Michael Cox
Man of mud

By Nick Owchar Why do so many monsters live in Victorian London? Was there something toxic in the Thames (Spenser probably wouldn't call it "sweet" if he could have seen it then -- or now) or in the fog that, as the Environmental Protection Agency points out, isn't so quaint as it seemed when Holmes and Watson strode through it? Whatever the reason, Victorian London is a splendid monster factory -- a place that exerts as strong an influence on writers today as 1940s and '50s noir does. The string of Victorian homages continues: Gerri Brightwell's "The Dark Lantern," Michael Cox's "The Meaning of Night," Stephen Gallagher's...