The Casebook of Newbury & Hobbs by George Mann, [Titan Books, 2013 trade paper] – mystery-steampunk adventure. Fifteen stories, 400 pages. A book in the Newbury & Hobbes Investigation series.
It’s no surprise, to book lovers and readers who travel a blog circuit of some sort, that we love to discover books, read reviews, engage in conversations about new-to-us books. It seems to happen all the time, at least it does to me. Such a discovery earlier this year, was George Mann’s Sherlock Holmes: The Will of the Dead. I was in the mood for a pastiche and it filled the bill. I liked it enough to search out other things by Mann, which led me to this book.
It’s London, the late Nineteenth Century. Yes, Holmes makes a brief appearance in one of the stories, but these are by no means a pastiche. No, this is a steampunk London, with all that implies. There are various human and mechanical bad guys. There are also some horrific creatures lurking – mostly in the night – in the city: plague revenants, mechanical beasts, tentacled leviathans, even reanimated pygmies.
Private inquiry agent Maurice Newbury and his co-investigator Veronica Hobbs work with Scotland Yard Inspector Bainbridge to ferret out the criminals and their often nasty inventions, solve the mysteries behind the creatures and crimes. While Newbury spends as much time contemplating as solving, we are treated to a good deal of action and threat throughout. Some of the stories run to 20 or more pages, some are but a quarter of that.
These stories are entertaining and well written. I enjoyed them, sometimes reading several together, sometimes one now and then. When I turned the last page, I thought I should keep an eye out for a promised second volume. A good bit of fun, these.