Sholto Lestrade Books in Order: How to read M.J. Trow’s Series?

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As you may have guessed, the Inspector Lestrade book series is based on the character from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. A crime series written by history teacher and author Meirion James Trow (M.J. Trow), it simply follows the investigations of Scotland Yard Inspector Sholto Lestrade. In fact, going from 1879 to 1923, the Inspector Lestrade series goes beyond his professional career, because he retired, and because Lestrade’s daughter also investigates her own mysteries.

How to read the Inspector Lestrade Series in Order?

There are two ways to read the Sholto Lestrade book series, the publication order or the chronological order.

Reading the Inspector Lestrade Books in Publication Order

  1. The Adventures of Inspector Lestrade (1985) – 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 the vicarage to spiritualist gather, from the studio of the celebrated Alma-Tadema to 221B Baker Street with spell-binding panache.
  2. Lestrade and the Brigade (1988) – There is a new broom at Scotland Yard; Nimrod Frost. His first ‘little’ job for Lestrade is to investigate the reported appearance of a lion in Cornwall, a supposed savager of sheep and frightener of men. Hardly a task for an Inspector of the Criminal Investigations Department. Yet even as Lestrade questions a witness, a man is reported dead, horrifically mauled. Having solved that case to his own satisfaction, Lestrade returns to London and to another suspicious death and then another … All old men who should have died quietly in their sleep. Is there a connection – is there a mass murderer at work?
  3. Lestrade and the Hallowed House (1987) – Britain has entered the twentieth century. Queen Victoria is dead and the Boer War rages on. Inspector Lestrade is called upon to investigate the brutal death of Ralph Childers, MP. It is but the first in a series of bizarre and perplexing murders that lead Lestrade around the country in pursuit of his inquiries. The connection between the victims appears to be politics. Is someone trying to destroy the government?
  1. Lestrade and the Leviathan (1985) – ‘You’re promising me a peaceful one, eh? This Year of Our Lord Nineteen Hundred and Ten? Let’s hope you’re right.’ Unfortunately, his men can’t fulfill Superintendent Lestrade’s wish. Nor can his daughter Emma, who moments later brings him news of a tragic boating accident involving members of her family. In fact, Lestrade’s lot is definitely not a happy one. He has a number of vicious murders to solve, including that of a man hanged in a church bell tower; of a potential cross-Channel swimmer, and of his old sparring partner, Dr. Watson. Anarchists threaten the peace of Europe and the whole of the Yard is looking for ‘Peter the Painter’.
  2. Lestrade and the Brother of Death (1988) – Recovering from a broken leg after his ignominious fall from the Titanic, Superintendent Lestrade goes to convalesce at the home of his betrothed, Fanny Berkley, and her father Tom, the Chief Commissioner of Surrey. It should have been a relatively peaceful time, apart from Lestrade’s lack of dexterity in steering his Bath chair, but an attempt on the life of his father-in-law (that kills the butler instead) makes him realize that a policeman is never really off duty
  3. Lestrade and the Ripper (1988) – In the year 1888, London was horrified by a series of brutal killings. All the victims were discovered in the same district, Whitechapel, and they were all prostitutes. But they weren’t the only murders to perplex the brains of Scotland Yard. In Brighton, the body of one Edmund Gurney was also found. Foremost among the Yard’s top men was the young Inspector Sholto Lestrade and it was to his lot that the un-solved cases of a deceased colleague fell.
  1. Lestrade and the Deadly Game (1990) – The Papers call it suicide. The deceased’s father doesn’t. But when Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard investigates the death by dueling pistol of Anstruther Fitzgibbon, 27, son of the Marquess of Bolsover, his suspicions of foul play are immediately aroused.
  2. Lestrade and the Guardian Angel (1990) – The first fatality was a captain of the 2nd Life Guards, found battered over the head in the Thames at Shadwell Stair, an Ashanti War medal wedged between his teeth. Lestrade’s next summons was to the underground caves of Wookey Hole where the demise of an Egyptologist – a scarab clamped between his molars – prompted the question; can a man dead for a thousand years reach beyond the grave and commit murder?
  3. Lestrade and the Gift of the Prince (1991) – Sholto Lestrade had never smelt the tangle o’ the Isles before Arthur, Duke of Connaught put him on the trail to the Highlands. Murder is afoot among the footmen on the Royal Household; a servant girl, Amy Macpherson, has been brutally murdered. Ineptly disguised as a schoolmaster in his bowler and Donegal, with his battered old Gladstone, the intrepid Superintendent is impelled by a villainous web of conspiracy northwards to the Isle of Skye by way of Balmoral.
  1. Lestrade and the Magpie (1991) – England in 1920 is a land fit for heroes. So why is one of those heroes found dead in a dingy London hotel? And why does his war record show that he has been missing, presumed killed in action, for three years? The deceased is none other than the fiancé of Inspector Lestrade’s daughter and when her tears are dry, she sets out on a quest to find his murderer.
  2. Lestrade and the Dead Man’s Hand (1992) – The London Underground Railway, in 1895, was described as ‘dark, deadly and halfway to Hell’. Only too true, for as the last train rattled into Liverpool Street, the one remaining passenger did not get off. How could she, when her eyes stared sightlessly and her heart had stopped?
  3. Lestrade and the Sign of Nine (1992) – It was a puzzle that faced Scotland Yard from its very 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 plagiaristic novelist have in common? Answer: they’re all dead, each of them with a bloody space where his skull used to be. And six others are to join them before our intrepid inspector brings the perpetrator to book.
  1. Lestrade and the Sawdust Ring (1993) – Walk up! Walk up! This way for the greatest show on earth! It is 1879. Disraeli is at Number Ten. The Zulu are being perfectly beastly to Lord Chelmsford. And Captain Boycott is having his old trouble again. What has this to do with the young Detective-Sergeant Sholto Lestrade? Absolutely nothing. Or has it?
  2. Lestrade and the Mirror of Murder (1993) – The madness begins when Captain Orange and his three nieces are killed in a carriage accident. The only clues? A tall man was seen near the Captain’s house, and a broken mirror was 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.
  3. Lestrade and the Kiss of Horus (1995) – The wings that retired Chief Superintendent Lestrade came on were those of a de Havilland Hercules, named Olivia. The archaeologist, Howard Carter, had made the discovery of the century in the Valley of the Kings, but all around him, men were dying: Lord Carnarvon, careless with his razor, fell prey to a mosquito bite; Alain le Clerk left the tomb in a hurry to die alone in the desert; Aaron G. String, the railway magnate, blew his brains out yards from the tomb’s entrance.
  1. Lestrade and the Devil’s Own (1996) – 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. In his time Lestrade has found it hard enough to follow a case, but from the condemned cell in Pentonville it is even harder.
  2. Lestrade and the Giant Rat of Sumatra (2014) – Everybody, they say, has a book in them. Retired Chief Inspector Walter Dew certainly did. And it took him back to the good old days, when coppers lived in station houses, that nice Mr Campbell-Bannerman was at Number Ten and Britain had the biggest empire in the world. But, under the streets of London, something stirred. More than that, there was a muttering that grew to a grumbling and the grumbling grew to a mighty rumbling. Then out of the houses, the bodies came tumbling!

