The Vesuvius Club
Mark Gatiss, Simon and Schuster, £15
Mark Gatiss, a member of The League of Gentlemen, knows and loves his Edwardian pulp fiction. Don’t expect him to play it straight, however. This low-camp caper, in which the portraitist and spy Lucifer Box tracks missing volcano experts, is Sexton Blake with added sex, and even sillier names than the real thing. The trimmings — art-deco illustrations throughout, and yellowing adverts on the flyleaves — remain more
impressive than the text.