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Friday, 18 June 2021

The Case of the Perambulating Hatrack - Cedar Sanderson

The Case of the Perambulating Hatrack
Sanderley Studios
ISBN 9798731390224
ASIN B091GDJ1JM


This is the fifth volume by Sanderson that I have read since I first encountered her works in Cracked: An Anthology of Eggsellent Chicken Stories, and after reading her piece there knew I had to track down and read something else from her pen. And to date everything I have read has been worth reading and entertaining. But this story threw me for a bit of a loop. For as I was reading it I could not help but feel that it was a ‘fix up’ novel The definition of which is:

“A fix-up (or fixup) is a novel created from several short fiction stories that may or may not have been initially related or previously published. The stories may be edited for consistency, and sometimes new connecting material, such as a frame story or other interstitial narration, is written for the new work.”

Now there is nothing wrong with a fixup. In fact J.F. Powers won the National book award twice and both were fix up novels. And there are several other books that come to mind that I know were fixups. But reading this story I was not expecting that. I picked this up because it was the latest release from an author I have grown to respect and whose stories I have enjoyed greatly. Now if I had read the dedication I might have guessed at a fix up earlier:

“This book is dedicated to the MOTE crew. The Hatrack would never have come to life without the weekly prompts and encouragement of the Odds.”

And Sanderson confirmed the fixup theory I had in the afterwards:

“Last year, the year I wrote this book, was 2020. 'Nuff said, yes? But the Hatrack, which began as a thousand words or so of fluff and nonsense, kept me company all year. From one prompt to another, a Drunkard's Walk of mathematical improbability that a coherent novel could be woven of such variable strains. And yet... It happened.”

And to answer her musing, yes it does become a coherent novel and a very fun one at that. It sort of reads like Mike Hammer set in a noir urban fantasy story. Humans, orcs, trolls, magicians, a possessed hatrack, and a fedora with the personality and memories of the owner. A lot of action. An ever deepening mystery. And a whole lot of fun. Oh and a budding relationship between an orc and a … Well to be honest to find that out you will need to read the story. A few explosions, many destroyed domiciles, and a realm hopping adventure. So much packed into one story. And yet Sanderson pulls it off. And pulls it off very well. The description of this one is:

“She was trouble, and from the moment she sailed into his office in search of a PI, Soldagh Dennessey was caught in her wake.In a city where the streets started mean and went worse, Soldagh had carved a relatively solitary existence out between the goblins in their dens of minty iniquity, and the gnomes who'd snitch on their own mothers for rent money. Rough as it was, he'd come from worse family, and had no intention of going back. As the case grows tangled and terrifying, Soldagh is starting to suspect the past he's been avoiding lies at the bleeding heart of the matter. And only the few friendships he's made and an unexpected ally might be enough to save them now...”

There is that fixup feel, but it is a good read. And an expansion of my working through Sanderson’s canon of work. If you dig Urban Fantasy or PI Noir definitely give this tale a try.

Books by Cedar Sanderson:
A Time To Die
Legion
Snow in Her Eyes
Warp Resonance
The Dwarf's Dryad
One-Eyed Dragon
Memories of the Abyss
Little Red-Hood and the Wolf-man
Stargazer
The Eternity Symbiote
Plant Life
Sugar Skull
Snow Angel
Inktail & Friends: A Coloring Book
The Twisted Breath of God
Voyageur's Cap
Fairy Little Sister
Milkweed
Mindflow

Pixie for Hire Series:
Pixie Noir
Trickster Noir 
Dragon Noir
Pixie for Hire: Omnibus Edition

Children of Myth Series:
Vulcan's Kittens 
The God’s Wolfling

The Tanager Series:
Jade Star
Tanager's Fledglings 

Witchward Series:
Possum Creek Massacre
… 

Illustrated by Cedar:
Something Wicked #15
Jormungandr's Venom (Fenris Unchained Book 3)
Hunted Behavior

Contributed to:
The Hearts' Enchantment
Calexit- The Anthology
Supernatural Streets
Something Wicked Anthology, Vol One
Something Wicked #15
Mythic Delirium Magazine Issue 0.4
 




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