cover image Brigade: Further Adventures of Lestrade

Brigade: Further Adventures of Lestrade

M. J. Trow. Gateway Editions, $19.95 (219pp) ISBN 978-0-89526-342-1

Cleverly plotted and fast paced, this exciting tale brings back Trow's incarnation of Conan Doyle's Sholto Lestrade (The Adventures of Inspector Lestrade; Forecasts, Aug. 3), showing him to be a shrewd, intelligent and formidable investigator. In 1893, the new assistant commissioner of Scotland Yard, Nimrod Frost, sends Lestrade to Cornwall, where one William Lamb has been killed by a wild animal. Upon Lestrade's return, ex-police sergeant Beastie Beeson makes known to the inspector his suspicions that an old mate, Joe Towers, was murdered. Indeed, an autopsy confirms that Towers was poisoned with cyanide. The demise of a lighthouse keeper then brings Lestrade to Norfolk; while investigating that death, the inspector not only meets Kaiser Wilhelm but is suspended for attempting to attack the German ruler. Even so, Lestrade is sent undercover to delve into yet another death, by poison. During the ensuing months, Lestrade discovers that, 40 years before, all of the murdered men had participated in the Charge of the Light Brigade. The novel's cast of cameo celebrities (Winston Churchill, Bram Stoker, Henry Irving, even an infant Basil Rathbone) seems a contrivance. Otherwise, Trow offers a genuinely humorous pastiche buoyed by a refreshing irreverence too often absent from Conan Doyle knockoffs. (Nov.)