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.

“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.

Gretchen Altabef is an MX author of Sherlock Holmes novels. Mondadori Publishing has contracted to translate her novels into Italian. Ms. Altabef strives to emulate Dr. John Watson’s and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary style. The first, These Scattered Houses, is in Holmes’ own voice and resourcefully chronicles the last two months of his ‘great hiatus’. The second in the series is, Remarkable Power of Stimulus. After 3 years away, Holmes finds London awash in murders, No. 221B under siege, anarchists threatening Paris, and the return of Irene Adler. Fully aware he is being watched by Moriarty’s men, Holmes steps out of the cab into Baker Street knowing he will find Watson’s friendship and unerring aim are as dependable as the British Rail.

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