Title: What Ho, Automaton!
Author: Chris Dolley
Page Count: novella length (Kindle format)
Publisher: Book View Cafe
Copy for review provided by the author in anticipation of an honest review
Synopsis: What Ho, Automaton! chronicles the adventures of Reggie Worcester, gentleman consulting detective, and his gentleman’s personal gentle-automaton, Reeves.
The book is set in an alternative 1903 where an augmented Queen Victoria is still on the throne and automata are a common sight below stairs.
Reggie, an avid reader of detective fiction, knows two things about solving crime: One, the guilty party is always the person you least suspect. And, two, The Murders in the Rue Morgue would have been solved a lot sooner had the detective the foresight to ask the witnesses if they’d seen any orang-utans recently. Reeves needs all his steam-powered cunning and intellect to curb the young master’s excessive flights of fancy. And prevent him from getting engaged.
Mystery, Zeppelins, Aunts and Humour. A steam-powered Wodehouse pastiche.
I was first introduced to Chris Dolley's work in International Kittens of Mystery and was happy to find out that more fun and frivolity were forthcoming in What Ho, Automaton!. If you're a fan of wry historical fiction that isn't afraid to be silly and absurd (in a good way) then this book is a good bet.
Reggie is, in a word, a goofball. His primary concerns in life are avoiding the yoke of holy wedlock and trying to solve mysteries, which he considers himself uniquely qualified to do because of his enjoyment of Sherlock Holmes novels. When he discovers Reeves, a thoroughly capable, steam powered automatic valet, telling fortunes at a club he frequents, he figures it's a good match.
It totally is- without Reeves, Reggie would know his you-know-what from a hole in the ground, and even with Reeves thoroughly managing things behind the scenes, Reggie manages to make a muddle out of just about anything, even without trying. He fixates on an idea and simply cannot let go of it, much to the amusement of the reader and the chagrin of the rest of the characters.
There's a lot going on in this story- missing debutantes, secrets and lies, intrigue, pork products, you name it. It's a story that strives to make people laugh, especially those who are fond of Victorian detective novels or mysteries in general. It doesn't try to save the world and overhaul the characters from the beginning to the end, and I appreciated that- sometimes it's nice to just have a good joke and leave it at that. This is a novella, as well, so it's the perfect thing for a short reading break. Plus, with a price tag of $2.99, what's not to love?
Giveaway time! Chris Dolley has generously offered up two prizes for folks participating in the carnival- one digital copy of What Ho, Automaton! and a digital copy of Medium Dead, Chris's next release and an urban fantasy this time!
To enter, simply fill out the form below. Two winners will be selected for this one! Also, don't forget to comment on this post saying you entered the What Ho, Automaton! giveaway for another shot at the $25 Amazon gift card!
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