Tuesday, 17 September 2013
The Casebook of Newbury and Hobbes By George Mann Review
Written By George Mann
Published By Titan Books
Mystery, Crime, Steampunk
A brand new collection of short stories.
Join the indomitable detective duo of Sir Maurice Newbury and Miss Veronica Hobbes in the dangerous streets of Victorian London as they battle some of their most challenging cases yet.
From the mysterious to the macabre, the supernatural specialist and his determined assistant face plague revenants, murderous peers, mechanical beasts, tentacled leviathans and reanimated pygmies, working alongside Detective Inspector Charles Bainbridge, Newbury's sometime nemesis 'Lady Arkwell' and the great detective himself, Sherlock Holmes.
As a long time fan of the 'Newbury and Hobbes' adventures written by George Mann, I was very eager to get to read this collection of short stories that feature the detective duo as they take on some of the biggest cases of their careers.
With equal parts classic mystery, steampunk and supernatural, some of the tales here take on the macabre and others wouldn't be out of place in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle collection. This is especially true of the story 'The Case of the Night Crawler' in which the duo team up with Dr Watson to tackle a case with Holmes in the background pulling the strings like a puppet master but also showing a bit of a competitive attitude towards Newbury. It's a wonderful piece of writing. It's the second time I've read it, it was included in 'Encounters of Sherlock Holmes', but I liked it even better the second time.
I loved how each story seemed to take a different perspective of Newbury and Hobbes solving their cases in such a way that it felt like different authors had done each story yet they manage to keep George Mann's superbly unique writing style. That takes a hell of a lot of talent to pull off but Mann does it with style to spare here.
I could tell you all about the stories here but that would ruin the fun of opening the collection and discovering the stories for yourself. My favourite of the stories is easily 'What Lies Beneath' with it's wonderfully shocking and macabre twist at the end, although 'The Maharajah's Star' comes an incredibly close second.
As an anthology of stories, this collection works very well indeed. As an introduction to the duo, it does the same but where it shines is the fact that it also rewards the long time fans with nods to past cases yet does so without alienating the newcomers.
All in all, this is a truly superb collection of stories featuring two fantastically well written characters that really go from strength to strength thanks to the brilliant writing by George Mann. I definitely can't wait for the next case!