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Books 159-160: The Vesuvius Club (novel and graphic edition) by Mark Gatiss and Ian Bass

Book 159: The Vesuvius Club (Lucifer Box #1).
Author: Mark Gatiss with illustrations by Ian Bass, 2005.
Genre: Historical Spy Thriller. Adventure. Comedy/Parody.
Other Details: Paperback. 256 pages.

Lucifer Box is the darling of the Edwardian belle monde - society's most fashionable portrait painter is a wit, a dandy, a rake, the guest all hostesses (and not a few hosts) must have. But few know that Lucifer Box is also His Majesty's most accomplished and daring secret agent. And so of course when Britain's most prominent scientists begin turning up dead, there is only one man his country can turn to. - synopsis from UK publisher's website.

I found this jolly good fun from start to finish. Gatiss has written it very tongue-in-cheek sending up the gentleman adventurer genre of the early 20th century with a knowing touch and some rather cheeky surprises. Some the humour was rather juvenile contrasting with the more sophisticated aspects.

This novel has been on my TBR pile for far too long and I'm finally glad that I got around to reading it. I had suggested it for the reading group I attend where we vote in our monthly books. I've not had a great deal of success with my suggestions and thought this was a safe choice. So I was a little surprised that only myself and one other group member gave it a thumbs up. The majority were unimpressed while another couple gave it the thumbs down and were rather vocal about how much they hated it. Oh well, I guess that Mark Gatiss' humour is not everyone's cup of tea.

Book 160: The Vesuvius Club: Graphic Edition.
Author: Story by Mark Gatiss, Art by Ian Bass. 2005.
Genre: Historical Spy Thriller. Adventure. Comedy/Parody.
Other Details: Graphic Novel. 112 pages.

When Lucifer Box Esq - dandy, rake, portraitist and His Majesty's Most Dashing Secret Agent - wrote the first volume of his adventures, The Vesuvius Club, he could never have imagined that one hundred and one years later he would end up as an artwork himself. But - like Dorian Grey before him - he has.

Inspect Box at home in Number 9 Downing Street (but try to ignore the mess) and in the Turkish Baths. Witness his coach-chase though London, on the path of the murderer of Britain's most eminent scientific brains. Spy on the secrets he uncovers when that path leads him to Naples, including the biggest secret of all - the nefarious (but nice) Vesuvius Club.
- synopsis from UK publisher's website.

I loved the illustrations by Ian Bass in 'The Vesuvius Club' above and spotting its graphic novel edition among my late husband's collection I elected to also read it. The art is a tribute to the style of the Edwardian period and also shows the influence of Aubrey Beardsley especially in the erotic scenes that were rendered with a pinch of mischief.

Given I read the graphic edition so soon after the novel it is hard for me to judge how it would work if encountered on its own.
Tags: british, glbt, graphic novel, historical mysteries, humor, satire, zombies
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