They call me Merlin Sherlock not because that's my name and not because I'm particularly good at being a detective. And certainly not because I saw them coming. They take you at age thirteen without any choice or foreknowledge on your part. One day you are drowsing in your father's study over a tome of fairy tales with no idea that they are all true. Not literally. Literarily, perhaps. All kernels of truth coated over with fancy.
Then they take you for thirteen times thirteen years during which you only age thirteen which, if you have followed the math, you understand I am one hundred eighty two years old, can pass for twenty-six but according to Melda have all the social sophistication of a retrogressed twelve...
Melda suggests I describe her as a
twenty-six year old Wanda Sykes with distinctively stiff and red hair as this will call up for many people a useful if not perfect image. I do not know Miss Sykes and am quite certain that as such the image will not work for my intended audience. She will distract me and has several times from the purpose of this exposition which is, in short, to beseech my fellow wizards to refrain from the scurrilous sobriquet of Merlin the Sherlock...
They Call Me Merlin Sherlock
By Carl Stevens
From hence, ye Wizards, undeceiv'd,
Know one false word is ne'er retriev'd
And he with caution bold.
Not all that peeves your mocking eyes
And heedless hearts is sad misprize,
Nor all that glisters gold.
Nor all that glisters gold.
Be prepared...if you see a chauffeured-driven can pulling up outside yourhome, you just may want to consider whether you want to hide...or possibly enter into the past where you may never escape...
|"You've got to be kidding me."|
Seriously, if you're a fanatic mystery fan, do realize that this book is more humorous, especially at the beginning, and in a very droll manner. There is one save to we Americans--a lady who purports to look like Wanda Sykes, is from America, and certainly plays a major role in balancing out the confusion in English--historical UK English versus American English, that is-- and, to my American ear, even spoke, although I was reading, as if I was listening to Styles. How extraordinary, don't you think?
Now I enjoy the straight-faced humor of Sykes and her very pointed backlashes to questions, so do prepare to follow her lead in "understanding." LOL...
"Madam, not being the offspring of a goat, I do not kid at all. Whom, might I enquire, are you to come knocking at my door at this unseemly hour?"
"Imelda Jones and it's half past nine."
"Is there a younga Jones as well? And please do not cloud the issue with chronometrical machinations. I am having breakfast therefore it is breakfast time. Since you are here, do come in and join me for a cuppa as some would have it."
"Well, thank you, I would be glad to have it as well though I am here about your ad in the paper."
"As, as provider or seeker?"
"Of employment. I have had two notices in The Times lately. One seeking clients and one seeking an assistant in my business with the clients."
"The latter. Assistant. Employment. Do you actually live in this exhibition hall?"
OK, now stay with me... Consider the hand-drawn cover, albeit entirely representative of the contents...(By the way, have you noticed I'm starting to use words I don't usually use? And, also, please realize that if I've included words that might have never been accepted into the dictionary, but used in the book...well, they are apparently part of the mystical Victorian age and have since past out of style except for our Merlin Sherlock...)
Plus the exchange between him and Imelda...
Well, one begins to wonder, you see...
Say, for instance, Imelda's question about where he lived. It was, of course, a perfectly good question given that she would be working there...
Well, I'll just add the name of this domicile...
Wilberforce Keep and Village of Ceremonial Alfrodshire Outlet Mall Emporium and Historic Refuge...(Maybe something like I've envisioned - so you can understand Melda asking, now can't you?)
|Second Baronet Richard Grand|
"Mister Barlow, jolly good of you to come on such short notice. Do forgive that, exigencies of the time, donchya know? Care for tea, brandy, a crumpet?
..."Sir Richard to be perfectly correct. We stout and proper Englishmen must have our traditions, hey? But to business. You must forgive me. Normally I would give you the complete Baronetcy social ditering treatment and it would be a full hour before I brought up the other B word, but as I said, exigencies of the time. So direct to business...we must have a bit of privacy in this first meeting, I think."
"Certainly, Sir Richard, and you will find the Thaddeus Barlow Detective Agency is nothing if not discreet. Could you describe the item, Sir Richard?"
"With pleasure, or perhaps I should say distress. Well, here it is. It is one of the six drum-form teapots known by Paul Revere, the very same Paul Revere Known for working in silver and riding about in the night shouting about redcoats. Five years before that escapade he made this teapot for Massachusetts governor Hutchinson as a present to His Royal Majesty King George the Third. At the time it was a token of colonial loyalty to the kind...The silver itself may be worth less than one thousands pounds. The workmanship may bring it up to a full thousand. The provenance, the history, is worth half a million."
And so it was that The Thaddeus Barlow Detective Agency was commissioned to conduct an investigation, and hopefully, recovery, of a Paul Revere Teapot worth half a million dollars based on its provenance.
And, as they say, The Game is Afoot! Which may or may not have actually been said by Sherlock Holmes...Lol
Now I have to say an old story, A Christmas Story" came to mind as I was reading this book. Not because it is anything like that story, but because of my personal feelings about it... I seem to be the only one in my family who never made it through the entire movie, while the rest diligently watch it each year... Sooo, what I'm saying is that I am aware that I lack a sense of humor in many things. So I hope this review provides sufficient information upon which you can consider your own personal tastes and decide whether you would enjoy a whole lot of Sherlockian, mystical humor at the same time you're solving a mystery. Once you are around Chapter 4, the routine investigation becomes much more familiar and I began to enjoy that, especially with the exchange between Thaddeus and Melda as they became more familiar in their working relationship. The book does indeed have merit for its type, so do check it out further and read other reviews.
The particular family dynamic, which I won't go into, was sufficiently bizarre to add to the attraction of the story--while at the same time, I found it a fairly easy mystery to solve...As to whether I think Thaddeus should be given the nickname of Merlin Sherlock, I agree with him..."the puerile mocking moniker of Merlin Sherlock" just does not work... In fact, I'm not too sure about the mystic part either, LOL...
Jack London lamented that he had spent his life as a working class intellectual rubbing shoulders with the underprivileged on tramp steamers, in gold mining camps, on wharves and in warehouses while reading extensively and writing books of serious social and philosophical merit only to be renowned for writing about dogs. It irked him yet inspired me decades later. Eighteen-wheelers, psych wards, factory floors and the halls of academia and corporate America may not be perfect matches to London’s, but they have all been part of my own working class adventures. I have lived in numerous careers the fiction that each was intrinsically important while in fact each was merely research for the role of Carl Stevens, Writer. Professor-in-training (in three fields so far, philosophy, history and psychology), nurse in a psychiatric facility, long-haul truck driver, security guard, waiter, bartender, clerical worker, manual laborer, engineer - they were all facades I presented while my true life’s work went on behind the scenes, reading and writing and incorporating life experience with the scholarly to create the self-identity that is now creating novels. Four novels speak for the success of this creative self-identity. If a hundred years from now people neglect the layers of substance and only laugh along with my exciting tales of adventure and if I am still alive, then I will be proud to have failed like Jack.