There are parts of this book that I read with a permanent wince. Some of the character names are positively painful - Miss Bella Pok, Mrs Midsummer Knight. It tries to hard to be clever and descends in the realm of silliness. It had a spark of something interesting, but then the crap got in the way.
Set in Edwardian England Lucifer Box is a portrait painter - struggling to make ends meet. He lives at Number 9 Downing Street (something to do with his family not giving up the rights to the house), a known womaniser (but swings both ways) and a bit James Bond, in the days before James Bond. Yes folks, he's an assassin for the Secret Service.
After doing away with his current assignment he's sent on the trail of some geologists who've disappeared then apparently died. He ends up in Naples, following an empty coffin. Whereupon he comes across Charlie Jackpot (waiter by day, gigolo by night), who becomes his man Friday. the baddie of the piece falls foul of the classic stereotype - a monologue where he explains his dastardly plan and allows the hero time to find an escape.
I have a real problem with central characters that I just don't like and I have to say I didn't really like Lucifer. He loved himself a little bit too much, was rather dismissive of those he didn't think worthy of him and basically wanted to jump anyone he thought pretty enough.
Get over yourself Lucifer. I'm not in any rush to read the next in the series (there are only 3), given that he's older in the next one he'll just lament how old he's getting and probably become rather maudlin.