Book Review: Kevin Hearne’s “The Purloined Poodle”

Posted October 6, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Kevin Hearne’s “The Purloined Poodle”

"The Purloined Poodle"


urban fantasy on September 30, 2016 and has 112 pages.

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three-stars

A short story, 8.3 in The Iron Druid Chronicles urban fantasy series, revolving around Oberon, an Irish wolfhound, and his Druid companion, Atticus.

My Take

I had really looked forward to reading this, as Oberon is my absolute favorite character in the series. Oh well. Oh, it’s funny, but I don’t know if it was too great a focus with Oberon’s perspective dominating with first-person protagonist point-of-view or if it simply wasn’t as funny as I was expecting.

I will say that Oberon cracked me up with his perambulations on the friendliness of an easy-access back door.

More fun is that quirk Hearne has of Oberon eagerly learning about culture, plants, and more — with food as incentive, of course, *more laughter* And Atticus’ conversation, ahem, with Detective Ibarra which will crack you up. Talk about evasive, lol. Poor girl.

Oberon doesn’t want to be outdone in the name parade, so he wants to be called Sir Oberon Snackworthy del Sausage Gravy von Bacon Slab-O’Boeuf. Mm-hmmm, read on for the reasoning behind O’Boeuf.

Hearne includes plenty of cultural references from Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series, meat pie, Jane Austen, sausage, Oscar Wilde, sirloin, Mahatma Ghandi, bratwurst, Moby Dick, salami, Doctor Who, gravy, The Princess Bride, and more.

It’s all about love. Love of food. Love of poodles. And a strong sense of doing what’s right with Oberon pushing to solve the crimes.

I gotta say, it would be so much fun (and make life easier) if we could communicate with our pets. Although, maybe I wouldn’t like what my cats had to say…

The Story

When Oberon 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!

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 Characters

Oberon, an Irish wolfhound is quite chatty thanks to a spell enhancement that allows him to mindspeak with Atticus. Naturally, his focus is all-dog. Atticus Siodhachan Ó Sueleabháín, going by Connor Molloy these days, is one of the last surviving Druids, 2,100 years old. Atticus’ lover, Granuaile MacTiernan, a.k.a., Clever Girl, is currently working as a barmaid in Poland so she can study with a coven. Orlaith is her female (and pregnant) wolfhound.

Earnest Goggins-Smythe, a software developer, is the owner of Algy, a.k.a., Algernon Oscar Bunbury Moncrieff Wilde, and Jack, a.k.a., Jack Frederick Oscar Worthing Chasuble Wilde, a Grand Champion poodle. Tracie Chasseur owns two English setters, Lizzie and Mr. Darcy. Mary Yarbrough is Tracie’s sister. Clive is her abusive drunk of a husband. Verity Boone-Sutcliffe has a Boston terrier, Starbuck.

Other kidnapped dogs include Ted Lumbergh’s Brittany spaniel, Ulysses; Julia Garcia’s Italian greyhound; Delilah Pierce’s French bulldog; and, the prim and vicious Gordon Petrie’s Airedale terrier, Queen Victoria Who Put Her Prince Albert in a Can.

Detective Callaghan is with the Eugene PD. The suspicious Detective Gabriela Ibarra is with Portland PD.

Owen Kennedy is the archdruid Atticus freed from time (Shattered, 7). Sonora is an elemental in Arizona. Brighid is First Among the Fae.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a cute take-off on Sherlock Holmes with the red, frizzy-haired Atticus adopting a pose in a brown wingchair, fingertips in thinking position, and a hard stare. Oberon sits on his left with an eager look while Starbuck is front and off-center with a quizzical one. In the background is a gloomy, sun-kissed grayed-out brown vintage wallpaper with photos of dogs — a poodle in particular — and Sherlock Holmes in profile. A fireplace mantel complete with owl, kerosene lamp, books, and figurines completes the scene. The title is left-aligned at the bottom left in a white distressed, grunge font while the author’s name is immediately below it in a deep clay color.

The title is what gets Oberon all het’ up, “The Purloined Poodle”, ‘cause y’all know how Oberon feels about poodles *eyebrow waggle*, um, the female kind…

three-stars