Read between: 19th-21st September
Number of pages: 224
Published: April 1st 2000
Publisher: Gateway Editions
Synopsis: It is 1891, and London is still reeling from the horror of the unsolved Jack the Ripper murders when Inspector Sholto Lestrade is sent to the Isle of Wight to investigate a strange corpse found walled up in Shanklin Cline. Lestrade whirls from ballroom and barroom, from vicarage to spiritualist gather, from the studio of the celebrated Alma-Tadema to 221B Baker Street with spell-binding panache.
Review: Usually, Holmes and Watson are the main focus of Holmes pastiches, and there are many of them! This is the first one I have heard of that switches it up, and focuses on a side character, Holmes go to when it comes to crime, Inspector Lestrade (first name Sholto in this novel). It was nice to see something different.
Rather than Scotland Yard however, Lestrade has changed departments, working now for H- Division, the police department made famous for their part in the Jack the Ripper murders- and the Ripper murders have a small significance to the case that surrounds this story. Why? Well, because of the similarities between the two cases, the main example, is the anonymous poems, typed by a typewriter, sent only to Lestrade. The Ripper did something similar to the detectives who were chasing him.
The case itself was very cleverly done, there was a link between them all obviously, when it was revealed I didn’t expect something quite so sinister. A book of children’s tales, used as an inspiration for serial killings.Not even Lestrade himself was safe- although, fortunately, he catches the killer in time before his life is ended.
One thing to note, is that Lestrade definitely isn’t as stupid as he seems in the original stories. A point he makes, which I liked, because it broke the fourth wall in a Deadpool esque way, but made the point that Arthur Conan Doyle is paid by John Watson to write his memoirs.
It was nice to have a cameo from Holmes, Watson and their creator in snippets of the story, even if Holmes dies and Watson and Doyle are murder suspects- still, a nice acknowledgment from the author about where the character came from originally.
I admit, to me, the writing was a little simple in places, but as a crime novel, it’s very well done. I love Holmes pastiches and this has been on my TBR for a while so I’m glad I’ve finally gotten around to reading it.
I actually really liked it and it was nice to re-visit the characters.
Thanks for reading!