BLACK BUTTERFLY - Mark Gatiss
BLACK BUTTERFLY is the third Secret Service novel featuring tall, dark, suave spy about town Lucifer Box. Although it will come as a bit of a shock to readers of these books to discover that Lucifer has gotten old, fast approaching retirement. Good grief! Old age comes to Lucifer Box ... who would have believed it could ever happen. Worse still, this is billed as the final of the Lucifer Box novels which is particularly sad for those readers who have come to love the overly energetic lovelife, spycraft and general man about towning of the great Lucifer Box.
But retirement is coming, Queen Elizabeth II is newly established on the throne, and pillars of the English Establishment have started dying in bizarre accidents. Lucifer Box is the only man for the job - from the back streets of Soho, to the souks of Istanbul and the sun and sand of Jamaica, Lucifer must confront an enemy with roots in his own past, and discover who is behind the enigmatic (and not unattractive by any means) assassin Kingdom Kum. All at the same time that he must deal with the news that his young son - Christmas Box - wants to be a Boy Scout of all things!
Aging Lucifer may be. Pressing retirement may be. Burdened with unexpected parental responsibility as he is. Confounded by his offspring's somewhat conservative pursuits, Box can be relied upon when duty calls. And there are some duties that could only be resolved by a man of the eclectic tastes and experiences of Box. But this case, with the dangerous and desirable Kingdom Kum stalking his every move comes with a level of personal threat that Box would shrug off in his younger days.
Of course there's very very little that's serious in these books, and that's exactly why they are so fantastic. BLACK BUTTERFLY is as crazy, energetic and risqué as the earlier two books - all the action, suspense, thrills, spills, love and yearning, lust and sex, delivered in the same wonderful, slightly tongue in cheek fashion. I do confess a considerable feeling of sadness if this is, in fact, the last ever Lucifer Box book. I really can see how he could be called upon to perform yet more daring deeds - from his wheelchair in his dotage if necessary.
If you're a fan of crazy puns and tongue in cheek humour, and don't mind a little, shall we say unorthodox personal lifestyle choices, then BLACK BUTTERFLY and the two earlier books - THE VESUVIUS CLUB and THE DEVIL IN AMBER could be just the thing. You're certainly in for a bit of a fun treat. It might be best if you could read the books in order as they are set in vastly different time periods (Edwardian, the 1920's and finally the 1950's and you do get a bit of a feeling of the different time settings) but it's probably not strictly necessary if you're having trouble tracking down any of them.
Lucifer Box. He's tall, he's dark and, like the shark, he looks for trouble.
Or so he wishes. For, with Queen Elizabeth newly established on her throne, the now elderly secret agent is reaching the end of his scandalous career. Despite his fast-approaching retirement, queer events leave Box unable to resist investigating one last case...
Why have pillars of the Establishment started dying in bizarrely reckless accidents? Who are the deadly pay-masters of enigmatic assassin Kingdom Kum? And who or what is the mysterious Black Butterfly?