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Michael Gallagher is the author of two series of novels set in Victorian times. “Send for Octavius Guy” chronicles the attempts of fourteen-year-old Gooseberry—reformed master pickpocket—to become a detective, aided and abetted by his ragtag bunch of friends. “The Involuntary Medium” follows the fortunes of young Lizzie Blaylock, a girl who can materialize the spirits of the dead, as she strives to come to terms with her unique gift.
For twenty-five years Michael taught adults with learning disabilities at Bede, a London-based charity that works with the local community. He now writes full time. Follow Octavius Guy @sendforOctavius. Author photo courtesy of Elaine Jeffs.
on Sep. 29, 2016 :
London, Thursday, July 1, 1852, 9:30 pm. The story begins with the play, The Duchess of Malfi. Miss Prynn, leading actress dies mysteriously during the performance. This is the case for the investigator and his partner. Gooseberry (aka Octopus) is a 14-year-old detective to the lower class. His partner, the man he works for Mr. Tuttle. Gooseberry noticed 4 executioners in the play, but only 3 present to be questioned by police. This suggests foul play! Someone disguised himself in order to strangle Miss Prynn! The police dismiss Gooseberry as a menace. So he goes searching for clues. Prior to the murder, we are introduced to the tricksters, pickpockets and people who once were someone else. I was getting excited reading a good old fashioned detective mystery. The descriptive time generation setting is like living in that era through the characters in the book! Gooseberry and Mr. Tuttle soon discover a whole array of clues. Miss Prynn was involved in a huge scam, and also had a will which indicated she was married. Up until now, the book has your belief on other characters being guilty. A jump forward to locate Miss Prynn’s sister and her house leads the storyline to an unexpected direction. A grand scheme and series of planned events by the murderer. Had the villain been so clever perhaps the ending would have him getting away with the perfect crime? Alas, the ill-fated ending. He left us with three suspects. Even worse, the man appearing upon Gooseberry’s doorstep claiming to be his father. He must prove this to not be true! The rest is for you to read and figure out along the way. Part of the fun, I say. A great story, loads of characters with charisma and depth. The setting is magnificently throughout and described. I felt included in the scenarios. The plot twists were my favorite. I gave the book four stars out of 5. Great job! I received this book in exchange for an unbiased and honest review. Kris
(reviewed 7 months after purchase)
on March 28, 2016 :
An amusing and fun read. Octavius Guy, aka Octopus, is a clever young fellow trying to better himself through a legitimate career as an investigator but runs into sometimes funny and sometimes dangerous incidents in his side career as chief of his underground turf in Victorian London. Octopus relies on his wits and friends to help him solve the murder of a good friend and actress, as well as resolving personal issues, including an erstwhile father who shows up out of nowhere. The lead character is endearing and cheering, and the plot ties up nicely.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on March 06, 2016 :
The second book of this series I liked very much. I like the main character Octopus/Gooseberry and his friends/family. This time he must solve the puzzle of the 'murder' of an actress and her husband. Although all the major characters are present from the outset, it needs its time until you feel who the 'real' killer is. In another the 'supposedly' biological father makes contact with him and his brother. This is another mystery which Octopus has to solve, because he does not trust this running up. In addition, he has the image of a 'crime boss' finally get rid of, because he otherwise is no more trusted as 'chief investigator'. But he finds an optimal solution for all related to him.
I hope that this series is continued.
(4 1/2 stars)
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)