Necroscope: The Möbius Murders by Brian Lumley (book review).

‘The Möbius Murders’ is the eighteenth book in the ‘Necroscope’ series featuring Harry Keogh and, as usual, pits the protagonist against a threat that traditional law enforcement can’t handle. But not through lack of effort, though, and one of the interesting things about the ‘Necroscope’ milieu is the interaction between gifted individuals like Harry, the official metaphysical investigators that make up E-Branch, and the various inhuman beings they have to work against. This is highlighted in one scene where Harry explains to his E-Branch contact that the murderer they seek may have the same gifts and talents as Harry and that immediately raises the stakes so far as E-Branch is concerned.


Of course, these sorts of threats are part-and-parcel of author Brian Lumley’s output and the story pretty much fits the general pattern of ‘Necroscope’ stories. What sets each book apart is often the setting and the types of character used and, in this case, the antagonist is well chosen and neatly defined. He’s a leech of sorts, sucking the life-force out of people then disposing of the bodies through inter-dimensional portals conjured up using theoretic mathematics of the sort used by Harry Keogh and hinted at by real world mathematicians, including Pythagoras and Möbius, hence the title of the book. But the Great Leech is or rather was a mathematics professor as well, a rather doctrinaire one eventually ‘let go’ by his managerial, if not intellectual, superiors. This in turn leads to a murder done in anger rather than the usual need for sustenance, which eventually gets Harry and E-Branch onto his trail. In the meantime, he earns a modest income travelling around Scotland giving talks about UFOs and other unusual phenomena to lay audiences interested in such things. Through the Leech, we get glimpses of the ‘Necroscope’ universe as Lumley has created it and, through Keogh’s parallel observations when they finally meet, a better sense of good and evil as it exists in a universe where theoretical maths is a practical science and where the dead can talk to those that can hear them.

While an entertaining story, there are some niggles. The first is a consequence of the setting, southeast Scotland. Lumley is a great fan of phonetic spelling where strong dialects and accents are concerned, but it’s really hard to take seriously sentences that end with ‘the noo’ and there’s a lot of this sort of thing, which grates after a while. The story is also rather straightforward and, frankly, short given the price. There are no sub-plots of note and a limited corps of characters, which gives the whole thing the feel of an excellent short story, which it is. But a $35 hardback? Hard to justify, unless the Bob Eggleton artwork inside the book is something you really want. Recommended for sure, a good read, though undeniably better value as a paperback or Kindle book rather than a hardback book.

Neale Monks

February 2016

(pub: Subterranean Press, 2013. 176 page deluxe hardback. Price: $35.00 (US). ISBN: 978-1-59606-529-1)

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