Fresh Meat: The Casebook of Newbury & Hobbes by George Mann

The Casebook of Newbury & Hobbes by George MannThe Casebook of Newbury & Hobbes by George Mann is a collection of short stories detailing the supernatural steampunk adventures of detective duo, Sir Maurice Newbury and Miss Veronica Hobbes in dark and dangerous Victorian London (available September 24, 2013).

This was the first of George Mann’s books that I’ve read, and what caught my eye was the steampunk theme. Even the cover reads, “Science, Adventure, Mystery.” As a lover of them all, how could I pass that up, right? But here’s where it gets interesting. It wasn’t only the aforementioned elements, this book as a whole was pure fun and completely delightful! The world of Newbury & Hobbes is intricate and well thought out, spanming across storylines to intersect with none other than one of the most famous and widely known detectives, Sherlock Holmes.

Another interesting fact is that Newbury has a female sidekick by way of Miss Veronica Hobbes. I loved this aspect, and her character rounds out Newbury and his quirkiness with her clear-headed and logical ways. We see a little of her and their relationship in this anthology, but if you want to read more of her, you can check out the entire Newbury & Hobbes series that starts with The Affinity Bridge and is ongoing, including the latest release, The Executioner’s Heart.

Mr. Mann has edited many anthologies, has a series of mystery novels, and has written a Dr. Who novel, for all of the Whovians out there. He is also slated to write an audiobook featuring Sherlock Holmes, and has contributed to the Holmes mythos in both the short and long form. His extensive biography shows his love of the craft along with the steampunk and mystery genres.

With The Casebook of Newbury & Hobbes, I was able to jump right in and not feel confused or lost, never having read any of the other books. This was due in no small part to the addition of a handy-dandy timeline explaining the series stories and where they fall according to date, so I could see the natural placement and growth of the characters and follow right along. Another addition in the book that I found both helpful and fascinating was the notes at the end. I was excited to finish a story and jump to the back and read Mr. Mann’s notes about the particular story. It was like having the author there, giving me golden nuggets of information. I felt like I was in the know, receiving privileged information.

Many of them carry a certain creepiness due to their gothic settings, nighttime jaunts, and extraordinary tales remembered in darkened smoking rooms. They were each a short mystery solved by Newbury’s wit and cleverness, with the exception of the few that featured different characters, such as Holmes’s very own Dr. Watson. Newbury is a flawed character, strong, but battling his own demons. This makes him seem more real, more organic. His addiction to opium is shadowed by his personal losses. Mann’s attention to detail supplied the appropriate steampunk feel and left me with some very vivid and memorable images. For example, in “The Shattered Teacup”, he describes the most fantastic clockwork owl, one that I continue to picture in my head.

A strange brass object was moving about on the floorboards, its metal feet clacking against the smooth lacquer. It was about the size of a human head, but crafted to resemble a barn owl. Its metallic feathers shimmered in the reflected light of the gas lamps. Newbury watched it for a moment as it paced about, just like a real bird, its head twitching from side to side as it walked. After a few seconds, it turned its head as if to regard him, gears grinding as its glittering, beady eyes adjusted their focus, turning slowly to settle on his face. Then its brass wings clacked and fluttered noisily, and it began to trill again, shuffling off to hide beneath the chair.

I have to have one of these.

In another story, “The Case of the Night Crawler,” John H. Watson finds himself teaming up with Newbury and Hobbes. They're solving a local mystery involving an antagonist which also happens to be a frightening creature, “a beast of the most diabolical appearance, as if it had dragged itself from the very depth of Hades itself.” Mann goes on to set up a chilling scene, in which we see the creature for the first time. Watson says:

I became aware of a low, mechanical sound coming from the river, not unlike the clanking of heavy iron chains being dragged through a winching mechanism.

I ran to her side in time to see two thick proboscises, each about the girth of a man’s torso and covered in scores of tiny suckers like those of an octopus, come probing over the stone lip of the embankment. They squirmed and shifted as if feeling for the best possible hold, and then appeared to latch on to the uneven surface, providing purchase for the beast to heave itself out of the water.

