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LESTRADE AND THE RIPPER
By M. J. Trow

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

Reviewed by J. Ashley (11/99)

Inspector Sholto Lestrade of Scotland Yard pits himself against the Whitechapel murderer in Volume VI of the Lestrade series. The year is 1888 and Lestrade is called in on a routine investigation of one Edmund Gurney, who died at a hotel in Brighton some months previously. The trail takes Lestrade from Brighton to a Northhamptonshire private school. When he arrives, a series of bizarre murders begins. But before long, Lestrade is called back to London to investigate a series of bizarre murders there.

Is there a connection between the Whitechapel murders and the murders at the school in Northhamptonshire? Lestrade believes there is. As he investigates the Whitechapel murders and the school murders (travelling frantically between Northhamptonshire and London), he receives a letter signed "Jack, the Ripper." The slim clue leads him to tie strands together and solve both cases--or does it?

Holmes and Watson flit in and out of this entertaining story, and Holmes and his disguises are delightfully spoofed. As usual, the flavor of the story is light, but behind the humor is a thoughtfulness that is the mark of good writing. I find the puns and double-entendre a little distracting, but that's my only criticism.

I like the way Trow has drawn Lestrade's character. Lestrade isn't brilliant, but he's persistent, sensible, and determined. Plus he has his own inner demons, a realistic view of his fellow man, and a kind heart. Maybe that's why he has a better sex life than Holmes!

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 DEADLY GAME, LESTRADE AND THE GUARDIAN ANGEL, LESTRADE AND THE HALLOWED HOUSE, LESTRADE AND THE LEVIATHAN, 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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