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2014 Story 92

From Titan Books' Tales of the Wold Newton Universe, edited by Win Scott Eckert and Christoper Paul Carey

92. A SCARLETIN STUDY by Jonathan Swift Somers III, edited by Philip Jose Farmer   Another entry from Farmer's "fictional author" phase, here he writes as the wheelchair-bound Jonathan Swift Somers III, the favorite author of Simon Wagstaff (the main character of Farmer's Venus On A Half-Shell, which he wrote under the guise of Kurt Vonnegut's fictional author Kilgore Trout ... yeah, my head hurts explaining it, too.)

"Somers" is the author of a series of stories about the super-intelligent German canine detective Ralph Von Wau Wau, whose personality, and vocabulary, is a cross between Sam Spade and Sherlock Holmes. Von Wau Wau's stories are narrated by his flat-mate, medical doctor Johann H. Weisstein and later by Cordwainer Bird (a Harlan Ellison character). The Von Wau Wau stories are modeled on, and the titles are take-offs of, classic Holmes cases. In this case, Weisstein is introduced to Von Wau Wau the same way Watson met Holmes, and the partnership, difficult at times, quickly develops into a friendship. The story is a breezy mystery about a missing painter (The Scarletin of the title), and also introduces characters who could have been, had Farmer written more than two of these stories (that I know of) a fun supporting cast.  The resolution of the mystery is satisfying, as well.

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