HG Parry’s The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep (Orbit, RRP£8.99) is likewise a tale in which fantasy is overlaid on to reality. Charley Sutherland, professor of English at a New Zealand university, has the power to bring characters from books to life so that they become flesh-and-blood beings. His older brother Rob, who does not share this gift, has borne the burden of responsibility for Charley since childhood, and their fraternal bond is stretched to breaking point when figures from the literary canon start running amok in Wellington. It’s great to see the likes of Sherlock Holmes, Victor Frankenstein, Heathcliff and Dorian Gray brought together to solve a mystery — but the novel’s tone is too high-minded to offer pure, pulpy fun. Its pacing is a little slow too, with scenes of excitement and tension undercut by long passages of exposition.