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Missing, Presumed Undead
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-214-3
Genre: Humor/Speculative/Dark Fantasy
eBook Length: 274 Pages
Published: January 2005

From inside the flap

Missing, Presumed Undead is Elmore Leonard meets Dashiel Hammett meets Terry Pratchett with China Mieville peering through the window (they got along fine until Terry spilt his tea all over Elmore’s Italian sports jacket . . .). It has an intriguing mystery driven plot, dipped in funny syrup and set in a classical fantasy-style world with the mood and magic driven "technology" of a Casablanca-style 30’s detective story. It isn?t so much hard boiled as char grilled, with a side salad.

Reviews and Awards

Reviewed By Tami Brady

Frank "Stubby" Minos is a bull minotaur. He regularly conducts executive investigations and cryptographic analysis for the Ursor’s Guild with the help of his sidekick Rysovynn-thael (Rhys). Rhys is a magic blade, of the purest star-geld made by the master fairy sorcerer Istaghass Yhore thousands of years ago.

A normal day in the life of these two investigators includes interviewing the recently deceased about their deaths and unraveling the mysteries behind a lost cadaver presumed to have been reanimated as a zombie. It’s all in a days? work for these two unique investigators.

MISSING: PRESUMED: UNDEAD: A Franklin Mynos Magimystery is a creatively hilarious mystery. The storyline is solid with ample
twists and turns. The interesting and rather unique characters allow the author to explore some very unexpected and creative avenues in which to unfold this mystery. Many of these avenues are downright hilarious. Of all the great characters in this book, my favorite is the narrator Rhys. Rhys is intelligent with a quick and clever sarcastic wit that just has to add his opinion into the mix. He also has some very unique abilities and perhaps a tiny bit of valiantly as well. He definitely isn?t your average letter opener.

Missing, Presumed Undead (Excerpt)

Chapter One: Necroview

Interviewing murder victims ain?t all it’s cracked up to be. For one thing, they?re very distracted and surprisingly uninterested in vengeance?most of the time. They?re much more interested in stuff like telling you what the afterlife’s really like and making sure someone’s fed their cat. For another thing, three priests gotta be there and their whole purpose for being there is to stop the murder victim from revealing anything about the afterlife. Article Five, paragraph four, subsection seven "a" of the Citied Council Necromantic-Watch Investigative Charter reads:

And if said shade shall begin to reveal secrets of the hereafter duly appointed officers of the faiths present find possibly disharmonious to their congregations and/or the general population, then said necroview shall be immediately terminated and all words struck from the written record, not to be seen by naked eye. Further summoning of this shade is not permissible.

Priests have a vested interest in making sure the rest of us saps are kept guessing about the afterlife. Hey, I got no beef with ?em. If we all wised up, they?d be out of a well paid, respectable crust with no heavy lifting, heaps of holidays and the odd sacrificial virgin.

There are plenty of worse jobs in the City. So there we were, cramped into The Necroview Room of Watchhouse One to listen to Master Lender Adrian Skrew, recently chopped to pieces on the streets of Hightown, the MAD lieutenant and his batman, the necromancer and his cape, the three priests, Frank and me. The Ursors? Guild wanted Frank there ?cuz, just like everyone else, they had about as much faith in the Magicrime Analysis Division of the City Watch as I do limbs. And wherever Frank was, I was tucked in his belt, his faithful magic?blade. So we both got to hear what the first victim of the Hightown Hacker had to say, straight from the cadaver’s mouth.

"Has someone fed Tinkles?" Skrew’s shade hovered above his mangled body. It was black, even through the shimmering gray Manah cloud only the necromancer and I could see?him being a trained magiprofessional, me being innately magical and downright swell. I could see Skrew’s eyes, but the rest of him was lost in the mother of all shadows. Now, I?m not implying nothin? about ursors, like their souls are black and they?re all damned to the foulest pit in the lowest plane of hell (I?m sure the hells are sick to death of the mean bastards), but that’s how all shades look. Dark, shadowy, mysterious. The necromancers do it on purpose.

