blackbutterflyaluciferbox52839_fSo here we have the third of the Lucifer Box novels by Mark Gatiss. Black Butterfly is set in the early 1950s with a new Queen on the British Throne and changes afoot in HM Secret Service. Lucifer is an old man now and in the throes of passing on the baton to a new generation when the uncharacteristic suicide of an old friend and several other mysterious deaths send him back out into the field to foil another dastardly plot.

This is quite consciously a spoof of James Bond type of thriller – beautiful women, exotic locations, arch humour, evil genius, convoluted plot, the world saved just in the nick of time – and for that reason I think it’s the least successful of the three books.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed watching the plot come to fruition and it was interesting to see Box try to deal with the effects of old age on a  man in his profession, but there was something too familiar about it. I suspect the problem is that James Bond has been parodied so many times (and often within its own film franchise) that I didn’t find much that was actually that new here.

It’s a shame as I really like Gatiss and I wanted to get more out of this than I actually did; I was just a wee bit disappointed that it didn’t grab me.

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