Edwin Paine and Charles Rowland are some of the most qualified detectives in England, and they are also the ghosts of two murdered teenagers. Both killed decades before at a terrifying private school, St. Hilarions, the boys became friends after the murder of Charles inexplicably pulled Edwin’s soul from hell. The two must return to their St. Hilarions to rescue Crystal Palace, the daughter of an avant garde artist. Facing an evil headmaster or two, as well as the ghosts of the bullies who murdered both Edwin and Charles, the Dead Boy Detectives must solve the case while avoiding being captured and taken to their final resting places by Death herself.
Toby Litt takes Neil Gaiman’s original creation from Sandman and runs with it to a creepy and entrancing place. Themes of teenage bullying and what true terror and manipulation run through the collection. While the book is an interesting murder mystery and detective combo, it is hard not to truly feel sad for Charles and Edwin. Abandoned by their families, the two lost their lives in tragic and horrific ways. Mark Buckingham is able to weave the creepy feeling into his artwork, while still creating fantastical tales that lighten up the dark. Dead Boy Detectives lives up to it’s Sandman roots and surpasses them.
Dead Boy Detectives Volume #1 collects issues #1-6 of the series. It is now available from Vertigo.