Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Secret Files of the Diogenes Club


Kim Newman is a skilled and talented author, with an imagination that produces brilliant fiction. In his book, The Secret Files of the Diogenes Club, all of these elements come to the surface. For those familiar with Sherlock Holmes, the title of this book reveals the premise. It is based around a club founded by Mycroft Holmes. Well, the club is something of a U.K. investigation unit, or intelligence service. And the "club" delves into a number of uncanny and weird investigations.

This collection spans decades and centuries. For fans of Newman, most of the stories are familiar, previously published, but having them in one collection is wonderful. In his typical fashion, Newman brings to life interesting and thoughtful characters, believable figures, and interweaves them into clever tales. At the thematic level, the collection deals with "good and evil," but the historical settings and events prevent these stories from appearing commonplace. With each story, Newman approaches from an interesting angle, making the collection enjoyable and worthy of re-reading.

The Secret Files of the Diogenes Club is something of a prequel to The Man from the Diogenes Club. Readers can start with either book first - although I'd suggest "Secret Files" first. The "adventures" are supernatural, weird, and Lovecraftian, full of mysteries and suspense. Because every tale in the collection is a gem, I'll not discuss each, or cite favorites. They span from the 1860s to the 1970s, and fit together nicely, providing a delightful backdrop for the clandestine intelligence service. This is a grand book, clever, powerful, and entertaining.

7 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I love these old looking covers. Very cool, and appropriate for this period piece. I've heard good things about Kim Newman but have never read anything. This sounds pretty good though.

moonbeast said...

Investigating the macabre and supernatural, I'm betting that William Jones is also a fan of Kolchak the Night Stalker (in addition to HPL).

William Jones said...

Charles - The cover is does have a tattered look to it. I fear the reproduction online doesn't do it justice, though it still looks good. On close examination, there are worn and yelled edges. It does work quite nicely.

Moonbeast - How true! I'm a big fan of Kolchak. I think the supernatural detectives and Lovecraftian often overlap. And such things seem to be popular today, both on television and fiction.

Matt M McElroy said...

This sounds pretty cool. I'll have to add it to my shopping list.

Thanks for the info.

William Jones said...

Matt - You're welcome. If you're a fan of supernatural detectives, or conspiracies, or uncanny mysteries, it is probably a good match.

Stu Shiffman said...

A great collection -- you're right that Newman is a terrific writer. These are set in a timeline parallel to his Anno Dracula series.

Looking forward to your Professor Pearson!

William Jones said...

Stu - The Anno Dracula series is a set of books to mention with this book. For those who haven't, read both series - or at least try one of them.

And thanks for keeping an eye out for Professor Pearson!