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    Gateway Editions, September 2000

    Inspector Lestrade, perenial foil in the Sherlock Holmes stories, is back with a mystery of his own. An apparent serial killer has struck. Several men are dead of bludgening, the connecting clue a maze drawn near the corpses. As Lestrade and his Sergeant George George investigate the mystery grows deeper. There is no apparent connection among the victims who live all over Victorian England. Descriptions of the apparent killers vary dramatically. The only thing in common is that no one is especially sorry to see them dead--all were, in some way, undesirable characters.

    M. J. Trow writes a funny and witty book, introducing Sherlock Holmes and Watson as comedic foils in much the same way Conan-Doyle used Lestrade. While Lestrade tries to investigate, Holmes insults his technique and needs frequent rescue (and Watson creates a menace of himself with his trusty service revolver). The cockney-accented dialogues between workers discussing the dialectic are especially amusing bookends to the novel.

    I am certain that Trow intended the blackface scene near the end of the novel to be similarly amusing. It was, in fact, offensive as was his use of the 'N' word (frequently) during this scene. This, along with a general air of unfeeling were disappointments in an overall amusing and pleasant novel.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 10/23/02

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