Black Butterfly (Lucifer Box, #3)
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Black Butterfly (Lucifer Box #3)

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  685 ratings  ·  70 reviews
With the young Queen Elizabeth newly established on her throne, Lucifer Box Esq. is now 'by Appointment to Her Majesty'. But the secretive Royal Academy seems a very different place and, approaching retirement, Box decides to investigate one last case.
Hardcover, 204 pages
Published November 1st 2008 by Simon & Schuster
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Karen
BLACK BUTTERFLY is the third Secret Service novel featuring tall, dark, suave spy about town Lucifer Box. Although it will come as a bit of a shock to readers of these books to discover that Lucifer has gotten old, fast approaching retirement. Good grief! Old age comes to Lucifer Box ... who would have believed it could ever happen. Worse still, this is billed as the final of the Lucifer Box novels which is particularly sad for those readers who have come to love the overly energetic lovelife, s...more
Erika
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
F.R.
The first Lucifer Box novel was set in the 1890s, the second in the 1920s and now we find him as an old man in the 50s. This of course puts the master spy into James Bond territory, and Gatiss handles this by creating a more mundane world (there is an early dig at “the stuff hammered out on Remingtons by ex-foreign correspondents in seersucker shirts”), but one which is ultimately more fantastical.

This is a witty, ribald and scurrilous book (much like its lead character). Gatiss really crafts an...more
Antonia
had me grinning on most pages and left me laughing out loud after i finished, what a worthy end to the trilogy.
and that's all i want to say.
Adam Stone
Black Butterfly is the third of Mark Gattis' Lucifer Box series of novels, and this one is very much a pastiche of the Ian Fleming series of James Bond novels, right from the cover, to the ridiculous nature of the plot, and to some of the character names my favourite of which is Whitley Bey a Geordie Turk and the CIA agent Kingdom Kum.

This was good for me as I have been reading those book fairly recently and it was a lot of fun reading this book and spotting the references and allusions, and it...more
Katie
In The Black Butterfly, Queen Elizabeth II has just come to the throne and Lucifer Box is being shoved off his as he has retirement foisted upon him. In spite of this, he finds himself compelled to investigate when perfectly sensible public figures start dying in reckless accidents. Who is the mysterious Kingdom Kum? And who or what is the Black Butterfly? But someone does not want him to find out.

As each book in this trilogy is set in a different era, Lucifer Box naturally ages as the books pro...more
Andrew
This was a definite case of judging a book by its cover. The spoof James Bond cover artwork took me back to my early teens, when I devoured as much Ian Fleming as I could get hold of. Knowing Mark Gatiss for his television work, I thought this would be worth reading.

In the early 1950s Lucifer Box is an aging secret agent. Having got to the top of his profession he takes on one final mission. After a Fleming pastiche for the first chapter, the narrative settles into Box's first person voice. Gat...more
Erastes
I’m leaving Lucifer Box’s second installment (The Devil in Amber) on The List at Speakitsname.com, but I’m not going to review it, because it’s rather too paranormal. However this is more spy-like with no paranormal aspects, so it fits the bill.

Like The Devil In Amber, this book jumps forward in time, and we meet Lucifer at the end of his career. He’s feeling a bit sorry for himself and mourning his lost youth (and he’s worked his way through quite a few of those in his life, let’s be honest) an...more
h_d
Oct 02, 2013 h_d rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dandies and lushes
There is nothing better than starting a series of books and hating that first book, completely unaware that by the time you read the last one, you'll be sorry to have reached the end.

I really enjoyed this. It was so utterly ridiculous and enjoyable. I can't quite believe how much I've come to like this character whom I loathed in the first installment. He's still insufferably smug in this, but time has mellowed him out somewhat and the humour is more self-deprecating, making him rather endearin...more
Kitt
I have to confess (to my eternal shame) that I hadn't come across Lucifer Box before, but I was lucky enough to find a signed copy of Black Butterfly in a local charity shop. I think Mark Gatiss is great and I'm a big fan of his tv writing, not to mention the book ticks a goodly number of my squee list (humour, bisexual heros, glamourous James Bond types), but (and you knew there'd be a but coming, eh?) this left me strangly cold. It was as if it was trying too hard to be arch and knowing, but c...more
Ivan
What a lush I am. I've been waiting and waiting for this, the third Lucifer Box book by the embarrassingly talented Mark Gatiss, and wouldn't you know that instead of savoring it, I guzzled it down like a gin soaked rummy. Oh, well, as was the case with The Vesuvius Club and The Devil in Amber, I'll just have to read this again (and again).
I want to write more. However, I don't want to spoil a single surprise or revelation. Lucifer Box is indeed back; older and wiser, and yet as randy as ever....more
Kris McCracken
Finishing the set, we shoot forward another twenty-or-so years into a Cold War world very different from the earlier two stories. Perhaps this shift explains why Black Butterfly is the most Bond-like of all the novels.

Lucifer has now risen to the top of the ranks of the Secret Service, and is not shy off being retired. Of course, there remains one last adventure to be had. As expected, there is a sense of mortality that hangs over this one like a black cloud, but that does not stop our hero gett...more
Erik Moloney
With the young Queen Elizabeth newly established on her throne, Lucifer Box Esq. is now 'by Appointment to Her Majesty'. But the secretive Royal Academy seems a very different place and, approaching retirement, Box decides to investigate one last case.
Wendle
Lucifer Box. He's a joy, really. A hilarious, naughty, action-packed joy. I read The Vesuvius Club and The Devil in Amber years ago and loved them, so it was a pretty safe bet I would love Black Butterfly as well. Which I did.

The plot can be as convoluted and ridiculous as it likes, so long as I have the pun-tastic wit of Lucifer Box running throughout.

