The Purloined Poodle by Kevin Hearne
If you haven’t been reading Kevin Hearne’s IRON DRUID CHRONICLES series, you are really missing out. These are fun fantasy adventures featuring a cool modern-day druid named Atticus and his canine familiar, an Irish Wolfhound named Oberon, possibly the most awesome sidekick in all of fantasy literature.
Everyone loves Oberon, so it’s not surprising that Hearne would spawn a series (called OBERON’S MEATY MYSTERIES) that gives Oberon center stage. As the name of the series implies, these are fantasy mysteries and the first one, a novella, is called The Purloined Poodle. You do not need to be familiar with the IRON DRUID CHRONICLES to enjoy The Purloined Poodle, and it might be a nice way to introduce yourself to these characters and to see if you like Hearne’s style.
The story begins as Oberon is “sniffing asses” at the Alton Baker Dog Park in Eugene Oregon. There he and Atticus learn that prizewinning dogs in the Pacific Northwest are being dognapped. Always eager to help their fellow man and fellow canines, Oberon and his druid set off to do some investigating, hoping to discover and stop evil plots and return the stolen dogs to their humans. To be successful, they will have to deal with squirrels, bears, hipsters, and other annoying obstacles. Inspired by Sherlock Holmes, Oberon loves playing the detective and doggedly pursues the truth.
The mystery of the purloined poodle is fun and, as usual, Kevin Hearne gives us a nice tour of real places in the Pacific Northwest. He also, as usual, amuses us with literary allusions and SFF in-jokes. Since Oberon, a dog, is the hero of the story, it feels a little simplistic and linear, which seems appropriate to me. Oberon’s tendency to view the world in an unsophisticated way often makes his narration of events humorous. For example, he has trouble estimating the passage of time, so he gets confused about when things occurred. And he’s obsessed with meat, hates vegetables, and gets distracted easily.
The Purloined Poodle is 112 pages long and was published in print by Subterranean Press. I have a copy and it’s lovely. I love the cover art. However, I always choose to read the IRON DRUID CHRONICLES stories in audio format because Luke Daniels, the reader, is such a wonderful narrator. I love the way he performs Oberon so, of course, I loved this audiobook. It’s 3 hours long.
I’m loving this trend in mystery fiction and SFF to have dog detective narrators. Long may they continue! I have to get this one, because Oberon is quite simply THE BEST.
Since I have the audio version, Marion, I will send you my print copy.
Yaay! I would LOVE that!
I love Luke Daniels as a narrator – he was terrific in The Spirit Thief and does Atticus well but his portrayal of Oberon makes me cringe.
haha, I can see that April, but I love it.
I have those Aaron audiobooks but haven’t read them yet. Didn’t realize Luke Daniels was the narrator.
They are fun, you should definitely listen to them soon!
I’m a sucker for a good mystery (and anything involving a good dog). Thanks for putting this on my radar, Kat!