Yes, it’s that time of year again, when the new Robert Rankin book makes its spectacular appearance. And here it is. It’s set in the same mildly deranged and technologically transformed world we saw in last year’s The Japanese Devil Fish Girl and Other Unnatural Attractions. London is illuminated by Tesla’s wireless power transmission, airships are quite popular, and someone is killing music hall stars in a quite messy manner.
We meet a private detective who is the real source for Sherlock Holmes, but who is unexpectedly also the source for Mr Pickwick. We meet a retired Colonel and a talking monkey.
There’s an Evil Power at work, and of course the Mechanical Messiah itself.
Look, talking about the plot when it comes to Rankin is a bit silly really. There is one, but it’s all about how he does it rather than what he does. Gags are plentiful, Brentford is mentioned. It’s good quality far-fetched fiction from the master of such things. Good fun in a “don’t read it on the bus if public giggling embarrasses you” sort of way. Just like all his other books, really.
Will he carry on with this crazed Steampunk theme? Or will the next one be something else altogether? Only time will tell. Unless he lets on. Or somebody sneaks a peek at his computer. Or the manuscript falls through a time warp. Or something.
Look, it’s Robert Rankin, it’s good silly fun, read it now.
 And yes, Holmes fans, his name is Bell.
 Suggestions that this is impossible due to Dickens being far too dead at the time are denied in a footnote, of course
 And of the usual kind. Some of the silliest are in footnotes