Green Manor 1: Assassins and Gentlemen takes us into the genteel world of the Green Manor, one of Victorian London’s most posh gentlemen’s clubs.
Did I say genteel? I meant murderous!
Because behind the deep chairs, butlers and tea –you will meet the biggest bunch of frauds, robbers and bloodthirsty cutthroats that the Empire has ever produced!
This must read graphic novel contains six tales of intrigue, mystery and homicide.
And who better to take us through the dirty secretes of Victorian high society than the butler?
Good old Thomas worked in the Green Manor as a butler for his whole life. Until he went mad and attacked people with a knife a few days before his retirement.
Let’s join psychologist Dr. Thorne and listen to the cruel tales of the rich and powerful Thomas has to share…
Confessions from a Psychiatric Ward
What better way to start Green Manor 1: Assassins and Gentlemen than in Bethlehem Psychiatric Hospital? Dr. Thorne meets the warden of said institution and is presented with Thomas’ strange case.
Stepping into Thomas’ cell, Dr. Thorne is taken aback by the later welcoming him to the ‘club’. Thomas insists that he is the manor, and that in order to understand the club Dr. Thorne must follow him into the grand salon.
Why? Because that’s where it always starts.
Enter our six sinister stories of what the Victorian elite gets up to when it gets bored:
Plays in 1879 and involves the wizened Dr. Byron gathering a select group of members for a private discussion among friends.
A discussion with one topic: can there be a murder without a victim and without a murderer?
The gathered round of distinguished gentlemen start treating each other to bizarre tales of death.
While the aristocrats enjoy their little gossip group about human pain and suffering –another game is afoot. One they might not like. One that may be fatal for some or all of them.
On a dark and stormy night in 1882, the famed young Detective Johnson gets praised by other members for catching the ‘Butcher of Westminster’ (a Jack the Ripper reference). It’s in all the papers and the smug police officer is the talk of the town.
All but Sir Alfred Montgomery, who tells Johnson that he isn’t as great a detective as he fancies himself. After all, a smart villain would have gotten away with his crimes!
So Montgomery proposes a challenge.
Tomorrow at midnight, he will kill pretty Mrs. Rowe if Grafton Street –unless Detective Johnson can stop him!
There are only three rules: one, if Johnson tells anyone about their ‘game’ Montgomery will sue him and deny everything; if Johnson asks for help from Scotland Yard, his reputation is indeed overrated and the game is up; and lastly, if Johnson fails to save Mrs. Rowe he too will die!
With stakes like this will Detective Johnson survive and stop Montgomery? Or has Montgomery, in his arrogance, bitten off more than he can chew?
The cameo by a gang of street ‘irregulars’ (Sherlock Holmes) is a nice nod to Victorian mystery fiction in this story. Green Manor 1: Assassins and Gentlemen might be a Franco-Belgian graphic novel but it gives respect where respect is due.
Inspector Gray is facing his greatest dilemma yet.
Sitting by the fire in the grand salon, he admits to an admiring club member that while he is soon to be retired, his career will end in an unacceptable checkmate. Because while he has solved every case in his long career, the John Smith affair (more Ripper fan service) has him stumped.
You see Inspector Grey knows who John Smith is and nobody will ever be able to arrest him.
So what can this upright and honorable man do to stop a deranged serial killer?
It’s the solution to this perplexing case that highlights Green Manor 1: Assassins and Gentlemen cruel mix of brilliance and horror.
Two bored academicians hatch a harebrained scheme to assassinate the world’s most beloved author, Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle!
Why? Because they want to prove that assassination is an art form. And they both love Doyle’s work. So what better way to show their appreciation by making him immortal, through murder.
Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it heheheh
Needless to say their chosen method is problematic at best. All the more better to entertain you.
A young artist is called in to do restore an old painting of a Lord Denton that was bequeathed to the club. The young restorer soon becomes obsessed with the original creator of the painting, Jason Sutter.
When he starts finding wired clues in the painting he decides to take his investigation to Lord Denton’s ancestral home and stubbles into an old family mystery.
But the family intrigues of the aristocracy are dangerous. Dangerous enough to get someone killed almost a hundred years later?
Maybe… once again Green Manor 1: Assassins and Gentlemen does not disappoint.
The Ballad of Dr. Thompson
After a night of hard drinking Professor Bright and his friend Dr. Thompson say their goodbyes outside the Green Manor club.
Its two o’clock in the morning and the weather is ice cold. The two men joke about the fact that Thompson ended up winning the heart of the woman they both desired.
Parting company, with Bright taking a cab and Thompson walking home -Bright is abruptly woken by his housekeeper.
The police are here and want to arrest him for the murder of Dr. Thompson.
A not so bright Scotland Yard Inspector informs the Professor that his friend was found dead, stashed inside a grandfather by two police officer shortly before 6 o’clock.
He also argues that because Bright was the last person seen with Dr. Thompson and because the two men where heard arguing –Professor Bright must be the murderer!
With his life and freedom on the line our Professor uses Sherlock Holmes like logic and deductive reasoning to investigate the case.
Can he save his skin and identify the real murderer?
The Art and Writing of Green Manor 1: Assassins and Gentlemen
Green Manor 1: Assassins and Gentlemen by Denis Bodart and Fabien Vehlmann is a wonderfully witty and twisted graphic novel!
Its stories are entertaining, short but impactful.
Exposing this particular group of Victorian gentlemen as either venal or virtuous, it goes on to tell tales of casual cruelty and planned malice that would make Edgar Allen Poe and Stephen King proud!
The art is very stylized, more cartoonish than most other Franco-Belgian graphic fiction but lovingly detailed.
And it has to be. Some of the stories are so twisted that realistic artwork would make them almost unpalatably raw.
My only issue with Green Manor 1: Assassins and Gentlemen is that it’s six stories where over too soon! While the book has the standard 57 pages, I read through it so quick I wanted more!
All in all Green Manor 1: Assassins and Gentlemen is a very satisfying graphic novel and a great start to the series.
If you love Victorian murder mysteries with a twist that would make Edgar Allen Poe take note get Green Manor 1: Assassins and Gentlemen today! It’s a fun read that will have you smirk, laugh and shake your head in astonishment!