Reading the Inspector Lestrade Books in Chronological Order

  1. Lestrade and the Sawdust Ring, set in 1879
  2. Lestrade and the Sign of Nine, set in 1886
  3. Lestrade and the Ripper, set in 1888
  4. The Adventures of Inspector Lestrade, set in 1891
  5. Lestrade and the Brigade, set in 1894
  6. Lestrade and the Dead Man’s Hand, set in 1895
  7. Lestrade and the Guardian Angel, set in 1897
  8. Lestrade and the Hallowed House, set in 1901
  9. Lestrade and the Gift of the Prince, set in 1903
  10. Lestrade and the Giant Rat of Sumatra, set in 1905
  11. Lestrade and the Mirror of Murder, set in 1906
  12. Lestrade and the Deadly Game, set in 1908
  13. Lestrade and the Leviathan, set in 1910
  14. Lestrade and the Brother of Death, set in 1912
  15. Lestrade and the Devil’s Own, set in 1913
  16. Lestrade and the Magpie, set in 1920
  17. Lestrade and the Kiss of Horus, set in 1923

Bonus: An Historical Companion to the Inspector Lestrade Series

The World of Inspector Lestrade – Many readers of the Lestrade books wonder what is fact and what is fiction – and the author is delighted that they can’t always tell! So, for all the readers out there who have ever asked that question, here is the World of Inspector Lestrade. In this book, the lid is taken off Victorian and Edwardian society in a way you’ve never seen before. Lestrade knew everybody, from Oscar Wilde in the Cadogan Hotel to General Baden-Powell, cross-dressing on Brownsea Island, to the hero of Damascus, General Allenby – ‘you can call me Al.’ Have you ever wondered whether Howard Vincent, Director of the brand-new CID really had a pet iguana? Find out inside.

If you like reading M.J. Trow’s Sholto Lestrade stories, you may be interested in other writers who put their own spin on Sherlock Holmes like Nancy Springer with the Enola Holmes series, Martin Davies with the Holmes and Hudson series, Sherry Thomas with The Lady Sherlock series, David Lagercrantz with the Rekke/Vargas series, Laurie R. King with the Mary Russell series, and more!

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