LESTRADE AND THE GUARDIAN ANGEL, LESTRADE AND THE HALLOWED HOUSE, LESTRADE AND THE LEVIATHAN, LESTRADE AND THE RIPPER, THE MANY FACES OF JACK THE RIPPER, MAXWELL'S HOUSE, THE SUPREME ADVENTURES OF INSPECTOR LESTRADE, and to be published in 2000, LESTRADE AND THE GIFT OF THE PRINCE.


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