Saturday 11 September 2021

Magic, Mensa, and Mayhem - Karina Fabian - DragonEye, PI Original Edition

Magic, Mensa, & Mayhem
Original First Edition
DragonEye, PI Book 1
Karina Fabian
Swimming Kangaroo Books
ISBN 9781934041789

Note: I found out after writing this review that the author is rewriting this book and Live and Let Fly. The revised editions will drop in the series to books 3 and 4. This review is specific to the earlier out of print first edition.


This is the twenty-third book or story I have read by Karina Fabian. Most of them in the last year, in fact 21 of them in the last 13 months. I love her style, her sense of humour, and the variety of stories she writes. This was the beginning of the DragonEye PI series. Currently Fabian has announced she will release a few DragonEye PI short stories this year, and then compile them into an anthology for print. I have read and loved the first few and I have encountered Vern previously in anthologies and in other novels to date and am working to read all the stories with Vern. But this was the beginning. And it is an excellent read.

For those who are not familiar with the DragonEye PI series, Vern is a Faerie dragon currently stuck on our side of the barrier. He is a Private Investigator he fights crimes both human and Fairy. And he is working off a dept and works for the Faerie Catholic Church. He is nowhere near the dragon he was, in size or power because of a run in with Saint George. The description of this volume is:

“It should have been a cushy job: Vern, the dragon detective, and his partner, the mage Sister Grace, are given an all-expense paid trip to Florida to chaperone a group of Magicals at a Mensa convention. Then the pixies start pranking, the Valkyrie starts vamping and a dwarf goes to Billy Beaver's Fantasyland hoping to be "discovered." Environmentalists protest Vern's "disrupting the ecosystem," while clueless tourists think he's animatronic. When the elves get high on artificial flavorings and declare war on Florida, it turns into the toughest case they aren't getting paid for. Based loosely on the award-winning serial mystery, Magic, Mensa and Mayhem will keep you laughing wherever you rank on the IQ scale. ...."Wisdom of the Ages, Knowledge of Eternity, and I end up a babysitter at the Smart Humans'”

This book has a lot to offer. First it is a wonderful story. A most excellent read. Second, in the dedication the author thanks:

“To Rob: For wit, for wisdom and for love. 
I'll be your sidekick anytime!   
To my kids and godchildren: Wh
o always want to hear another "Vern story."   

To Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Robert Asprin and Jodie Lyn Nye: 
When I want to laugh, you're where I turn. Thank you. (And Piers Anthony—just for pun!)”

Many of the authors she thanks I read and enjoyed when I was younger. But I had never made to connection between them and my love of Fabian’s works. The acknowledgements section we are introduced to the genus and founding of how Vern came to be. And how that idea grew and expanded. And after the story we have two wonderful appendices. Yes I read both all the way through, they are well worth it, The first is ‘Uncle Vern's Glossary of Faerie and Mundane Terms’ and the second ‘Pronunciation of Elvish Names’. Both are excellent and should appear at the end of all DragonEye PI stories. If you pick up this book make sure to read it all. It is so worth it! There are 21 great chapters in this book and they are:

A Conventional Calling
Pixies in the Program
High Flight
Flight High
The Bottom Two Percent
Getting to Know You
Bedlam and Brownies
Food Fight in the Con Café
Saintly Spelling and Mystery Math
Interrogation In A Gadda Da Vida, Baby
An A-Musing Incident
Pixies, Pucks, and Pranks
Dashed Hopes and "Loverly" Dreams
Creatures of Action, Ja?
Danger, Danger, Danger!
I'll Show You What's In My Wallet!
The Seductiveness of Modesty
Do Quantum Brownies Go with Diet Chase?
Best Laid Plans of Elves and Dwarves
How Do You Hide a PayPal Bull?
Another Fine Mensa

An example for the pronunciation guide is:

Awbebiyewottyelfteez: (Aw, baby, you hottie elf tease). Former Keeper of Ages, though no one called it that until Bard Sir Jake, overcome with the sight of her (and probably too much wine), sought to win her love by writing her a ballad. Ottyelf, as her friends called her, naturally led him on until he'd finished the song—thirty-two verses in Schizac quadrameter—then absconded with the vest he'd written it on to show her friends as a practical joke. She didn't count on Sir Jake's famed memory, however; even hung over, he remembered enough verses to make a decent song, ensuring that the human race would never forget Awbebiyewottyelfteez, Keeper of Ages. Just goes to show you should never puck a bard with a long memory.”