As I watched, the monster slipped its bulk over the top of the embankment wall and raised itself to its full height–at least twenty feet tall–twisting and turning as if trying to decide which direction it should now take. I could see very little of it, other than the silhouette of its mass and the gleam of its wet carapace, catching and reflecting what thin shafts of moonlight fell on it from above.

It was moments like these, where dark monsters and mysteries collided, that I loved the most, and I’m happy to say there were plenty of these moments supplied. These stories were exciting, sometimes scary, and altogether intriguing. I can’t say that I’m usually this satisfied with every story in an anthology, but with this one, I was. The stories were short and plucky enough to hold my attention, and they stopped at just the right time–when I wanted more.

This Sweepstakes has ended.

To enter for a chance to win a trade paperback copy of  The Casebook of Newbury and Hobbes by George Mann, make sure you're a registered member of the site and simply leave a comment below.

TIP: Since only comments from registered users will be tabulated, if your user name appears in red above your comment—STOP—go log in, then try commenting again. If your user name appears in black above your comment, You’re In!

The Casebook of Newbury & Hobbes Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  A purchase does not improve your chances of winning.  Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry.  To enter, complete entry at https://www.criminalelement.com/blogs/2013/09/fresh-meat-the-casebook-of-newbury-and-hobbes-by-george-mann-steampunk-victorian-mystery-amber-keller beginning at 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) September 24, 2013. Sweepstakes ends at 10:59 p.m. ET October 8, 2013. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law.  Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

 

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Amber Keller is a writer who delves into dark, speculative fiction, particularly horror and suspense/thrillers. You can find her work on her Amazon Author Page and she also features many short stories on Diary of a Writer. A member of the Horror Writers Association, she contributes to many websites and eMagazines and you can follow her on Twitter at @akeller9.

Read all posts by Amber Keller for Criminal Element.

Comments

  1. Christine LaRue

    Would love to read this collection of Newbury & Hobbes stories, which sounds like a great intro to the world of this series. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity! (Weirdly pleased to be the first commenter … sometimes the late bird is the early bird.)

  2. Carl Ginger

    This looks like a great book!

  3. Tawney Mazek

    If I can’t have the clockwork owl, I’d love to have the book.

  4. Thomas Walker

    I would really like to win this book!!

  5. ronframpton

    any thing in london has to be good

  6. stephanie willis

    This sounds like something I would really like to read!

  7. Lynn Marler

    Hope I win; thanks for the chance!

  8. Linda Knowles

    That’s a book my daughter and I will fight over to see who gets to read it first! 😉

  9. Michele Carvalho

    I would like to win a mystery book for a change.

  10. Shannon Baas
  11. Sharon Kaminski

    This would be a great read, thanks.

  12. Irene Menge

    This sounds like a marvelous read. I’d really love to win.

  13. Patricia Bassett

    I would love to read this..I’ve never heard of this series, but wow, this could be the beginning of a love affair…please let me read this….

  14. Nancy Gonzalez

    Newbury & Hobbes….my first introduction to Steampunk!!!

  15. Barbara Lima

    Steampunk! What fun!

  16. Peter W. Horton Jr.

    I luve detectives! Yes!

  17. Russell Moore

    always looking for a fun read.

  18. David Boyington

    this sounds like a neat book to check out.

  19. April Dawn

    I’ve read the previous books but had just heard of this one yesterday. I am very interested in reading it as the full length novels tend to have too dark a tone for me and perhaps the shorts will work better because I do love these characters.

  20. Vicky Boackle

    looks interesting.

  21. g. penrod

    always looking for my next read

  22. Barbara Wilmot

    I’ve got some other George Mann books on my TBR pile so can I add another one please!

  23. Jeffrey Malis

    Looking forward to reading this. Thank you for the opportunity!

