At the time of its release in 2006, "The Man from the Diogenes Club" had looked (& read) like a folder for action-packed and fun-filled 1970-s style occult detective adventures, with loads of clues & references to films, novels, contemporary politics and social commentary thrown in to further spice them up. Then came "The Secret Files of the Diogenes Club" in 2008, darkening up that colourful vista to a considerable extent. Although it had featured the "cold war" taking place between the somewhat old-fashioned (i.e. with a strong sense of good & bad) Diogenes Club and the other "agencies" in the same business but using "sharper" practices, it also had tremendously enjoyable romps like "Angel Down, Sussex", "The Big Fish" and "Richard Riddle, Boy Detective". And now we have this volume (with an extremely attractive cover) which contains the following novella-length stories:
1. Sorcerer Conjurer Wizard Witch: A retelling of "Tinker, Tailor, Sailor, Spy", with the (notionally) evil empire replaced by something truly evil. The story read like a gritty cold-war story of espionage, deceit, betrayal and paranoia(which had been intended, at the first place), and re-awakens ignoramus like us to the fact that Diogenes Club actually reflect the words of the good doctor ("sometimes.......is the British Government)!
2. Kentish Glory: a brand-new offering, but again taking us to the unknown & unexplored darkness behind the rise of any hero (or heroine).
3. Moon Moon Moon: a Richard Jeperson adventure, where our hero, accompanied by a beautiful 'agent' from "The Unnameable-s", i.e. one of the Federal Bureau of Investigations from across the Pond, tries to neutralise the threat posed by a 'truly secret' person towards the first man-made lunar landing. It had earlier seen release in the online Subterranean Magazine.
4. Organ Donors: A "Derek Leech" story which features Sally, a tough-yet-honest detective. This story has a direct link to the next, and this volumes last offering.
5. Seven Stars: A 'legendary' (no-pun intended) story, written for Stephen Jones' "Dark Detectives", and linking up the different phases (& personages) of Diogenes Club over a lengthy period of time.
Yes, the last 3 stories would be in the possession of almost all Newman-lovers. But nevertheless, they are invaluable from the Diogenes Club's point of view, and HAVE to be there. But, despite earning all the 5 stars from me with its stories, delightful notes in the rear, and cover, I would like to plead the author of the book, asking for the following:
1) "The Man In The Clapham Omnibus" should figure in the subsequent volume.
2) Leo Dare's badventures (if heroes can have adventures, that is what the villains should have, esp. if they are of commercial type) and his comeuppance at the hand of Mycroft Holmes need to be revealed.
With these requests, and wholehearted recommendations to every lover of pulp fiction, spy stories, Diogenes Club adventures, Wold Newton universe, Allan Moore-Jess Nevins type of cross-referencing works, etc. etc.