Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome back to Max and Collin’s marvelously mysterious and sublimely sleuth-tastic parlour located beneath the beating heart of te splendidly scenic city of Steampunk’d Lancaster.
True some have said that its occupants couldn’t figure their way out of a paper bag and that the only mystery involved is their continued existence but we consider that such people are merely embittered that we are smarter than them.
You find us this morning with a happy pig swilling beer, and a new idea for making rent money – we are going to open a small private detective agency! Surely there is an abundance of crime here in Lancaster (much of which we are involved in ourselves and still more of which we are already acquainted with the perpetrators, so finding the villains should be a piece of cake!)
However we wanted to begin in an informed manner and so we have been reading A Study In Temperance by our good friend Mr Ichabod Temperance. It’s taken us rather longer than intended to review this book because when we read an exert of The Two Faces Of Temperance WE JUST HAD to read that one first, we couldn’t wait! So our review schedule got a little messed up as we didn’t feel we could review book 10 out of the blue without going back and doing books 4-9 first.. if that makes sense? So, without further ado, let us kick our tentacles up on the table, pour an excellent cup of Sherlock Holmes Tea from Victoria Mae Designs and take a look …
If you haven’t yet begun the riotous romp that is the adventures of Mr Temperance and Miss Persephone Plumtartt, you could easily start with this adventure but you would do much better (because otherwise you will have missed so much fun!)to begin at the beginning…
If on the other hand you have got to book three and been eagerly awaiting to get your hands (or indeed tentacles) on the next installment then you are going to be in heaven because this series just gets better and better!
This time Ichabod and Persephone are back in England and we also get to meet a rather famous fictional detective… this was so splendidly done, as always,the writer goes far beyond taking a literary character, plot or setting and lifting it into his own world – rather he utterly makes it his own with more parody and pastiche than even we could shake a stick at. Also, as the books are progressing, t Persephone and Ichabod are given less of the spotlight which is a very interesting approach and gives the comedy a lot more scope as well!
We really don’t want to give any spoilers on this marvelous tale, suffice to say, another laugh out loud, unpredictable and utterly delightful adventure from this chaotic couple.
And now we must busy ourselves with finding the right hats and pipes and business cards and all the other essential things needed for solving crime… we wish you all a delightfully delinquent morning and if you are personally involved in any felonious enterprises do please let us know so that we can cash-in won’t you?
And do remain always, utterly yourself.
If you are interested in reading our review policy please see the reviews section at the top menu.
I am Perilous Wight and here in the bowels of the city of Lancaster, in the disused tunnels of an underground train system that never was, I have made it my mission to collect every book that our self-proclaimed ‘supreme ruler f the universe’ and his mincing minions have banned from the bookshelves of the new world.
But this is not a public thoroughfare! If you have wandered in here on the ill-advice of a drag-dressed octopus and its dribbling Tea Fiend, let me advise you not to be so easily lured into a parlour by the promise of strange fruit. Well, you will find nothing sweet and alluring down here; here there is only the dark and the damp, the flickering of candlelight and the ceaseless toil of a man who did not re-animate from the dead to be pestered by people wanting bedtime stories!
But wait…what’s that you have tucked away under your arm there? Finest Stout? And some of Mrs Baker’s left over steak and ale pies? Oh…. well, yes perhaps it is about time I put my feet up for a while, pipe and slippers and a little drop of something, the day has, after all been a long one. And I suppose I could read a very little something,
like this perhaps… it is an excerpt from the tenth book in the Ichabod Temperance series, ‘The Two Faces of Temperance’. Hm, there is a note here tucked inside in the cover…
A fiendish monster is on the loose in London but as the machinations of intreague threaten to crush poor Miss Plumtart and Ichabod in their merciless gears, could this adventure become known as ‘the strange case of Dr. Icky and Mr. Temperance … ?
A Request by the Author:
Dear Reader, if, perchance, you should come across some drunken rogues in song whilst reading this book, you are strongly encouraged to sing these passages aloud.
Your cooperation in this matter is sincerely appreciated.
THE TWO FACES OF TEMPERANCE
By Ichabod Temperance
“Take a deep whiff, Mr. Temperance.”
“I’d rather not, Ma’am.”
