Cambridge, 1583. About to graduate from Corpus Christi, the young Christopher Marlowe spends his days studying Virgil and Aristotle, and his nights carousing with old friends. But when one of them, Ralph Whittingside, is discovered lying dead in his King’s College room, mouth open in a silent scream, Marlowe refuses to accept the official verdict of suicide.
"Trow Tries to Rehabilitate Marlow's Reputation"
The year is 1888 and Jack the Ripper terrorises the East End of London; all the victims are found in Whitechapel – but Scotland Yard has to look into another suspicious death, that of Edmund Gurney in Brighton. Foremost amongst the Yard’s top men is young Inspector Sholto Lestrade. It is to his lot that a number of unsolved cases fall – cases that include the murder of a former Whitechapel prostitue, and that of Gurney.
"This is pretty good"
The position of Assistant Headteacher has become available at Leighford High, but Peter "Mad Max" Maxwell won't be applying. He has his hands full juggling his beloved Sixth Form, fatherhood and impending marriage. When a member of staff dies after a special lunch for the prospective Assistant Headteachers, Maxwell's hopes for a quiet term, followed by a quiet wedding, are swiftly shattered, as he finds himself embroiled in yet another sinister murder case.
It is a puzzle that has faced Scotland Yard from the beginning - whose was the limbless body found among the foundations? And in the murderous world of Sholto Lestrade, one question is invariably followed by another - what do a lecherous rector, a devious speculator and a plagiarist novelist all have in common? Answer: they're all dead - each of them with a bloody space where his head used to be. And six others are to join them before our intrepid inspector brings the perpetrator to book.
"listen marred by racist humour"
The murder of Sarah Culdrose is just the first in a series of mysterious and often gruesome deaths that London's subterranean trains will witness. The deceased - all women - pile up quickly. There is a maniac at large, and Inspector Sholto Lestrade of Scotland Yard is detailed to work with the Railway Police. The detective plunges through a tangled web of deviants to solve a string of murders so heinous that every woman in London fears for her life. Will the London Transport System survive? Or will Lestrade run out of steam?
July 1586. Sir Francis Walsingham has dispatched Kit Marlowe to the English College, the school for exiled priests in Rheims, where he suspects the Catholic traitor Matthew Baxter is hiding, the only one of the Babington plotters to have escaped the spymaster's net. Infiltrating the college undercover, Marlowe learns that the community has been rocked by a series of unexplained and violent deaths.
Recovering from a broken leg after his ignominious fall from the Titanic, Lestrade should have had a peaceful time convalescing. But an attempt on the life of his future father-in-law makes him realise that a policeman is never really off duty. What is particularly puzzling is the arrival of a letter which simply reads, "Four for the Gospel Makers", and it isn’t the first Lestrade has been sent. So begins one of Sholto Lestrade’s most mystifying cases, encompassing both the present and the past.
The end of civilisation, as Peter Maxwell knows it, is just around the corner. It comes in the form of Fiona Braymarr, the new superhead. She is a new broom, and she sweeps good people along the way. And the odd thing about her? She has no past. And within days of her arrival, two local women have no future; one is found dead in a car showroom, the other is stabbed at the foot of her own stairs. Two murders so closely linked in time and space must surely be connected.
November, 1583. Desperate not to let the Protestant Low Countries fall into the hands of the Catholic Spain, the Queen’s spymaster, Francis Walsingham, orders Cambridge scholar and novice spy, Christopher Marlowe, to assist the beleaguered Dutch leader, William the Silent, whose court is a hotbed of intrigue and treachery. However, travelling in disguise as part of a troupe of Egyptian players, Marlowe encounters trouble even before he reaches Dutch shores.
It is 1891, and London is still reeling from the horror of the unsolved Ripper murders when Inspector Lestrade is sent to the Isle of Wight to investigate a strange corpse found walled up in Shanklin Chine. It is merely the beginning of a series of brutal and bizarre killings so apparently random, that only a warped genius could be responsible.