  24. tony parsons

    I would luv 2 read this book

  25. Linda Peters

    would love to read this, thanks

  26. Brenda Tucker

    Steampunk sounds wonderful, would love to have it.

  27. REBECCA STEPHEN

    I love Victorian novels, so exciting

  28. Mary Ann Brady

    Sounds wonderful. Thx.

  29. Brenda Jordan

    this looks like a great read!

  30. keith james

    This is for me.

  31. Kayce Crews

    Count me in.

  32. Daniel Morrell

    sounds like a fun one!

  33. Lisa Pecora

    would love to read this!!

  34. Wayne Lecoy

    I am entering your giveaway.
    It would be great to win a Paperback copy of
    The Casebook of Newbury & Hobbes by George Mann.
    This looks like an interesting book.
    Thank you for having this giveaway!!!!!!!!!

  35. Michele McGinn

    Would love to win this fantastic book!!!

  36. kathy pease

    Thank you for the great giveaway please count me in 🙂

  37. Tim Moss

    Awesome! Count me in!

  38. Regina Marlborough

    Book will be well read.

  39. Susan Smoaks

    Thank you for the chance to win, this is exciting!!!

  40. LeAnn Knott

    Looks like a great read for the long winter nights. Had not seen this author before. Thanks for the chance to win!!!

  41. barbara stenby

    This looks like an amazing read can’t wait to read it!

  42. Roger Simmons

    This would be cool to read

  43. Tanis Sergeew

    Looks like a great book! Would love the chance to read it, thank you!

  44. Andrea Amy

    I really want to read this book. Looks Great! Thanks for the chance!

  45. Ed Nemmers

    I would love to read the work of George Mann!

  46. Kat Emerick

    I love short stories!

  47. Lisa Hartjes

    I love steampunk in all shapes and sizes. Interested in Jadepunk too!

  48. Alice

    Love steampunk and mysteries. This sounds like the perfect book.

  49. David

    I’ve lately gotten in to Steampunk but have always been a Sherlockian. Great combo.

  50. Sonia Grgas

    Steampunk and Dr. Watson: count me in!

  51. William Gardner

    This genre, if you can call it that, perhaps “niche” is best, has always fascinated me. And thisone is shaping up like a splendid spectacle.

  52. Michelle Archer

    Steampunk mystery! would love to win!!

  53. Megan Brett

    Sounds delightful!

  54. Susan Meek

    Oh, my! This sounds like a perfect addition to my library!

  55. Anne Pichette

    This sounds like something I would really like. I am a big fan of Victoiran mysteries.

  56. Saundra K. Warren

    Thanks for the chance!

  57. Kimbrell Scheunert

    I would LOVE to win this book. It sounds wonderful!

  58. Joshua Atkins

    Sounds interesting. Thanks for the giveaway!

  59. Samantha Cox

    looks good. I would love to read it!

  60. Mike zinn

    I’ve read some of Mann’s work before and it’s always been great. This sounds like another winner.

  61. Jim Belcher

    Looks like my chance to try Steampunk and see what it is all about.

  62. Desmond Warzel

    Count me in, please!

  63. Charles Fraker

    My cat’s goggles are all fogged up over this book and he insists that I enter the contest. Thanks!

  64. Laurence Coven

    I love supernatural storied, especially when set in a spooky Victorian background

  65. Fred Gillis

    Count me in.

  66. Deanna Stillings

    I love steampunk inventions. Count me in please.

  67. Deborah Dumm

    I can’t wait to read this book.

  68. Kristen Meston

    I was already looking at this one so would love to win a copy!

  69. Mike Rogers

    Fantastic!

  70. Karen Terry

    I want in.

  71. Richard P. Fohrenbach

    I love mysteries and sweepstakes.

  72. Alberto Garcia

    Sounds really interesting.

  73. Patricia Nicklas

    Good excerpt. I’m anxious to read the rest.

  74. Vicki Hancock

    Would love to reAd.

  75. Ilene Harris

    I hope I win, it looks like a fun book.

