by Mark Gatiss
Plot Summary:Meet Lucifer Box: Equal parts James Bond and Sherlock Holmes, with a twist of Monty Python and a dash of Austin Powers, Lucifer has a charming countenance and rapier wit that make him the guest all hostesses must have. And most do.
But few of his conquests know that Lucifer is also His Majesty's most daring secret agent, at home in both London's Imperial grandeur and in its underworld of despicable vice. So when Britain's most prominent scientists begin turning up dead, there is only one man his country can turn to for help.
Following a dinnertime assassination, Lucifer is dispatched to uncover the whereabouts of missing agent Jocelyn Poop. Along the way he will give art lessons, be attacked by a poisonous centipede, bed a few choice specimens, and travel to Italy on business and pleasure. Aided by his henchwoman Delilah; the beautiful, mysterious, and Dutch Miss Bella Pok; his boss, a dwarf who takes meetings in a lavatory; grizzled vulcanologist Emmanuel Quibble; and the impertinent, delicious, right-hand-boy Charlie Jackpot, Lucifer Box deduces and seduces his way from his elegant townhouse at Number 9 Downing Street (somebody has to live there) to the ruined city of Pompeii, to infiltrate a highly dangerous secret society that may hold the fate of the world in its clawlike gripthe Vesuvius Club.
Review:I'm a big fan of Mark Gatiss from his work for Doctor Who and Sherlock. I love his style and that indefinable something about his personality. He's just so adorable. So delving into this audiobook, read by the author, was inevitable. And this book delivers in everything I was expecting from a novel by Mr. Gatiss. It's sharply witty, a touch macabre and grotesque, and a thorough romp. The absurd names he gives his characters is already a hint that this story is just a fun ride that should not be taken too seriously. It starts off a little rambly, as the reader gets to experience a few days in the life of Lucifer Box as he does a little research into his assignment and has to deal with the consequences of his very active social life. But when circumstances snowball and the need to solve the mystery of the missing agent becomes urgent, the story picks up it's pace.
With the twists and turns of the plot, the story also becomes more bizarre and less believable. Lucifer gets into some ridiculous scrapes, and the eventual resolution plays on all the tropes of the maniacal uber-villain. The resolution does come at you fast, with about a dozen things happening at once which made for a very compelling listen. It's a light and fun story with broad, comical characterizations, a charmingly egotistical dandy as narrator and multiple plot threads that are resolved neatly in the end.