The Osiris Ritual is the second full length adventure of detectives Newbury & Hobbs (The Affinity Bridge being the first), who are employees in the British Museum when not being called on to solve problems for the Crown by an artificially life-prolonged Queen Victoria.
We are in steadampunked London with Sherlock but not Watson-esque heroes. Actually that is a little misleading. There are going to be comparisons though. It’s only natural. Especially when you add in the conversations with the police chief but it’s also mixed in with James Bond heroics. So not really Sherlock Holmes but it has that same feeling of intellectual and gentlemanly crime.
Sir Maurice Newbury, Gentlemen Investigator for the Crown, and his assistant, Miss Veronica Hobbes, have already been introduced so it’s straight into their respective cases. Hobbes is investigating a series of missing girls and Newbury has an errand to escort an agent to Buckingham Palace.
Unsurprisingly both stories end up being mixed and they merge into central mystery of the mummy’s curse. Interestingly Mann keeps Newbury & Holmes apart for most the tale though the reasons are explained I’d have liked to have seen them more of a team.
Unfortunately it feels more like an expanded short story rather than a novel even with the multiple story threads. And that’s where I think that Mann doesn’t quite reach the potential that he has in the situation or the characters. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a thrilling tale that moves along at a pace but it seems to lack depth.
And that might be because there seems to be believable occult elements that could have been explored to add more mystery, the mystery itself could have played out a little deeper and a little darker and I’d like to have seen a big more investigation rather than ‘chance’ meetings.
But that isn’t to say it’s not fun and enjoyable. It is. And I’m excited enough by the characters and the setting as well as the Mann’s tone and style. I’m just looking for a bit for oomph somehow.
Overall, a fun romping read that doesn’t quite soar.