*I received a free ARC of this book via Rachel’s Random Resources blog tour. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: This perfect slice of ‘cozy crime’ is narrated in the voice of a pre-war English butler and concerns a rich and powerful businesswoman whose daughter goes missing from their country house estate. That the story- teller is a robot belonging to an impoverished detective brings a fresh and original take on ‘cozy’, and as for ‘crime’… well, it does begin to escalate, what with MI6, criminal gangs, corrupt police, and that’s not to mention international cybercrime!
As the plot strands weave together, we discover that behind one mystery lurks a greater threat. No one is safe, not even PArdew…
This is without doubt the robot-butler-detective thriller you have been waiting for!
Duck Egg Blues is not just the ‘robot-butler-detective thriller you have been waiting for’; it is the one we need!
An exquisite blend of detective crime noir, sci-fi and very Wodehousian humour, this is a fresh and entertaining read that pays homage to the greats even as it thoroughly satirises them.
The plot is quite intricate, with gangsters, hackers, kidnappings and corrupt officials, but the author keeps a firm handle on the threads and ties them neatly together whilst holding a fast, tight pace. Told in the first-person narrative of the robot, PArdew, we see events through the eyes of an innocent-abroad in a baffling human world, creating huge potential for humourous misunderstandings which the author takes full advantage of!
Of course I absolutely adore PArdew and I was intrigued by The Master and Mrs Singh (separately and jointly) as well. The character developement happens on the fly through the dialogue and action, keeping up that rapidfire pace, but I loved the unique insights the author slipped in, such as cakes and philosophy, that widened and enriched the character profiles.
This is the first in a planned series of PArdew novels and I can’t wait to find out how the author will handle PArdew’s perspective on cases as he develops greater knowledge and understanding of societal mores and his Master’s preferences. Although this can be read purely as a stand-alone, and has a satisfying conclusion to the cases investigated, there are plenty of threads left trailing, especially around PArdew’s origins and technology, to leave potential for many further odd-couple adventures.
Definitely recommended for fans of any of the blended genres, as long as they don’t take those genres too seriously!
‘Tell Donaldson…’ Our visitor coughs. ‘Tell him to forget about the egg.’
I had not thought to scan in infrared, and I do so now. Oh my!
‘And don’t bother neither, trying to find her.’
An arc, a glowing arc, is streaming from his pelvic region. A shimmering aqueous arc. Why solderless-circuitboards, protocols shall indeed be breached!
‘Sir,’ I call out in complete defiance of instruction. ‘It really was most remiss of me. I should have informed you earlier, that access to the cloakroom is afforded through the panel to the left of the bed.’
Answer comes there none, and in any case my lack of foresight has rendered my advice entirely too late. Poor unfortunate fellow, what a trial for him, is there no aspect of his visit over which I have not most singularly failed?
– Martin Ungless, Duck Egg Blues