“Fleet Street has an aroma all her own.”
“I’ll give you that, Ma’am.”
“I smell meat pies. Wait here, Mr. Temperance, I shall go and fetch us a pair myself.”
“Yes, Ma’am. Gee, there goes Miss Plumtartt. I don’t like being by myself around all these people. Oh golly, there is so much bustling traffic around here, I hope I don’t get caught up and washed away.”
“Hello, young man.”
“Hien! Oops, I mean, howdy, mister. Gee, I guess you kind of startled me. I did not notice you looming up behind me.”
“Forgive me, my boy. I could see by your clothes that you were a visitor to our shores. Now that I hear your boorish American tongue I am justified in my assumption. The moment I clapped eyes on you, my befuddled little friend, I said to myself, Todd Squweeny, you need to take that lost little lamb under your protective wing, lest some unscrupulous villain sweep in to do this innocent guest an injustice. No, I decided on the spot to make it my mission to prevent you, my sweet naïve doe, from coming to injury.”
“Golly, that sure is swell, Mr. Squweeny, sir.”
“You have the advantage, of me, Mr.? …”
“You have family here in our fair city, Mr. Temperance?”
“Tee, hee! No family in the city, says you! Well, tell me, do you have family here in England, Mr. Temperance?”
“Nossir, Mr. Squweeny.”
“Ho, ho! You have friends here, then?”
“Not so much…”
“There is a Mrs. Temperance?”
“I see, I see, I see. Then you are here on business?”
“You look newly arrived. Have you checked into a hotel?”
“Blast! Oh well, this may still work. Have you made contact with your employer, yet?”
“Good! Oops! I mean, eh, pardon me for saying so, but you look a terrible sight, my lad.”
“Hunh? I do?”
“Yes, dear boy, but you are in luck!”
“Yes, for you see, I am a barber! I am a most skilled barber, I assure you, my bosom mate. I am the most famous barber Fleet Street has ever known.”
“Gee, my whiskers ain’t no more than a little peach fuzz. A kitten’s tongue would do the trick to their removal. Why, I just shaved this morning…”
“You SHAVED, yourSELF!?!? No sir! This is not done, sir. No sir, a gentleman does not shave himself if he wishes to make a good impression on his new employers and that’s a fact, sir! Come with me this instant. I will brook no protest. Come along to my shop and I shall see if I can remedy the damage done.”
“Gee, this is a nice little barber shop you got here, sir.”
“Thank you, my boy.”
“Did you just lock the door? Don’t you want no more customers?”
“I wish to devote all my attention to you, my boy, without any interruptions.”
“Then why do you have two chairs?”
“One chair is for commoners, but you dear child, are no commoner. I want you to sit in my special chair.”
“Your special chair? Gee, I’m about as common as common can get. Maybe I oughtter sit in this other chair…”
“I said to sit in this one, you little fool! Oops, I mean, my especially, special friend.”
“Ah, that’s better. Now then, just lie back and be comfortable as I apply a few last strops to this razor.”
~strip / strop / strip / strop~
“Hmm, hmm, hm, hmm/hmm. Strumm, strumm, strumm, dee-strumm:”
Razor, razor, lovely sight.
Piercing reflector of any light.
Scraping necks with pressures slight,
Trajectory’s change reveals your might.
“That’s a cute little ditty, Mr. Squweeny, sir, is there any more to it?”
“There would be if you would quit interrupting me you stupid little… er, I mean, let’s have a listen, eh?”
Crimson geyser to ceiling gush,
Death’s cheeks do quickly blush,
Just as quickly the face will flush,
And from the body life will rush.
“I don’t think I got the reference that time, sir.”
“Just a bit of the colloquial dialect, changing a meaning here or there. This final stanza will reveal our song’s true face.”
Scarlet rivers, they do flood.
Maroon is the colour of the sewer mud.
No-one will miss this faceless dud,
As I release this torrent of steaming bl..
“Hey, does this chair have a draft? Why looky there, there is a faint line, indicating a seam in the floor, all the way around this chair. It reminds me of a theatrical stage’s trap-door.”
“Get back in that chair!”
“Hang on a second, and lemme borrow that razor.”
“How dare you, you filthy Colonial! Return me my razor at once!”
