Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mark Gatiss's Lucifer Box

Mark Gatiss may be better known for his work on TV, which ranges from (co-)writing and (often) starring in The League of Gentlemen, Doctor Who and Sherlock, presenting (the recent A History of Horror series about horror movies) and, as a novelist, writing a number of Doctor Who licensed books for the BBC. But my favourites amongst the dozen or so books he's been involved with are the trio that feature Lucifer Box, a foppish artist who is also secret agent. Sexually voracious, ruthless and prone to sardonic humour, he's a James Bond for the Edwardian era. The first book was turned into a graphic novel by artist Ian Bass and there's rumours that the BBC are making a TV series, although that rumour was floating around in 2007, so it may come to nothing.

I especially like the third cover... you'll have seen plenty of similar illustrations here on Bear Alley as it was clearly influenced by the old 1960s Pan Books' editions of old Agatha Christie novels with covers painted by W. Francis Phillips. In fact, quite a lot of thought has gone into the designs... again, I like the hardcover edition of the first book, which ran faux adverts on the endpapers in the style of the time.

The Vesuvius Club (Simon & Schuster, 2004)
Pocket Books 978-074348-379-0, 2005, 240pp. Cover by Ian Bass

The Devil in Amber (Simon & Schuster, 2006)
Pocket Books 978-074348-380-3, 2007, 248pp, £7.99. Cover by Ian Bass

Black Butterfly (Simon & Schuster, 2008)
Pocket Books 978-074348-381-0, 2009, 204pp, £7.99. Cover by Mark Thomas

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