And a few samples from the definitions are:

Church Mage: In the Faerie Universe, magic is a natural phenomenon, like electricity or gravity. It gets used for good and evil. Church mages have a special affinity, or charism, for magic. They train for years to channel that energy in conjunction with the will of God for the performance of minor spells and major miracles.”

Faerie Catholic Church: The primary human religion of Faerie. Very similar to the Mundane Roman Catholic Church, close enough that we are in Communion with each other. (Meaning if you're Catholic in one universe, you're Catholic in both.) I've been bound to serve God and His creatures under the guidance of the Church since St. George (God bless him, the magically overpowered pain-in-the-tail) cast a holy spell on me. I've done it all from Pope's pet to agent of the Inquisition (a very different experience from yours, believe me). Right now, I'm serving in my own way, but Bishop Aiden still has authority over me—which is how Grace and I got into this fine Mensa—er, mess.”

Puck: A practical joke or one who instigates a practical joke. Yeah, I know about your Shakespeare; I sometimes wonder if he wasn't connected to the Faerie world when he wrote "Midsummer Night's Dream."”  

St. George: God bless him, the magically overpowered pain in the tail. St. George knew he couldn't kill a dragon. We're immortal. So instead, he set a magical trap, caught me off guard, and worked magic on me until I was little more than a good looking Gila monster. Then he gave me a doozy of a geas: Serve God and His creatures through the Holy Catholic Church and get my powers back. 

I grumble about him, but he turned out to be a good friend, and I've kind of enjoyed my time serving the Church. At least it's been different.”

STUC: Save-The-Universes Case. By now, we've done this so many times, we gave them their own designation. We even charge extra when we can get away with it.”

Gap: The Interdimensional gateway between our universes. Created from a combination of a nuclear accident on your world and a magical mishap on ours, it sounds like something from a comic book, I know. But, hey, Faeries love a good cliché.”

The appendix remind me of Douglas Adams volume The Meaning of Liff. The book is worth tracking down just for the glossary. And for any serious fan of Vern’s let’s hope this is back in print soon. 

This story is wonderfully written. It is an awesome mix of part satire, part spoof, part comic science fiction and fantasy and a whole lot of fun. All wrapped up in a mystery at a convention with Mensa and farriers. What in the worlds could go wrong. In this story apparently a lot! I could not put this down and stayed up way past the time I should have reading. I purchased this eBook over 10 years before I read it. Fabian’s works fell off my radar and there was a log gap in reading. I am making up for lost time by reading everything I have and all her current releases.  

This is the beginning of the Vern Verse it is an excellent offering from the Fabian Space, world of stories. Excellent for fans of the series or anyone who wants an excellent story with a lot of laughs and smiles along the way! This was the 5th eBook I purchased back in 2011. The other 4 were all Arthur Slade. This was a great read but I look forward to reading the new revised edition that is forthcoming that fits this in the greater DragonEye storyline.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan!

Dex Hollister Series:

The Old Man and the Void
Dex's Way

Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator Series :
Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator
I Left My Brains in San Francisco
Shambling in a Winter Wonderland

DragonEye PI Series:
DragonEye PI Novels:
?.0 Magic, Mensa and Mayhem (Revised edition)
?.0 Live and Let Fly (Revised edition)

DragonEye PI Short Stories:

DragonEye PI Original First Editions:
Live and Let Fly

Space Traipse Series:
Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 1
Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 2
Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 3
Space Traipse Stories

Mind Over Series:
Mind Over Mind
Mind Over Psyche
Mind Over All
Hearts Over Mind

Edited by: Karina Fabian:
Infinite Space, Infinite God I
Leaps of Faith
Infinite Space, Infinite God II

Contributed to:
Firestorm of Dragons
The Zombie Cookbook
The Book of Tentacles
Twisted Fayrie Tales
FRIGHTLINER: And Other Tales of the Undead
Mother Goose is Dead
Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary
Image and Likeness Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body
Corrupts Absolutely? Dark Metahuman Fiction
Weird Noir
The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Novels
Manifesto UF
Avenir Eclectia
Planetary Anthology: Jupiter
Planetary Anthology: Pluto
Planetary Anthology: Luna
Planetary Anthology: Uranus
FlagShip Science Fiction and Fantasy v2i5
My Little Book of Headdesks
To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity

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