I hate necromancers.

"Tinkles is fine, Mr Skrew. Tinkles is well cared for, I just need to ask you?"Lieutenant Reginald Hoggwash loosened the tie around his fat neck and bit his fat lip. He was out of his depth, and that’s flat, but in true MAD style, he wasn?t letting it stop him. He was wading right in with concrete boots.

"It’s just that if he doesn?t get his afternoon mackerel, by jinkees, he gets moody. Only last week?"

"We?re on to that, Mr Skrew, now?"

"It’s amazing the things you see here, the things you feel." Skrew’s shade shivered and shook and tore down the middle for the blink of an eye, then pulled back together. "I?ve gone beyond the borders?" The Friar from the Order of the Worship of the Ecclesiastical Three Toed Fish, the Bishop from the Order of the Fifth and Only Righteous Path to Complete and Utter Salvation (Third On The Right?You Can?t Miss It) and the Imahm from the Order of the Light Behind the Softly Erotic Curtain all shifted nervously in their seats. The duly appointed officers of the faiths looked ready to pull the pin. The slightest specific reference to the afterlife, and that would be that.

"Who killed you?" Frank asked. When he needed it, he could summon some power in his voice though, for the most part, he was the most softly spoken bull minotaur you?d ever meet. The dank air in The Necroview Room went stale and everybody stopped breathing. It was a pathos moment, and the necromancer, a City elf named Sadly Sadly Saunders, smiled. They love that sort of crap.

Skrew’s shade wriggled, like he was smoke in a breeze, and Sadly almost lost him. I saw the flash of Manah he burned to pull the guy back together. It was thick dark blue with a jet of crimson through it. Hard edged. Powerful stuff. Sadly knew his dope.

"I can?mmggmgmg mggmmmghhhmm?you know?mmmghgmmmgh."

"Can?t you?you turn him up? I can?t hear a word he’s saying." Hoggwash’s bright red face was sweating like a bruised fig on a barbecue plate.

"This is not some seaside children’s attraction, Lieutenant," Sadly shot back. He flicked back his blow-waved blonde hair. "The ways of necromancy are plotted far beyond the ken of mortal?ken."

"Spare me the lecture, stiffie stool, just?ah, I dunno. Skrew! Who damn well killed you and speak the hell up!"

"Hell?" The word echoed around the room and I almost choked on the pathos. Skrew’s shade spun around like a miniature tornado and Sadly almost lost him for good. He dug deep and managed to weave a holding pattern around the escaping Manah, but it wasn?t gonna last. The voice was more muffled and distant. "I cannot tell you the mmmgghh mmmmghgg mm mm mmmmmghhh. It was mmmgh mgh mmun mmennnnmmmb."

"What did he say?" Hoggwash squealed, his notebook ready. "Was that ?one leg??"

"I though he said ?wrong head?," the Friar offered, scratching his bald spot.

"No, it was definitely ?bun red?," said the Bishop with great passion. "An obvious reference to the holy crimson bagel." His face beamed with righteous zeal, kind of like an angry boil ready to bust.

"No! No!"the Imahm shouted. "He said ?done bed?, a section of a passage from the Holey Wholly Holy Book of Ribald Wisdom that refers to the post-lovemaking commandments of the Apostle Big George where He clearly states that?"

"Article Five! Article Five!" The Friar shouted. "I declare this summoning at an end under Article Five!" The Friar was pissed he hadn?t thought of trying to fit the mumbled words into some sort of religious jib. In a flash, Skrew was gone, back to whichever hell that housed him, and Sadly was packing his tools into a black attach? case. The three duly appointed officers of the faiths left the room squabbling and bickering like a tribe of goblins at a fresh scrap heap.

