The Purloined Poodle: Oberon solves a mystery

The Purloined Poodle by Kevin Hearne fantasy book reviewsThe Purloined Poodle by Kevin Hearne

If you haven’t been reading Kevin Hearne’s IRON DRUID CHRONICLES series, you are really missing out. These are fun fantasy adventures featuring a cool modern-day druid named Atticus and his canine familiar, an Irish Wolfhound named Oberon, possibly the most awesome sidekick in all of fantasy literature.

Everyone loves Oberon, so it’s not surprising that Hearne would spawn a series (called OBERON’S MEATY MYSTERIES) that gives Oberon center stage. As the name of the series implies, these are fantasy mysteries and the first one, a novella, is called The Purloined Poodle. You do not need to be familiar with the IRON DRUID CHRONICLES to enjoy The Purloined Poodle, and it might be a nice way to introduce yourself to these characters and to see if you like Hearne’s style.

The story begins as Oberon is “sniffing asses” at the Alton Baker Dog Park in Eugene Oregon. There he and Atticus learn that prizewinning dogs in the Pacific Northwest are being dognapped. Always eager to help their fellow man and fellow canines, Oberon and his druid set off to do some investigating, hoping to discover and stop evil plots and return the stolen dogs to their humans. To be successful, they will have to deal with squirrels, bears, hipsters, and other annoying obstacles. Inspired by Sherlock Holmes, Oberon loves playing the detective and doggedly pursues the truth.The Iron Druid Chronicles (9 Book Series) by Kevin Hearne

The mystery of the purloined poodle is fun and, as usual, Kevin Hearne gives us a nice tour of real places in the Pacific Northwest. He also, as usual, amuses us with literary allusions and SFF in-jokes. Since Oberon, a dog, is the hero of the story, it feels a little simplistic and linear, which seems appropriate to me. Oberon’s tendency to view the world in an unsophisticated way often makes his narration of events humorous. For example, he has trouble estimating the passage of time, so he gets confused about when things occurred. And he’s obsessed with meat, hates vegetables, and gets distracted easily.

The Purloined Poodle is 112 pages long and was published in print by Subterranean Press. I have a copy and it’s lovely. I love the cover art. However, I always choose to read the IRON DRUID CHRONICLES stories in audio format because Luke Daniels, the reader, is such a wonderful narrator. I love the way he performs Oberon so, of course, I loved this audiobook. It’s 3 hours long.

Published September 30, 2016. Thanks to his relationship with the ancient Druid Atticus O’Sullivan, Oberon the Irish wolfhound knows trouble when he smells it—and furthermore, he knows he can handle it. When he discovers that a prizewinning poodle has been abducted in Eugene, Oregon, he learns that it’s part of a rash of hound abductions all over the Pacific Northwest. Since the police aren’t too worried about dogs they assume have run away, Oberon knows it’s up to him to track down those hounds and reunite them with their humans. For justice! And gravy! Engaging the services of his faithful Druid, Oberon must travel throughout Oregon and Washington to question a man with a huge salami, thwart the plans of diabolical squirrels, and avoid, at all costs, a fight with a great big bear. But if he’s going to solve the case of the Purloined Poodle, Oberon will have to recruit the help of a Boston terrier named Starbuck, survive the vegetables in a hipster pot pie, and firmly refuse to be distracted by fire hydrants and rabbits hiding in the rose bushes. At the end of the day, will it be a sad bowl of dry kibble for the world’s finest hound detective, or will everything be coming up sirloins? The Purloined Poodle is another exciting novella entry in Kevin Hearne’s New York Times best-selling Iron Druid series.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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7 comments

  1. I’m loving this trend in mystery fiction and SFF to have dog detective narrators. Long may they continue! I have to get this one, because Oberon is quite simply THE BEST.

  2. Since I have the audio version, Marion, I will send you my print copy.

  3. I love Luke Daniels as a narrator – he was terrific in The Spirit Thief and does Atticus well but his portrayal of Oberon makes me cringe.

    • haha, I can see that April, but I love it.

      I have those Aaron audiobooks but haven’t read them yet. Didn’t realize Luke Daniels was the narrator.

  4. I’m a sucker for a good mystery (and anything involving a good dog). Thanks for putting this on my radar, Kat!

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