Thursday, March 5, 2015

Phantom Detective 108 - Streamlined Murder

Phantom Detective 108
Streamlined Murder
by Laurence Donovan

There's a method of writing in which the author starts with an inexplicable scene or plot device and then works out a way to explain it later.  The Doctor Who revival did this with diminishing returns as the seasons went on.

In Streamlined Murder, we have a murdered silk tycoon holding a box with a severed hand.  There's going to be a will reading at his mansion, which happens to have as permanent house guests:
  • An Arab who trains apes to use machine guns
  • A legless carnival acrobat
  • A reclusive chemist
I kept waiting for the Ritz Brothers to show up,

but instead we've got the Phantom Detective and gang, along with a mad gasser and Japanese criminals.  Any one of these elements should be awesome, but here he's just throwing the whole Old Dark House kitchen sink at us.  I'm especially upset by the apes.  If you're going to have an army of machine gun wielding apes, use them a lot.  A whole lot.  Hell, start a spin-off series.

At the end Donovan ties everything in a little bow with a bunch of stuff the Phantom found out about off page, as per usual.

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