An outrageous premise is precisely what we expect from the writer Kim Newman, and that is precisely what we are given with Angels of Music. After the very diverse pleasures of Moriarty: Hound of the D’Urbevilles and An English Ghost Story, we have a typically bizarre Newman synthesis here: essentially the television show Charlie’s Angels transported to 19th-century Paris with these period ‘angels’ consisting of Sherlock Holmes’ adversary, ‘The Woman’, Irene Adler, Svengali’s protegée Trilby and the opera singer Christine Daaé who (you may remember) was a pupil of Erik, the Phantom of the Opera. And the disfigured musician is not so much in the business of disrupting the performances of the Paris Opéra as being the employer of the three women mentioned above, utilising their talents as detectives to pit them against a grotesque nemesis. As ever, Newman’s highly individual smorgasbord of cultural references produces something rich and strange (which is, of course, what this writer’s admirers turn to him for). There is also a slew of other references (from both pop and high culture) which hit the reader, thick and fast, and provide an extra level of pleasure. The novel arrives with an encomium from the writer Christopher Fowler, who – to some degree – moves in similar genre-tweaking territory. Kim Newman admirers need not hesitate.

Angels of Music by Kim Newman Titan 978178165683

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