review: The Casebook of Newbury & Hobbs by George Mann

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.

The Casebook Of Newbury and Hobbes

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.

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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7 Responses to review: The Casebook of Newbury & Hobbs by George Mann

  1. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I see my library has a few of these. I’m more interested in the short stories than the novels, at least until I see if I like them.

  2. Richard says:

    I liked this, and as said above liked the The Will of the Dead, but haven’t tried any of the Newbury & Hobbs novels. If you do, begin with The Affinity Bridge.

  3. You’re making me antsy to read some Holmes!

  4. Richard says:

    Which this certainly is not, Charles. But it’s always a good time to read Holmes.

  5. John says:

    I liked these stories. I stumbled across the book in a Barnes & Noble, of all places. This particular B&N store has an eclectic mix of import publishers and apparently their mystery buyer likes all the stuff Titan puts out. I’m interested in finding the novels that feature Newbury & Hobbs. I like Mann’s vivid imagination and the “penny dreadful” atmosphere he replicates so well. If you like these you might want to investigate Mark Hodder’s series about Sir Richard Burton, the famed explorer, who appears as the protagonist in a series of steampunk adventure thrillers very similar to the mood and tone of Mann’s stories. The first one, THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF SPRING-HEELED JACK incorporates the Victorian era legendary figure into the plot. Hodder also like to fill his books with historical figures. Each book has an appendix in the rear giving brief overviews of the real people in the cast of characters and noting which of the events in the book were based on fact.

  6. Richard says:

    John, interesting you should suggest the Hoder, I have it on hold at the library.

  7. Both Mark Hodder and George Mann’s work sound like fun to me. I’ll be ordering them!

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