Friday, 24 August 2018

The Vesuvius Club by Mark Gatiss

“I thought at first it might be some undigested fancy from the Café Gambrinus but I finally recognised it as an almost alien emotion. Fondness.”

Mark Gatiss is one of those character actors you would undoubtedly recognise by sight, even if you perhaps aren’t overly familiar with his name. He’s been a star and writer for Doctor Who (oh you know I’m a massive fan) and he plays Sherlock’s brother opposite Benedict Cumberbatch (ah… heaven), not to mention his work on Game of Thrones and The League of Gentlemen. You might get my drift that I think he’s rather fab, so I was exceedingly interested to see his efforts in novel form.

If I thought I would miss the world of parasols and hats that I’d just left in finishing Competence, I was lucky to have discovered this delightful spy / detective / bisexual Edwardian romp which was just the ticket. I realise that is a lot of genres in one; although, come to think of it, I’ve always been a “the more genres the merrier” kind of girl.

How to describe our hero. He’s irresistible, flirtatious and more than a little bit dangerous. He’s just as popular with the boys as the girls and a rather natty dresser, when he’s not minus a valet. One thing Lucifer Box (seriously – what a name!) excels at is getting into trouble – as the name might suggest. When he sets off to discover the reasons behind the disappearance of some eminent scientists, it seems not only his life will be in danger. Equal parts James Bond, Sherlock Holmes and just a dash of Eddie Izzard. Seriously, what’s not to love?

Throw in some weird underground establishments (namely the club of the title - think devious sexploits hidden behind password protected doors); a volcano and... “Bob’s your uncle”, you are in for one rollicking adventure. Although, one would think Lucifer far too posh to rollick as it were. I shall practice a little restraint with the superlatives, other than to say I entirely enjoyed this little jaunt. So much so, it would seem, that I immediately got online and bought the next two offerings upon closing the final page. Oh impulse control!!! Are you a myth?

5 out of 5 clubs with strict entry protocols mask something beneath.

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