Publisher: The Witcherley Book Company

Publication date: 16 December 2016

I received a review copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review and all opinions are my own.

Publisher’s synopsis:

There’s going to be trouble. Andy Caplet’s wife goes away, someone is out to get him, and he loses nearly everything in a storm. Amazing both himself and his unhuman friend Inspector Hobbes, he heroically rescues flood victims and uncovers something shocking.

Is Andy being set up for blackmail by the apparently charming young woman who attempts to seduce him, or is something even more sinister afoot? Hobbes certainly believes so, and he’s getting worried.

This is book number four in Wilkie Martin’s unhuman series and though I usually like to start with the first in a series the publisher’s description said it was a standalone novel so I broke my own rule. What else are rules for after all?

My first observation is that this book is pure, unadulterated fun. The puns, street names and character names were a real treat. It was quirky and silly and I giggled and grinned all the way through it and yet there was actually a mystery plot beneath all the ridiculousness.

The book is written from the point of view of Andy, food critic, hapless sidekick and disaster magnet of epic proportions. When Andy’s wife leaves for an archaeological dig in Egypt their flat is promptly destroyed in a storm, just the first in a series of disasters to befall him, so Andy goes to stay with his friend Inspector Hobbes, his housekeeper Mrs Goodfellows and Hobbes’ dog Dregs.

Andy’s job seems to have minimal working hours allowing him plenty of time to become embroiled in Inspector Hobbes latest investigation after Andy himself discovers a murder victim. While generally blundering from one catastrophe to the next Andy enjoys the thrill of the chase and has his own heroic moments. I smiled despairingly at his confusion and I found myself endeared by Andy’s insecurities and unique brand of heroism.

Inspector Hobbes and Mrs Goodfellow remain rather mysterious in the book. Both are clearly supernatural but there is little in the way of specifics as to what they might be. Hobbes is described as unhuman and seems rather beast-like and Mrs Goodfellow can appear out of nowhere. The mystery plot is self-contained in the book so that it is standalone but I wonder if I am not missing some backstory particularly in regard to Hobbes and Mrs Goodfellow? I shall be reading the first book ‘Inspector Hobbes and the Blood’ very soon to find out!

I love the Sherlockian style trio of detective, sidekick and housekeeper and enjoyed the somewhat chaotic story line (courtesy of it being from the point of view of the easily confused Andy). I was also intrigued by the supernatural aspect of the world Martin has created and am looking forward to reading more.