'The Adventures of Inspector Lestrade' by M. J. Trow
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Book four in the Inspector Lestrade series.
It is 1891 and London is still reeling from the horror of the unsolved Ripper murders when Inspector Lestrade (that ‘ferret-like’ anti-hero so often out-detected by the legendary Sherlock Holmes) is sent to the Isle of Wight to investigate a strange corpse found walled up in Shanklin Chine.
But this is only the start of the nightmare. It is merely the beginning of a series of killings so brutal, so bizarre and, apparently, so random, that only a warped genius – and a master of disguise – could be responsible. Even when Lestrade pieces together the extraordinary pattern behind the crimes from the anonymous poems sent after each murder, he is no closer to knowing the identity of the sinister, self-styled ‘Agrippa’, the ‘great, long, red-legg’d scissor-man’.
It becomes a very personal battle and Lestrade’s desperate race to avert the next death in the sequence takes him all over the country, from London to the Pennines and back, resulting in a portfolio of suspects which covers the entire range of late-Victorian society.