Thursday, 17 November 2011

The Vesuvius Club, Mark Gatiss [books]

This is the first of Mark Gatiss' Lucifer Box novels, but the last I have encountered. I'm writing about it first because I didn't actually like the second, but feel in retrospect I am doing it a disservice. Let me explain:

1: I read, and disliked, the second Lucifer Box novel, The Devil in Amber.
2: Radio 4 Extra broadcast Gatiss reading the third book, Black Butterfly, as part of the Crime and Thrillers hour. I really enjoyed it, and Gatiss' reading gave Lucifer a different, more likeable voice to the one I'd had in my head.
3: A workmate lent me The Vesuvius Club, which I very much liked, and which, in my head, was read in the same way as the radio programmes.

So now I have to go back and reread The Devil in Amber and see if I like it better the second time around.

The first novel is set in the first decade of the 20th century, post-Victorian but still quite genteel in many ways. Lucifer Box, resident of 9 Downing Street – someone has to live there – artist, bisexual playboy and bon viveur also happens to work for the secret service. (I say work; he's been blackmailed into it). He's asked to look into the mysterious deaths of some renowned scientists, and turns up some rum goings-on which eventually take him to Italy and a decadent club in Naples...

Gatiss clearly loves adventure stories, and while he has fun with their conventions and cliches in this book, he never looks down on the genre. I didn't quite sink into it in the way I do to some other stories I've mentioned on this blog, such as The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril, but it was a good read all the same.

2 comments :

  1. thanks for the great review, I'll shall add them to the look out for list!

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  2. We picked this up on a charity shop recently for 99p! Pleased to hear it has got a good review from you!

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