The Casebook Of Newbury And Hobbes- Volume One
Author: George Mann.
Print Edition ISBN: 9781781167427.
E-book Edition ISBN: 9781781167434.
Publisher: Titan Books.
First Edition: September 2013.
‘Join the indomitable detective duo of Sir Maurice Newbury and Miss Veronica Hobbes in the dangerous streets of Victorian London as they battle to solve 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 sometimes nemesis ‘Lady Arkwell’ and the great detective himself, Sherlock Holmes.’
If you are new to George Mann’s evocative steampunk world of Victorian detectives, clanging machines, the arcane and the gothic, this book would be an ideal place to start. This book contains fifteen short stories, some only a few pages long, others virtually novellas, all chronicling the cases of Sir Maurice Newbury and Miss Veronica Hobbes. Sir Newbury and Miss Hobbes could be described as an askew Holmes and Watson, operating in the same London of hansom cabs and sprawling country mansions. However, this London is much more arcane with mad scientists, the macabre, tree demons and lunatic killers, which make for very interesting and exciting reading.
The stories are very accessible for new readers, particularly with the inclusion of a timeline and a history of the stories. For returning readers there are the same characters we know and love. However, Miss Hobbs does take a back seat in the majority of the stories, Newbury is instead working with Sir Charles Bainbridge and Temple Black. In the story ‘What Lies Beneath’ Doctor Watson tells us of the occasion Newbury met and worked with the great detective himself, Sherlock Holmes.
The best stories in my opinion are the longer stories that tell a tale rather than just add background to already established characters. My personal favourites are ‘The Lady Killer’ where Newbury is trapped on a crashed Underground carriage with a killer on the loose. ‘The Dark Path’ which recounts a meeting with a living tree creature and of course ‘What Lies Beneath’ with the cameo from Sherlock Holmes.
I am a huge fan of Mann’s work; his settings are beautiful and the steampunk elements of his novels are so beautifully and flawlessly integrated into his Victorian Society. He has a real flair for conversation, some of the stories are little more than two way conversations and they are still just as enjoyable and entertaining. This novel is a most read for fans of Newbury and Holmes and also will appeal to Holmes and steampunk fans alike.
4 out of 5 nerds