The Diogenes Club, come on, you know what that is, eh? It was that stuffy, idiosyncratic gentleman’s club where talking was frowned upon and a certain Mycroft Holmes was a founder member.
In the rather ambitious Mysteries of the Diogenes Club by Kim Newman she imagines a world where the club was actually the crown’s defence against supernatural forces, other world ghouls and a dashing of vampiric intent.
The book is presented in the form of 5 intertwining short stories which have the broad intent of being in chronological order. Aside from the rather weak Kentish Glory the stories are really engrossing and brilliantly imagined, none more so than the closer Seven Stars which tells the story of a jewel which can/could bring the end of days. The story is set over past, present and future with the one constant being the vampire Genevieve who brings the book to a close in a story set in 2026.
For avoidance of doubt, there is no Sherlock Holmes in this book, save through the eyes of 1930s idol John Barrymore. Mycroft is lauded as a legend of the Diogenes Club and as a leader of the movement charged with keeping the earthly realm in Victoria’s England safe. He never appears. This book is about Newman’s imagined characters, the successor to Mycroft – and his successor too – his wistful partner and their adventures in keeping us safe. She also deals fabulously with the misogyny of the club.
This is an ambitious book with Seven Stars & Moon Moon Moon highlights. There are times when it is so far off piste that it can lose the reader and the aforementioned Kentish Glory would have had me putting the book down if it was the opener to be honest. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the overall read and whilst not a Holmes book in its content, it was without doubt inspired by the characters of Arthur Conan Doyle.