Ralph's Reviews > The Strange Michael Folmer Affair

The Strange Michael Folmer Affair by John Rigbey
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Mar 29, 2014

it was amazing
bookshelves: crime, foreign-detective, mystery

This book by former Scotland Yard officer John Rigbey is a delight for Ripperologists, but the expertly crafted police procedural will also find fans amongst crime readers not at all well versed in the atrocities of Jack the Ripper back in 1888. Indeed, Detective Chief Inspector Michael Gregory, the protagonist, himself knows very little about the details of Leather Apron's crimes at the beginning of the book, but as events occur with rapidity he must learn quickly...if he has a hope in hell in stopping a madman who is using Jack's crimes as a template for his own murders in modern London.

Although DCI Gregory must find the man who is now killing prostitutes in the East End he finds himself drawn back to earlier avatars of London, not just the squalid Whitechapel and Spitalfields districts of Victorian London, but London of the 1950's, where the pattern of the Jack the Ripper murders started for a second time. To solve his modern mystery, Gregory must find the connections between all three sets of murders, must discover how a man hanged in the 1950's can leave fingerprints in the 2000's, and solve the mystery of...who is Michael Folmer? To do so, he must sift through numerous red herrings, uncover secrets hid by years of obfuscation, and overcome his own fears and weaknesses.

Although this is an extremely well-written and ingenuously plotted book that maintains a driving sense of suspense, terror and mystery from beginning to end, it is the character of DCI Michael Gregory, aided by a solid cast of characters, which makes this police procedural work, and made it so appealing to me. The police procedural is the toughest of the mystery sub-genres because the writer has to get every detail right and maintain the proper atmosphere without sacrificing an iota of entertainment. John Rigbey is spot-on all the way through. As mentioned, though, it is DCI Gregory who is at the heart of the story, and were his character not as strongly written as it is, the story would suffer. This is the first of the DCI Gregory books, but the second I've read; each story can stand on its own, but having seen Gregory at the beginning, when his marriage is breaking up and he is throwing himself into his work, I have a better appreciation for the man.

For those who like police procedurals, especially those involving the legendary Scotland Yard, this book is brilliant. And if you also like good story telling, engaging characters, and Jack the Ripper this is a book you will certainly want to add to your library.
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Reading Progress

March 29, 2014 – Started Reading
March 29, 2014 – Shelved
April 3, 2014 – Shelved as: crime
April 3, 2014 – Shelved as: foreign-detective
April 3, 2014 – Shelved as: mystery
April 3, 2014 – Finished Reading

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