It is 1891 and Londoners are still coming to terms with the unsolved mystery of Jack the Ripper. Melville McNaghten, the head of C.I.D. tries to hide the file containing information about Ripper from Lestrade. Lestrade has played an important role in finding clues and suspects in the Ripper case and now, Lestrade is not allowed to proceed further. However, Arabella, McNaghten’s daughter, steals the file from her father’s desk and hands it over to Lestrade. Lestrade is happy to see the list of the final four suspects in the Ripper case.
The story is then divided into chapters where each chapter corresponds to an unsolved murder case. The first story is The Man in the Chine – the gruesomely murdered and decomposed body of a man is found in the Shanklin Chine and Lestrade is sent to investigate the case as it closely resembles the M.O. of Ripper. After a series of investigations – from a poet to the military, Lestrade is not able to find the murderer.
The second story is Ball of Lightning. Lord Frederick Hurstmonceux is found brutally murdered while on a hunting trip. A pack of 40 or so foxhounds gores him to death. Frederick was notoriously known for torturing and killing animals in the gruesome way possible. Was someone trying to avenge the killing of these animals?
The vicar’s daughter is the story of Harriet Elizabeth Wemyss, a 17-year-old girl who is found burned to death in her house. The vicar and Harriet’s father – Wemyss, believes that his daughter was murdered. But why? Although Lestrade knows that the girl did not die as a result of instant human combustion, he cannot find the murderer.
Three of Spades – Atlanta Washington, an ex-slave is humiliated in public by three men. The three men are then found dead in the Battersea Park, covered from head to toe in black paint. This sinister-looking murder case takes a turn when Lestrade finds out that the paint was stolen from a renowned painter – Alma Tameda.
The subsequent deaths of Albert Mauleverer, Forbes, Augustus, Philip Faye, and John Torquil increase the body count to eleven. Who will be the next victim? Will Lestrade be able to solve the mystery behind these killings?
This is the second book by M.J.Trow that I have read and I absolutely loved it! Be it his writing style – which is weird, quirky and one of a kind, be the story – a Pastiche of Sherlock Holmes, or the characters – Lestrade, Dew, Bandicoot (yes, you read it right!), Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr.Watson, everything in this book is interesting.
The story is a mixture of murder mystery and humor, and a little bit of romance – just a teeny-weeny bit of it. Never imagined Lestrade to be of the romantic kind, but one does get to see his cheesy side in this book. The characters are absolutely marvelous – the conversations between Lestrade and Sherlock Holmes are not to be missed!
There’s a whole lot of clues and good detective work, with a bit of silly humor here and there, which makes the story even more interesting. The ending is unexpected. With the most famous characters being on the list of suspects, the story takes a 180-degree turn in the end. The murderer, well, even Lestrade couldn’t believe his eyes when he knew who it was! And, nor could I!
My favorite part of the book is when Lestrade gets the name of the painter – Alma Tameda wrong. Initially, he says it right – Alma Tameda. Then it is Mala-Teda, followed by Alma-Mater and finally, Alda-Tamer. Then the conversation between Dr.Watson and Lestrade where Watson accuses Conan Doyle of copying his work and Lestrade points out that he is termed as an ‘imbecile’ in the book, which is of course not true because he just recognized the old-hag downstairs as Sherlock Holmes.
If you love to read a good pastiche of Sherlock Holmes, then This is The Book! I have decided to read all the books in Inspector Lestrade series. It is super funny, super quirky and super interesting.
My Rating: 5/5
Title: The Adventures of Inspector Lestrade
Published on: April 1st, 2000
Genre: Fiction, Crime, Mystery
Featured Image Credits: Goodreads.com
Thank you, NetGalley and Thistle Publishing for the ARC.