The Vesuvius Club by Mark Gatiss
Edwardian London. It is a world that seems familiar to us: Hansom cabs rattling through fog-choked streets, gin-swilling aesthetes rubbing shoulders with movers and shakers of British Imperial grandeur. And beneath the confident facade, naturally, an underworld of sinister Tongs, crazed anarchists, murder, and seething vice. So much for the familiar picture of comforting Victoriana. But this is the world of Lucifer Box and nothing is quite as it first appears.
Lucifer Box is the most fashionable portrait painter of his day: trading bon mots with the best of them and ruthlessly exploiting his talent and dandified beauty to enter every level of this intriguing society. From his elegant townhouse at Number 9 Downing Street (well, someone has to live there…) to his vast studio in Chelsea, from the snow-choked streets of Tsarist St Petersburg to the sun-bleached hotels of Mentone, life is one long, dazzling party.
Of course, leading a double life is terribly fashionable and Lucifer Box is not to be outdone. For what Box’s fashionable circle would never believe is that their witty, cheerfully bisexual friend is also a secret agent…