Simon Grave and the Drone of the Basque Orvilles (Simon Grave Mystery) - Book Review

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Simon Grave and the Drone of the Basque Orvilles (Simon Grave Mystery)

Author: Len Boswell
Genre: Fiction - Humor
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Date Published: February 5, 2020
ISBN-10: 1684334160
ISBN-13: 9781684334162

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GoodReads Rating:
4.27

Book Review of :  Simon Grave and the Drone of the Basque Orvilles (Simon Grave Mystery)



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The cover design of Len Boswell’s novel Simon Grave and the Drone of the Basque Orvilles, grab your attention on this futuristic parody that winks at  Arthur Conan’s novel “The Hounds of Baskervilles.”  Boswell’s new book should sit upon the shelf with others of its genre like The Wind Done Gone, The Da Vinci Cod: A Fishy Parody, and Bored of the Rings, to name but a few.

Need a little break from all the horrid seriousness of the day? Review written during the COVID-19 pandemic. Then this marvelously inventive parody should hit the spot.  It is a laugh-out-loud, tongue-in-cheek exploration of dastardly deeds and mayhem. It is set in Crab Cove in the year 2053. The plot focuses on murders being investigated by Detective Simon Grave, his partner Sergeant Barry Blunt, and two special simdroids who fancy themselves as Sherlock and Watson. It is also a parody of speculative life and society of the future.

Boswell doesn’t commit much literary larceny in his parody.  He does a play on the book’s name and there is a little similarity in the initial murder scene wherein The Hounds of Baskervilles a dog is believed to have some connection with the death of the victim and in Boswell’s novel a large dog is one of the possible causes of the man’s demise. There is a Sherlock in Boswell’s novel, but the character is actually beautiful sexy Charlize Holmes, a simdroid modeled after an early version of  Charlize.Theron. Simdroids are used as police officers in 2053 most are complete with the look and voice of Morgan Freeman.

In addition to humans and robots, characters include personal drones with AI, artificial intelligence.  In fact, advanced drones have replaced cellphones. Now a drone serves as a cellphone, but with enhanced capabilities. If you’re out of toilet paper, just tell your drone to grab you a roll, and the little whirlybird will hurry back with it.  Alexa has evolved to the point where it can think and carry on a dialogue, can reason, compute, and draw conclusions. The world has changed. Well, some things hadn’t evolved that much, psychic were still around and used by police. There is a suspected serial killer, Chester Clink, in the novel – so you know crime in 2053 is still a curse of mankind.  Due to an ongoing case, the serial killer is also considered a likely villain.   But during the murder investigation, they also think that the cause of death may be due to an attack of a mixed bred dog, a “masthound” or a “bloodtiff”.  Or the victim might have succumbed to a heart attack. Maybe a bit more sleuthing is needed, and luckily, Simon Graves is there to do just that.

What is the motive for these murders? The first victim, Wright Orville, the owner of a high-tech drone company, may have been targeted by the owners of two other robotics companies who were jealous of Orville’s thriving business.  Was he the target of a buyout, or was his business to be destroyed?   And then there is the hint that drones and robots could be outdated by nanotechnology and distributed intelligence, which could cause drone demise. Would neural nodes link a machine brain with a human brain, and could they work together? A suspected folder of plans, charts, and diagrams may provide a hint of the proposed project and perhaps finally a motive for murder.

How are the dead bagpipe player, Lachlan McLachlan, and his missing drone involved?  His mutt, a mastiff, named Fred, is also missing. It this just another Boswell bloody red herring? Dysfunctional family connections add more suspects to the list of possible killers and motives.

Robotics designers give simdroids personalities and features. One had the beauty of an actress, “the strength of a bull, the eyes of an eagle, the speed of a cheetah and the grace of a gazelle”.  Another had a voice that sounded like sand and rocks rattled in a can.  And then there were the Magnificent Seven.  The simdroids assigned to the dead man’s company and who work at his mansion are replicated actors from the movie Magnificent Seven.

The plot is byzantine yet intriguing. Not your typical murder mystery or futuristic fantasy, Len Boswell’s imagination and creativity excels in this and his many other titles.

The writing style of author and grammarian Len Boswell is the highlight of this laugh-aloud tale. Chuckles, chortles, or guffaws can’t be stifled as the master of paronomasia assaults our senses and imagination with a character called Sloe Jim Phizz, a little girl that causes chaos because she’s invisible, a man-cave in a cliffside cavern system, and many verbal jokes and double entendres.  Len Boswell a 2018 PenCraft Award winner has created yet another comedic gem. Is it destined to be another award winner; maybe Simon Graves can answer that?


Reviewed by: Carole W

About Len Boswell


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I was born in a hospital that has since been torn down, grew up on a street that has since changed its name, in a house that has since changed its number. Everywhere around me my life seems to be erasing itself. Before the eraser wears out and rips through the paper of my life, I spend my days writing furiously against the darkness. As grim as that sounds, my books tend toward the humorous. In fact, not reading my books could put you seriously out of touch with frivolity.





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