Sven Olufsen has spent two years in the C division of the police department while Arnold Bang (yes, you read it right!) has spent three years in lost property – both are now rookies in the crime department. It is their first case and they have a clumsy beginning on their first day.
Superintendent Sholto Lestrade, apart from sharing his name with the fictional Inspector Lestrade of Sherlock Holmes, is known for solving the cases with a high closure rate. And so is Walter Dew, a Chief Inspector with the Department of Police. Lestrade and Dew are at a party when an earthquake strikes half of London.
Rachel Bunting is the widow of the 71-year-old Dr. Spencer Bunting. Although the difference between Rachel and her late husband is 47 years (!!!), she claims that she married him because she was in love with him. However, the mysterious disappearance of Maggie Nunn, maid of the Buntings, a day after Dr. Bunting’s death, raises suspicions.
Mary Daley lives with her cantankerous and evil mother-in-law and Willie – Mary and Thomas’ son. Thomas was hanged to death for brutally murdering a woman seven years ago. Mary is in for a shock when her supposedly dead husband is at the door!
There are four victims altogether – 1) Norman Eccles, a lunatic 2) James Tooke, a journalist from the Graphic 3) Dr. Spencer Bunting and 4) Captain Hugo Vickers, big game hunter and explorer. What is it that connects these four murder victims? Lestrade and his gang will have to go down to the sewer tunnels of London to solve this mystery.
The story is a mixture of nonsensical humor along with a decent amount of detective work. The characters are seriously funny! Lestrade initially believes that there has been a typographical mistake and Arnold Bang’s name is being misspelled. Bang tells him that “BANG” is, in fact, his surname.
The story is in the form of a narration from Walter Dew (now retired) to his daughter Ethel Martin. Ethel is a bossy wife – she almost always ignores her husband Albert and a devoted daughter. Silly doings of the characters will make you laugh.
With so many suspects and bullying and kidnapping and what not, the story has a lot of twists and turns. And, as the title suggests, there are rats. Lots of rats in the sewers of London, but what does it have to do with the case? Oh well, it is all revealed in the end. The relation between the murder victims and the perpetrators, the earthquake and sudden weather changes in London, everything is explained in the end! And believe me, there is nothing (para)normal about it!
Did I like the book? I LOVED IT! Do not go by the name, Lestrade has nothing to do with Sherlock Holmes but… there is a secret society mentioned in the book and one of its member is none other than Arthur Conan Doyle!
I loved the author’s style of writing. It is unique and hilarious! The story and the characters reminded me of the Martin Beck Series by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo.
Excerpt from the book
“What’s known, Olufsen?’ Lestrade asked.
‘The deceased was Hugo Vickers, late Captain, Basuto Rifles. Resigned his commision six years ago. Became a big game hunter and explorer in Africa and the Far East. Wrote three books – Look ‘Em Straight in the Eye; Don’t Shoot Till You See the Whites of their Eyes; and Living with Aye-Ayes.’
‘Aye-Ayes?’ Lestrade hadn’t got out much recently.
‘Yes. I had to look them up, too, guv. Apparently, they’re highly aberrant(whatever that means) members of the primate family. They’re about the size of a cat, with rat-like teeth.’
Aye-Ayes! Now you know what I am talking about! 😀 A murder-mystery with loads of humor – that is what Lestrade and the Giant Rat of Sumatra is all about. A must-read for all those who love to have a good laugh and love a good detective story.
My Rating: 4.5/5
Title: Lestrade and the Giant Rat of Sumatra
Author: M.J. Trow
Published on: 23rd April 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.
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Purchase Links: Book Depository