Hoggwash looked happy with himself. He straightened his crumpled gray suit, made from the cheapest Daktarrian wool (and already starting to pill), and motioned to his batman, Kris. Kris was a little punk, half fey and always trying to make out like he was some sort of wise elvish scribe instead of a jumped-up City Watch go-fer. That’s the trouble with the half fey, or, if you prefer, half elves. The only thing City elves have going for ?em is a certain style, a kind of refined panache, but I never met a half fey that got one slimy drop of it. The human genes just soak it up and spit out a sad-case wannabe punk The fey find human women as easy as peeling a cob of corn. Since human women are suckers for corn blonde hair, a set of bright blue eyes and tight archer’s buns, there’s plenty of half fey in the City, don?t worry.

"Well, Kris, I think we can put out an APB on a one legged man with a Hightown token last night." He smiled like he?d just killed a dragon and had his foot planted on its forehead for a magisnap.

"Ummm?an A, P, what?" Kris scratched his armpit. Very un-fey.

"You know, an APB." Hoggwash sighed and stared up at the ceiling. The guy did a lot of ceiling searches. I think he was the City expert on the inside of roofs. "Why can?t you people learn the anagrams? Is that too much to ask? APB is?um?it’s?it stands for?ah?All?um?All People Betray?ment. All People Betrayment. OK?" Kris looked back at him with a face so blank, you could have painted one on it.

"Don?t worry, I?ll sort it out myself." Hoggwash seemed to notice Frank for the first time and he grimaced a too-much-Hurghian-curry grimace. "And what are you looking at, Mynos? I don?t know why you?re even here. MAD has this case fully in hand." All three of his chins wobbled with indignation. "I?ll talk to Captain Rhubarb about private citizens attending official Watch necroviews when I go upstairs, you have my word on that."

"I am here by the request of my client, the Ursors? Guild, with the full knowledge of your Captain, Lieutenant, and I?m sure if MAD has this case fully in hand, it’s a case desperately in need of less handling." Frank tipped the tip of his fedora. For a bull minotaur, he was short at around six feet two inches, which is where he got the ’Stubby? tag, but he was at least a head taller than the MAD lieutenant. His horns were short and uneven. The right pointed up and the left skewed down and the matching ear drooped in sympathy. He wore specs over his dark brown eyes that were worth some guilders. Oval lenses, steel rimmed and custom made on the south coast of the Hurghian Sultanate. He wore a neat brown suit, nothing fancy, with a brown fedora hat and the browns matched his fur.

Hoggwash stormed out, trying to figure out whether he?d been insulted. Kris followed in his shadow like a well trained poodle.

We were left alone in the Necroview Room and it was suddenly very quiet, with a certain whiff of spook. It didn?t bother Frank. He pulled out his thick magnifying glass and leant over what was left of the ursor’s body for a closer look. Whoever this Hightown Hacker was, he?d done a number on Skrew. The guy looked like he belonged in a casserole.

What are you seein?, Frank? I mindsaid. It was easier in public, and more personal in private.

"Wounds consistent with a heavy cutting instrument, a blade about eight fingers wide, probably a one handed axe-like weapon wielded by an offender of extreme strength in a frenzy of rage. Angle of cuts change only three times, consistent with a single offender attacking from the front to the chest and head, forearms used as shield, then cuts to the back after victim collapsed." He paused and poked and sniffed. Alone in the room, his muttered words echoed like a priest at an altar. "On closer examination, several cuts to the lower ribs indicate two offenders." He paused again, still looking through the glass. "Or one offender using two weapons, one in each hand." He took a step back and mused.

"OK, Rhys, I believe we have a case to pursue."

OK, Frank. We lookin? for a one legged man?

"No, Rhys, as far as that goes, the good Lieutenant should rely more on real police work than magical gimmickry. The case I?m referring to is that of Mz Ashley Ash."

But, Frank?

It was no use arguing. I could tell by the set to his snout and the twitch in his droopy ear. But just ?cuz it was no use, didn?t mean I wasn?t gonna try.