45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
absurdities, profanities and bawdiness,
This review is from: The Vesuvius Club: A Lucifer Box Novel (Mass Market Paperback)
I picked up 'The Vesuvius Club' purely on the strength of the quotes from Stephen Fry and the newspaper reviews on the back cover. Oscar Wilde is my favourite author and so I thought, if this is thought to be good enough for Wilde, it's good enough for me. And I was absolutely thrilled with Gatiss' debut.
I am not a fan of 'The League of Gentleman' and had never heard of Gatiss before, so I came to this novel with no preconceived ideas about its themes, characters or sense of humour (a fact, I think, that has led to many of the negative reviews on this website) and simply took the book on face value.
The hero, Lucifer Box, has a deliciously decadent voice and Gatiss successfully maintains this throughout the novel's 240 pages. I frequently found myself laughing out loud at the absurdities, profanities and bawdiness on every page, relishing the scrapes that Box and his companion Charlie find themselves in. As far as spy novels go, the story isn't that original; a megalomaniac trying to destroy the world, but the way that Gatiss approaches his subject matter is what made the novel stand out for me. Box undertakes his secret service missions with gusto, diving headfirst into perilous situations and always with a pithy aside to put down his opponent. The twists and turns keep the reader on the edge of his seat, despite the somewhat predictable ending, but the novel doesn't lose anything for this; just like Bond, the intrigue is not whether he is going to escape and save the day, but how he is going to manage it.
I wholeheartedly disagree with those who have condemned this novel for being simply "A bit of Fluff" (Gatiss' words), in my opinion it is exactly this that is the novel's strength; "a bit of fluff", yes, and all the more entertaining for it!