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Review: 'The Mysterious Affair of Giles', by Kyell Gold

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The Mysterious Affair of GilesThe Mysterious Affair of Giles is an Agatha Christie-styled murder-mystery and is best read with a cup of tea nearby. (publisher’s blurb)

Kyell Gold already has the reputation of being the preeminent author of high-quality erotica in Furry fandom. Now it seems that he is trying to establish a similar reputation as furry fandom’s number one mystery author, at least of what is usually called the British “cozy” mysteries, or the country-house murder mysteries of which Agatha Christie was the acknowledged mistress.

The Mysterious Affair of Giles makes no secret of this. It is advertised as an Agatha Christie-styled murder-mystery. It is dedicated “To Dame Agatha for all the inspiration.”

An acknowledgement thanks London furry fan Alice "Huskyteer" Dryden for “Brit-picking” the manuscript, making sure that it, and especially the dialogue, are correctly British. The furry characters are all English animals except where they are noted as coming from British India. Most tellingly, the title The Mysterious Affair of Giles is an obvious pastiche of Christie’s first novel, the 1920 The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which introduced both her as a mystery author and her most famous private detective, Hercule Poirot.

Yet do not think that Gold’s novella is a point-by-point imitation. There is no Famous Detective in it. The year is 1951; not exactly the present, but not the old-fashioned past, either. Tremontaine is a large manor house a couple of hours’ drive from London. The cast is Mr. Giles St. Clair, an aristocrat but also an up-to-date industrialist, his wife, and their son and daughter in their early twenties, all red foxes, and Martin Trevayn, Giles’ business partner, a stoat, their guest at Tremontaine on a business visit, plus the manor staff, a deer senior housemaid, two weasel cooks, a rabbit and an Indian otter housemaid, an Indian brown rat butler and Mr. Giles’ dhole valet.

Twelve characters. One of them is murdered.

The principal investigators are a badger police Inspector and his wolf Sergeant. The mystery’s protagonist is Ellie Stone, the young weasel assistant cook, a reader of murder-mystery novels who has never wanted to live in a real one, but who can’t help comparing the actual police’s sleuthing with her fictional police’s detecting. Naturally, everyone has a secret, and during the course of the story they all come out. Some are pertinent; others are not.

Kyell Gold’s stories often come with “Adults Only” readers’ advisories. The Mysterious Affair of Giles does not need one – quite – but its cast are all adults, and some of the secrets revealed are adult ones. I do not recall Agatha Christie ever delving into this territory, but it feels natural here and it helps to keep the story from being a period-piece.

Illustrations by Sara "Caribou" Miles,Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Publications, February 2014, trade paperback $9.95 (107 [+2] pages), Kindle $6.99.

2012 Ursa Major Award winners announced at Anthrocon 2013

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The winners of the 13th annual Ursa Major Awards for the best anthropomorphic literature and art published in 2012 were announced July 5 at a presentation during Anthrocon 2013 in Pittsburgh. 1,113 people voted, a decrease of about 37.5% compared to last year.

Review: 'Indigo Rain', by Watts Martin

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Watts Martin introduced his mixed human and anthropomorphic animal world of Ranea in the serial “A Gift of Fire, A Gift of Blood” in Yarf! #5-#8, July-November 1990. Several other stories followed, and Ranea became one of the most popular fictional worlds in Furry fandom. But Ranea seldom appeared outside of Yarf!, and that magazine has been gone for ten years now.

Fortunately, Martin has recently resumed writing stories set in Ranea. Indigo Rain, a 97-page novella (the sixth of FurPlanet’s novella-length “Cupcakes”), is a fine example and one that expands the reader’s picture of Ranea a little more.

Indigo Rain is a work of anthropomorphic fiction for adult readers only. (publisher’s advisory)

FurPlanet Publications, Jan. 2013, trade paperback $9.95 (97 pgs.). Illustrated by Sabretoothed Ermine.

Indigo Rain preview: Part 1 - Part 2. See also: Review of Indigo Rain by Isiah Jacobs.

Review: 'Dangerous Jade', by Malcolm "foozzzball" Cross

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Isiah reviews Dangerous Jade, foozzzball's thylacine-filled sexual drama.

Compare: Fred Patten's review of Dangerous Jade