Top positive review
Madame Vastra Investigates!
on 10 March 2013
Ever since Madame Vastra, the Victorian Silurian Adventuress and her side-kick maid Jenny Flint burst onto our TV screens in the Doctor Who adventure 'A Good Man Goes to War' there has been a demand for the further adventures of this fantastic character.
There have been TV 'teasers', 'Minisodes' and of course the excellent 2012 Christmas special... but 'The Devil in the Smoke' gives fans their first real look at Vastra and her 'Paternoster Gang' fighting crime, aliens, evil and all manner of bizarre events in the London of the late 19th Century...
The story intself is very sound with many interesting concepts and ideas. The aliens themselves are fascinating creatures that could be explored further in any Doctor Who medium, the plotline is simple, but the characterisation that Justin Richards pours into the main protagonists makes up for any lack of depth.
This is really a novella and not a full blown novel so something has to be sacraficed, but it dosen't detract from any enjoyment of the tale...
Dan Starkey who plays the Sontaran Strax in the TV stories, gives listerners a lively rendition of the adventure, doing pasable impressions of Vastra and Jenny as well as the minor characters... but of course he excells at being 'Strax' who has some of the best lines in the whole thing!
Issued as a prequel to the Doctor Who Christmas 2012 episode 'The Snowmen', 'The Devil in the Smoke' works extremely well, although I had the feeling that perhaps it is intended mainly for younger fans as the full relationship between Jenny and Vastra is never mentioned, Vastra's taste for blood and raw flesh is also left out and any violence is kept to a minimum. However there is a great little scene describing Strax washing up... But as a self confessted 'Vastra' fan I was impressed and really enjoyed listening to this CD adventure. If you like Vastra and the Paternoster Gang then this is for you... I hope to see the Gang return in whatever medium soon... a TV special would be nice... although in the teaser 'Vastra Investigates' the Gang had just cleared up a case that involved identical twins, a poison unknown to science and an ancient Egyptian curse... a full length 'adult' novel combining all those ingediants would be a real cracker!
I hope to see more of madame Vastra and her Paternoster Gang and 'The Devil in the Smoke' is a good start...