“I just want to poke it down in this crack. There looks like there might be a latch… woah, watch out! It is a trap-door! This here barber chair is all set to tilt its unlucky inhabitant to a dreadful fall!”
“Get away from my chair! Give me back my razor!”
“Gee, it sure is a good thing I found that. I wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt. I bet that little hidden cellar connects with the old Fleet Street canal, whatcha bet, hunh?”
“I wonder if there ain’t an underground connecting cellar between this place and the meat-pie bake-shop, next door?”
“Enough! Get out of my barber shop!”
“Okay, okay, I’m going.”
“Wait, come back. Give me back my razor.”
“Oops, oh yeah, right. Here you go, mister.”
“Mr. Temperance, I have been looking for you.”
“Oh, howdy Miss Plumtartt, Ma’am.”
“I instructed you to not move, sir.”
“Well, you see, what happened was…”
“Never mind. As it happens, I find you exiting this Fleet Street barber shop at the same time that I am exiting Langela Annebury’s Meat Pie Bakery directly next door.”
~nom, nom, nom.~ “This sure is a good meat pie, Ma’am! What kind of pie is it?”
“I am given to understand that the best policy is not to inquire too deeply into a meat pie’s mysterious origins.”
“Take a care, Mr. Temperance, for you are dribbling your juices. I am assured that Miss Annebury is ‘slitting her own throat’, by selling her ‘pastries of mystery’ so inexpensively.”
Hm? You want to know what happens next? Well you’ll just have to visit Icky yourself won’t you and ask him for a copy …
No, no I really don’t have time to… wait a minute… are you sure these pies are steak and ale? They taste rather suspicious to me…
Good morning ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Max and Collin,s marvellously moderate and audaciously ambient parlour located within the splendidly scenic city of Lancaster.
True, some have called it a gratuitously garish affair overflowing with an excruciating excess of extremities, but we consider that such faint hearted fops are not accustomed to folk with tentacles.
You find us this morning revelling in the joys of spring – one hardly minds a sack cloth roof or even pane-less windows when the clotted cream of early morning light is flooding into the parlour, making the dust bunnies dance with delight and warming the faded velvet cushions upon the lemonade crates..
Hm? No I am not trying to be poetic , Max, I am simply rebelling in the joys of spring.
Spring in the realm above waves is quite the event isn’t it? There are flowers and leaves peeking through the brown earth, the little street urchins are doing far more skipping than shivering, fewer of our neighbours are dropping dead of cold and starvation and the longer days and shorter nights mean less time battling the flesh eating Liver Birds.
Yes indeed, I feel this ‘coming of spring’ malarkey is certainly something to celebrate and what better to celebrate anything than with a cup of tea and a good book? And of course we have both..
Our tea this morning is Jasmine White Tea from Rosy Lea Teas and to accompany it we will be reading
This riotous Steampunk romp had us in stitches from start to finish. Ichabod Temperance (an American Inventor who is really far too moral and forthright to ever find Victorian London a ‘welcoming place’ ) is plunged headlong into apocalyptic paranormal pandemonium as he attempts to rescue the alluring adventuress Miss Persephone Plumtartt from the demonic tentacles of both men and monsters (at times it is hard to tell which are which!)
This laugh-a-minute roller coaster is jam packed with action from haunted mansions to epic steamer chases, bare knuckle brawls to daring hot air balloon escapes (not forgetting the champagne of course!) The fast paced plot had us pinned to our seats while the comedic interplay of the characters kept the tears of laughter flowing.
‘Icky’ is a delightfully innocent and upstanding character, always ready to defend Miss Plumtartt or put his incredibly inventive brain to the task of helping her to save the world, while Persephone is everything a steampunk heroine ought to be – intelligent, capable, and (thanks to an occult experiment gone wrong) able to fire energy rays from the palms of her hands. Together they make an adorable team and we really can’t wait to get our tentacles into the rest of the series.
Now then, it seems that our tea is brewed and we just have time to put our oracular pet into his cup and see what he has plucked from the aether for us this morning…
Ha! Jolly good fun all round. We wish you a perfectly pleasant morning, full of sunlit strolls and gentle breezes and we invite you back to join us tomorrow for elevenses so, until then please be always