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Customer Review

on 28 August 2013
It's very good this. To start with, very finely written; all the characters are pursued by demons of their own particular madnesses (except for that nice Mrs Grose), generally not chiming in tune with anyone else's. The result is often more of a mad house than a haunted one, with Redvers breathlessly quoting Joseph Conrad, while Gwendoline (a name cribbed from TIOBE if ever there was one) smartly sings 'That's The Way To The Zoo' where there's 'such a lot of nuts', but it's no peaceful asylum; there's a gibbering wraith in the cellar, a cruel housekeeper attended by black-uniformed maids that enter via secret panels, and only after sunset; meanwhile the vicar has come to tea, and he is not happy.

The background to all this seems to be the dawn of Darwinism; Josiah is trying to evolve into a human so he can escape his ship, Control does evolve, Light cannot cope with evolution, Nimrod is stuck on one of its lower rungs, as are the husks, and the cream of Scotland Yard turns back into primordial soup. Oh, and the vicar regresses into an ape.

It's not always easy to know just what is going on, nor what the intended relationship was between Josiah, Control and Light, but with Josiah out to kill 'The Crown Saxe-Coburg' and thus take over the British Empire, it's quite clearly gone badly wrong. Actually, the story goes at such a clip that and is told with such style that I'm not too bothered about the details - I can take them on trust. The more Control becomes a 'ladylike', the less happy Josiah seems to be, so that has to be a good thing, and while Light sets a certain amount straight, he also does huge damage, and we're all better off when he's back in his box.

It's told with almost gleeful relish, and has something of the feel of an MR James ghost story. Gabriel Chase is a deeply unsettled house, where really very nasty stuff is going down; it's little wonder that Ace set fire to it in 1983. I only wonder that the Dr had the gall to take her back there. I can fully understand her being annoyed - I would be.

Michael Cochrane is clearly having great fun as the loopy Redvers, and Sharon Duce is making a fine meal of Control. Sylvia Sims is delightfully horrible as Mrs Pritchard, and John Nettleton is very good as the representative of the Royal Society, who turns into a banana munching ape. I do like Gwendoline, though I don't know why she associates killing people with 'sending [them] to Java'.

The only slight problem in this improbable Victorian pastiche is that Ian Hogg's Josiah is in genuine danger of vanishing from view in the general sea of eccentricity; he simply isn't the weirdest of the weird, or the scariest of the scary, and I'm not sure who that would be - Ace or Gwendoline.

Which leads me to speculate if anyone's used the term 'girl on girl' about his story.
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Product Details

3.8 out of 5 stars
73
3.8 out of 5 stars
£6.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime