Author: Matthew A.J. Timmins
Genre: Mystery, Crime
A copy of this work was provided to me in exchange for my honest opinion.
Robin Sparrows is no Great Detective. He’s not a dashing gentleman. He’s not even a stalwart companion. No, Mr. Sparrows is a humble and hapless clerk at Winston Winston & Crumpet, the wickedest law firm in all of Victoria’s empire. But when he is charged with delivering a mysterious box to the arch-fiend Kermit J. Tarnish his life of quiet misery is transformed into a quagmire of murder, mud, and madness.
Unwilling, unaided, and unprepared, Robin must wander the fog-drenched streets of the Capital hunting the last man he wants to find. But exactly who is hunting whom? What can one young law clerk really know about love? And how much trouble can one frog cause? At least some of these questions will be answered as Robin confronts brutish valets, quarrelsome cross-dressers, dithering policemen, forlorn soldiers, and sneering phantoms, before learning the scandalous truth behind a shameful war.
Truly, there is no rest unto the wicked, nor it seems, unto their clerks.
I loved this book! It was Mr. Magoo meets Agatha Christie! Poor Mr. Sparrows is a decent little clerk who just wants an extra cookie with his tea and to live his peaceful life. No it isn’t glamorous but it pays the bills and keeps him somewhat warm. I especially love it when he tries to pull one over on the butlers with his tea cookies, sharpest tool in the shed he is not but still loveable and earnest. Sparrows will try his darndest to finish the job he is given, even if that means he has failed miserably and now needs to drown himself… ^_^ The reader is in for a mystery piled on top of mystery in this crazy Victorian town.
My favorite part was him dealing with the tower and “helmet” (for lack of a better word). Yes this was pretty early on in the book but I still loved this first adventure or misery as poor Sparrow would call it. Beyond that all of the little side stories that broke out were also fun if a little off topic to the point of the piece.
My one issue, which I think is mostly going to be just me, was how many characters there were in this book! I couldn’t keep them straight or remember who they were as they came and went, granted I did have to write down who was where with whom doing what in the Return of the King, so maybe this is just an issue I have… Either way, it got confusing with undercover people, foreigners, teachers, pasty sellers, bar maids, butlers, and a host of other folks to boot!
If you love a good who dun it, mystery, or crazy war hero then I would suggest giving Timmins and Sparrows a chance and see if you can solve the problems before our hapless hero!