  76. Michele Amos

    Sounds interesting! Would love to win this one.

  77. John Dozier

    love Newbury and Hobbes! would love to add the Casebook to my library!

  78. Michael Carter

    I love this series.
    Please enter me.

  79. Jane Schwarz

    I have just gotten interested in Steampunk stories. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

  80. Diane Stedner

    I love the steampunk theme. This sounds like a good read.

  81. Jeffrey Tretin

    Sounds great. Thanks for the giveaway.

  82. Barbara

    Science, adventure, mystery….how can you miss????!!!

  83. M W

    Looks good.

  84. Marissa Culp

    This sounds like such an interesting book… How come I’ve never heard of it before? Please let me win!

  85. Judy Woodruff

    Thanks for the opportunity. Would love to read.

  86. Donna Bruno

    Steampunk, thriller & mystery all in one? I’d love to win a copy!

  87. Jennifer Weaver

    Sounds cool, would love to read!

  88. Lisa Richardson

    Would love to win this!

  89. Richard Derus

    Oh boy! I hope I win!

  90. Pam Howell

    I love the cover. It screams steampunk and makes me want to read it right now. Thanks.

  91. Allan Culmer

    Love Steampunk. Can’t wait to read this book.

  92. Allan Culmer

    Love Steampunk. Can’t wait to read this book.

  93. Rosemary Krejsa

    I love reading Steampunk. They are so inventive.

  94. Heather Cowley

    Yeah…night crawler just freaked me out. Thanks.

  95. theresa norris

    I’d love to read this book.

  96. Judy Hudson

    Steampunk and sea monsters. I’d love to read it.

  97. Joyce Mitchell

    Sounds interesting – thanks.

  98. Janice Milliken

    Just the book to read on Halloween night!

  99. susan beamon

    I have been getting into steampunk. It is a very interesting genre.

  100. Karl Stenger

    I would love to read this book

  101. MARY Mclain

    I would like to read this book.

  102. Kenny Diveley

    Sounds like an interesting book-I want it

  103. Biddie99

    What an interesting looking book. I would love the chance to read it!

  104. Nancy Zahar

    Sounds different.

  105. Mary Ann Brady

    Oh, boy. Sounds great. Thx

  106. Joanne Mielczarski

    Sounds like a great read – please count me in.

  107. pearl berger

    Sounds captivating. Thanks.

  108. Marie-Louise Molloy

    [b]How can I solve the case with the book?[/b]

  109. Tatiana deCarillion

    Wow, I love this review LOL..must…have…

  110. Bruce Hamilton

    love steampunk stories.

    Bruce

  111. Jackie Wisherd

    I’ve not read any books by this author…would love to win one.

  112. Julie McDonough

    I can’t wait to read this collection! Thank-you for the opportunity to win this.

  113. Connie Saunders

    Great collection!

  114. Steven Wilber

    Looking forward to this one. Count me in

  115. Dana Mollica

    “Science, adventure, mystery” sounds great indeed. :]

  116. Tiffany Duncan

    Thanks for the giveaway

  117. Jo Mansfield

    CAN’T WAIT TO SINK MY TEETH INTO THIS ONE!!:):)

  118. Gregory Sparks

    Steampunk, mystery and monsters? Sounds like fun. Count me in.

  119. Mary Ann Woods

    Definitely looks interesting!

  120. Cindi Hoppes

    What can I say? I adore Steam Punk…
    Thanks, Cindi
    jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

  121. Sand Lopez

    I would love this!

  122. YvonneJ

    One look at the cover and I knew that this was the book for me! I’ve been wanting to try out the Steampunk genre and this sounds like it would be a great ‘first’ read.

  123. Ronald Roseborough

    I’ve never tried steampunk. I’d like to give it a try.

  124. Judith Barnes

    Mystery and steampunk! It’s a yes for me.

  125. Doreen Sheridan

    This sounds intriguing! I’d love to read it.