This book is purely for fun, and it delivers in huge doses. Sniggers, chortles, smiles and shoulder-shaking laughter. It managed to illicit them...more
Janet
A big part of the appeal to me of "The Vesuvius Club," the first Lucifer Box novel, was its unexpectedly cheeky cloak and dagger tone. Box was an utterly scandalous "hero" and the twists and turns of the story were like a roller coaster. Unfortunately, that sense of freshness simply could not be carried over into the subsequent books.

That said, "Black Butterfly" is a much more enjoyable read than the second book of the series. Lucifer Box, now at retirement age, demonstrates that while he may n...more
Alastair
Charming enough, I suppose, though I don't read very much in the spy / mystery / thriller orbits. It was romp-y. The characters are thin, the wordplay rarely that clever. The situations are interesting, & of course I will admit a weakness for reading about Lucifer Box's gleeful pansexuality.

It's the little gaffes, though, like describing the lettering in Hagia Sophia as 'Cyrillic', that really ruin books like this for me. Of course it doesn't matter; neither does a dog turd in a tulip bed.

I...more
Yorky Caz
So bit different this one was read out on Radio 4 by the author. Fab! You get to hear exactly what he meant each character to sound like and how they behave it made the book so much better. Great books with a rather unusual character who by this 3rd book is definitely beginning to feel his age
Lisa
I can't quite put my finger on the reason I didn't love this as much as the other Lucifer Box books. Perhaps it's the quite large time shift between instalments, or just the idea that the series has apparently come to an end. In theory, I like the idea of having this large time shifts, but it does seem to make you want more, especially when Box himself offers up a great number of cryptic asides that beg to have the full story told. The other drawback that is that few characters make it from book...more
Brittanie
Lucifer Box is always a fun read. While not the best of three, still has a lot of hilarious moments and is a great ending to the trilogy. I hope Gatiss writes more from Box's younger years (though I won't hold my breath).
Emy
Jan 27, 2014 Emy rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
Audio book read by Mark Gatiss himself. Well, what can I say. Very silly and random. I loved the different voices and accents (although Kingdom Kum was a bit creepy), but god, it was random.
Louis Strong
A fitting conclusion to a wonderful trilogy.
The elderly Artist cum secret agent has to get to the bottom of a series of high profile suicides.
It (like it's two predecessors) was a joy to read, so much so that I may track down Mark Gatiss' Dr Who novels or maybe even his television scripts. The three books see Lucifer Box at three different stages of his life so but this book you feel as if you have known him for years.

My one problem is that Lucifer occasionally recounts previous unwritten adv...more
Corline
Funny, silly and awfully short. With some great Bondian names and puns.
Sam
The third (and apparently final) Lucifer Box novel moves the action up to the early 1950s, and lands firmly in Bond territory this time. From the opening sequence through the new breed of agents to the innuendo-ish close, this is definitely reminiscent of Bond. Lots of fun - I did love the various references to the now much older Lucifer not being sure whether it was him or something else that was creaking. But Mr Box is quite clearly still attractive to (and attracted by) several conquests, alt...more
Joanna
Out of the trilogy, this was the weakest entry, but nevertheless it was rollicking yarn filled with puns and innuendo, a charming divertissement.
Mindi Beal
Not as fun or clever as the first two in the series, but definitely a nice conclusion to the Lucifer Box trilogy. I'm just assuming Gatiss retired the character so he could focus on Sherlock - his true gift to humanity.
Rebecca
A fitting retirement both for Lucifer Box and for the series. Expect the same wild adventures as before, but with a much creakier cad at the helm.

I think it is the little details Gatiss adds that makes his books so worthwhile. There are no background people without a bit of character, no scenes without a touch of personality. I enjoy his writing that much more because it's easier to picture; he isn't overly verbose, but chooses the right words to flesh things out perfectly.
Gayle
Read this over several days so it somewhat broke the flow of the story for me (which is obviously my fault, I should have just hunkered down and read it all in one go).

Not sure if I enjoyed it as much as the first two, but it was still far greater than a lot of books out there.

I don't know if we are going to be meeting Lucifer Box again (he is getting on in age) but I wouldn't mind another visit from him. Perhaps in the swinging sixties, next time round?
John
The weakest of the trilogy. The main problem is the central character is now too old to indulge in the derring do exploits of the earlier novels. Which is kind of a nice idea but leads to lots of padding. The author had to find quite a contrived way to get the action going and it didn't really work. Told in the style of Fleming's Bond (books rather than films) with a dash of Graham Greene and a nod to Austin Powers.
Lisa
An enjoyable read, I hadn't realised it was the final part of a trilogy, so I now have two more books to add to my ridiculous to read pile.

Very easy to read, engaging plot and comical, likeable characters. I haven't rated higher as, even though I realise the book was written in a deliberate style, it was over descriptive throughout and sometimes a bit too obvious. But good fun all the same.
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Mark Gatiss (born 17 October 1966) is an English actor, screenwriter and novelist. He is best known as a member of the comedy team The League of Gentlemen, and has both written for and acted in the TV series Doctor Who and Sherlock.

Fulfilling a lifelong dream, Gatiss has written three episodes for the 2005-revived BBC television series Doctor Who. His first, "The Unquiet Dead", aired on 9 April 20...more
More about Mark Gatiss...
The Vesuvius Club (Lucifer Box, #1) The Devil in Amber (Lucifer Box, #2) Nightshade Doctor Who: Invaders from Mars (Big Finish Audio Drama, #28) Doctor Who: Last of the Gaderene

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“If not exactly raging against the dying of the light, I was at least a little cross with it.” 11 likes
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