"An interesting read"
April 1865. Having been an eyewitness to the assassination of President Lincoln, Matthew Grand, a former captain of the 3rd Cavalry of the Potomac, has come to London on an undercover assignment to hunt down the assassin's coconspirators. Ambitious young journalist Jim Batchelor has been charged with writing a feature article on the visiting American. Both men are distracted from their missions by the discovery of a body in London's Soho district.
Teenage girls are being picked up on the seafront, and two of them are found dead. DI Jacquie Carpenter-Maxwell has barely set foot on her old patch before she is up to her jet-lagged neck in somebody else’s tragedy.
It is 1879, and the young Detective Sergeant Sholto Lestrade has his work cut out for him as he investigates mysterious goings-on at "Lord" George Sanger's Circus. First, the best juggler in Europe is shot in full view of a thousand people. Then Huge Hughie the dwarf dies an agonising death whilst performing the Ether Trick. Finally, the Great Bolus dies by swallowing the wrong sword. And all of this comes after two bodies are found with multiple slashes.
"Good Story, Pity About The Narration"
Murder is afoot among the footmen of Britain's Royal Household: a servant girl, Amy Macpherson, has been brutally slaughtered. And so our hero, Sholto Lestrade of Scotland Yard, is once again on the trail of mystery. As he tries to untangle a villainous web of conspiracy, the superintendent must venture north to Scotland. His investigations take him from Balmoral Castle to the Isle of Skye to the North British Hotel, where he narrowly escapes an inferno in Room 13. The intrepid investigator contends with the most baffling clues he has yet encountered.
"Lestrade Detects without Sherlock Holmes"
Lestrade had never been arrested before, although he had often had his collar felt by unsuspecting constables. But now a woman has died in his arms in a London pea-souper, and he is not only arrested but facing the drop. Millicent Millichip, in the wrong place at the right time, is neither the first nor only in a series of murders by someone so cunning that all the brains of the Yard can’t catch them - and this despite the calling card left helpfully at every scene.
The papers call it suicide. The deceased’s father doesn’t. And when Superintendent Lestrade investigates the death by duelling pistol of Anstruther Fitzgibbon, his suspicions are immediately aroused. One of Britain’s leading athletes, Fitzgibbon is the first victim in a series of murders which threatens to extinguish the torch of the Olympic Games in London, in that glorious summer of 1908.
"MJ Trow writes better than he reads"
With girlfriend DS Jacquie Carpenter back at work, and baby Nolan rapidly growing into a feisty toddler, Peter "Mad Max" Maxwell, Head of Sixth Form at Leightford High, hires an au pair. But one afternoon Max returns home to find that the exotic Juanita seems to have disappeared into thin air. Meanwhile, two walkers are surprised and disturbed when their Border collie digs up an arm on Dead Man's Point.
Lestrade’s detectives at Scotland Yard have promised him that 1910 is going to be a peaceful year. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out that way. His daughter, Emma, brings him news of a tragic boating accident and he is soon up to his neck in a series of vicious murders. On top of all this, Lestrade is roped in to help with the coronation of George V and Inspector Walter Dew needs help with the disappearance of a certain Belle Crippen.
"fast and funny, lots of wit"
At Leighford High, Peter “Mad Max” Maxwell is temporarily promoted to Head of History when his colleague is chosen for an American exchange. His counterpart is Hector Gold, who is accompanied by his eccentric family including his in-laws, Jeff and Alana O’Malley.
The madness begins when Captain Orange and his three nieces are killed in a carriage accident. The only clues? A tall man seen near the Captain's house, and a broken mirror found in the Captain's breast pocket. Next, Janet Calthorp of King's College, London, tumbles to her death as she makes her way to her lover's bedroom, the victim of a tripwire. The clue? A broken mirror found in said lover's boudoir.
"Lestrade takes off without Sherlock"