  126. Marjorie Pawley

    While reading this anthology would be different for me, I believe that this particular one may open a new door for me to enjoy! Thank you for the opportunity.

  127. Robin Pasholk

    Sounds funkitudinous, and I’m overdue for a win…

  128. Michael Papagermanos

    Thank you! I’ll take one!

  129. Mary Lauff-Thompson

    Love Victorian steampunk!

  130. Gwen Stackler

    Love this series!

  131. Mickie Turett

    It’s great to be introduced to a new-to-me author and series.

  132. Crystal Blackburn

    I’d love to win this book!

  133. Ellen

    I like my mysteries set in interesting locals.

  134. David Boyington

    this sounds like a book worth checking out.

  135. Phoenix Vie

    Steampunk’s often fun.

  136. lynette barfield

    Would really love a copy

  137. elizabeth findlay

    Love everything Sherlock even if it is only Watson:0 Plus Victorian mysteries are always so creepy.

  138. Johanna Bouchard

    Want this SO bad! Please pick me!!!! 😀

  139. Elizabeth Bevins

    What an amazing cover! I’d love to read this one. Thanks for the entry.

  140. Janet Martin

    A terrific series so far–can’t wait for more!

  141. Annie Pott

    Love the cover and review – must have this book!

  142. Sue Farrell

    I’d like to try a steampunk mystery–and this book looks like a good place to start.

  143. JAMES LYNAM

    MANN is one of my favorite authors. Hope I win.

  144. Cheryl English

    Please include me. This sounds interesting.

  145. melissa brown

    LOVE!

  146. vicki wurgler

    this book sounds great

  147. Pat Murphy

    Sounds like a good read. Have just finished my first steampunk book and am interested in reading more. Count me in

  148. babs allen

    Would love to win, I’ve read one other book by him in another series, and enjoyed it. Thanks!

  149. Melissa Firpo

    I would love to read this book. I also have a family member who is completely into Steampunk and loves to collect all types of Steampunk books! Her and I would love to give reviews on this.

  150. Linda Rodriguez

    Would love to read this introduction to the series.

  151. Doris C. Losey

    sounds like fun!

  152. Joan Woods

    Haven’t read any of Mr. Mann’s books yet. Winning would be a great chance to do so. Don’t know waht steampunk is but would love to find out.

  153. Deb Mosora

    Interesting! Would love to read it.

  154. Bonnie Karoly

    I love reading stories set in Victorian London. It would be great to win a copy of this book.

  155. Florry M. D.

    I like short stories and I would be so happy to win The Casebook of Newbury & Hobbes by George Mann.

  156. Heather Martin

    Sounds fun.

  157. MaryC

    Love stories set in Victorian London.

  158. Merikay Noah

    Yay – steampunk detectives – there’s nothing my followers or I love more! Fingers crossed I win!

  159. Kathy Fannon

    Sounds like fun

  160. Michael Gonzales

    Not sure what steampunk is, but willing to sample it.

  161. teresa sopher

    A chance to win a book and discover a new (to me) author! Oh my!

  162. William Fee

    Sweet. Love this series

  163. Joyce Benzing

    Interesting.

  164. Melissa Keith

    You give away the best books! I’ve been reading about this one all over the place. Sounds brill! The Victorian era is my fav. Off to put gas in my air bus. When I come back I hope I have a e-mail telling me I won. CHEERS!

  165. Heather Deluna

    This looks like a real fun book…and love the cover.

  166. SALLY GASS

    STEAMPUNK SOUNDS VERY INTERESTING AND I LOVE MYSTERIES SO I AM ENTERING…..GOOD LUCK TO US ALL…..THANK YOU.

  167. vickie dailey

    not read to many antholoigies – but this one grabs my attention and would love to read

  168. Allison Moyer

    Steampunk! YES!! Thanks for the giveaway!

  169. txblaize

    I would love to win a copy!

  170. Mark Williams

    love to win

  171. cheryl stillwell

    Thanks for the Newberry And Hobbs giveaway!

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