Science fiction and fantasy                                            

The Nine Deaths Of Doctor Valentine

by John Llewellyn Probert


This novella is a homage to the films of Vincent Price. A man is found badly burnt and hanging from Clifton Suspension Bridge, and it's up to detective inspector Jeffrey Longdon to solve the case. It's a murder mystery story, and the detective follows a trail of bodies of people killed in increasingly elaborate and bizarre manners.

From a deadly balloon ride to a lethal scorpion show, it soon becomes clear that the killer has a taste for theatrics. It's up to the detective to figure out the connections between the victims, in order to protect them before the serial killer strikes again. But Longdon's quarry is clever and extremely audacious. It's not merely a question of whether he will get away with his crimes, but what showy and gruesome murder he will carry out next.

This novella is gleefully silly, and enjoyable in a corny way. The villain's theatrical flourishes and tendency to gloat put me in mind of a Bond villain. I'm not very familiar with Vincent Price's movies, and so I can't say whether knowing about them would make reading this more or less fun. There may be in-jokes I've missed, but on the other hand knowing about the films could make the outcome more predictable. Nevertheless, The Nine Deaths Of Doctor Valentine doesn't seem to be very deep, but it has a lightness and camp humour that make it a fast, pleasant read.

21st November 2013

Book Details

Year: 2012

Categories: Books


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