Review of Harry DeMaio’s The Open And Shut Case

By Gretchen Altabef, author of Sherlock Holmes: These Scattered Houses and Remarkable Power of Stimulus (due 16th November.)

“My dear, Inspector Wallaroo, remember my first principle of detection. After eliminating the possibly improbable, whatever is left is probably impossible.”––Octavius Bear

This is possibly one of the greatest Sherlock Holmes spoofs of all time! And damn well full of fun. Yet to bring this lovely world to life, it was deemed necessary to disappear all Humans from planet Earth. In a way that they left behind unscathed all they had created, buildings, society, culture, science, industry, and the arts. At the same instant all the animals became sentient and able to speak languages.

I haven’t yet read the genesis novel of this series, but do look forward to getting my paws on it. Oh, did I forget to mention, if you are not guffawing by page 10, you either don’t have a sense of humour which means you may be a Mallard duck or haven’t been paying attention. As the game is apaw!

Harry DeMaio has an amazing imagination and magnificent sense of humour and for we the members of the human race soon to be rendered non-existent by a solar flare, that is a wonderful thing. Better to go out laughing! The book is filled with homages to Holmes and Watson, plus nods to the superpower universes we first grew to love as comic books and now blockbuster films. And some alternate book universes that have worked their way into the vernacular.

The Open And Shut Case is a story for all ages and species. Octavius Bear and his cohorts Maury Meer cat and Bruce kangaroo plus his lovely and talented love interest Bearoness Belinda polar bear are led on another dastardly chase by Imperius Drake the genetically enhanced villain. Will the duck finally be brought to justice? Will Octavios and Belinda move beyond their flirting? Will Maury ever get a vacation? Will Frau Schuylkill wolf nip one too many clients? Will Chita cheetah ever change sides?

I can see this as a long-running TV series, offering intelligence and humour to its audience. Why someone hasn’t snapped it up already, is a mystery to me. I invite you to enter this wonderful universe and rediscover the unfettered imagination you once had when humans and animals were on an equal footing and you knew you could understand their language.

Review by Gretchen Altabef, MX Publishing Author of Sherlock Holmes: These Scattered Houses. The sequel, Sherlock Holmes: Remarkable Power of Stimulus is due to release November 2020. She is an editor and contributor of Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes facts for Jeremy Brett – Playing A Part, the definitive performance biography by Maureen Whittaker.

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