Three prostitutes have already been killed in London. Since the police do not publish anything about the serial killer, he chooses a much more popular victim: the actress Julie Longmuir. Women do not feel secure anymore and Jane Sullivan, head of the investigation, and her team are under pressure. The parallels with Jack the Ripper are stunning, but of course, the Ripper has been dead for decades. Has he? At the same time in the French Pyrenees region. A couple of old monks try to keep a secret and fulfil their sole task as a clandestine order, but there has been a major incident and now they have to face the consequences.
F.G. Cottam’s thriller combines a murder story with religious aspects and paranormal elements. What I found most interesting were actually the killer’s message at the crime scene, his knowledge – there is a clear reason why they named him “The Scholar” – about ancient languages and the holy books. The cross references and allusions of course are not very singular, but I like these kind of books and I appreciated that not all is based on this but that we also have other interesting aspects in the novel. The protagonist, Jane Sullivan, is an interesting character. She is not the super hero but struggles with the case, sometimes close to giving up, but then again following her intuition and striving to solve this case. She is open for the paranormal and goes a road not often travelled in police work.
Yet, this is also the point which left me not completely satisfied with the novel. I would have preferred a more down to earth solution for the case. In the novel’s development, it was all logic and stringent, but readers who are avid of mystical explanation will not really appreciate it.