A popular Edwardian painter lives a highly satisfying double life as a government agent and assassin.
Gatiss, author of four novels based on the Doctor Who television series and a member of the Pythonesque sketch-comedy team League of Gentlemen, presents the droll narrative of Lucifer Box, Number 9 Downing Street, thickly punctuated with barbed bons mots as his life is with recreational sexual encounters. After introducing himself to the reader and knocking off a portrait of Hon. Everard Supple, Lucifer knocks off Supple himself, revealing that he works for His Majesty’s Secret Service and that Supple was a dangerous anarchist with violent plans. Then Lucifer’s painter friend, Joshua Reynolds (“the dwarf”), also of the Secret Service, informs him of the murders of two prominent scientists in Naples, with more to follow. Meantime, Lucifer’s begun taking on private art students to boost his income. The first is Bella Pok (a typical pun), a pert beauty who entrances her teacher. When Neapolitan agent Jocelyn Poop goes missing, Lucifer, who must investigate this case as well as the apparent murder spree, accedes to Bella’s coquettish pleas to accompany him. In Naples, Lucifer teams up with breathtaking rent boy Charlie Jackpot and finds the eponymous hedonistic establishment, as well as a haunted estate and a gender-bending surprise, on his way to the solution.
Cheeky, decadent fun, from start to finish.