A decapitation, an S&M escort service, drug addicted police officers, art forgery, and a mad scientist…just another day in Tourquai, one of the four districts which comprises Mollisan Town.
Acting on an anonymous tip claiming a murder has been committed, Police Superintendent Larry Bloodhound and his team, Inspectors Anna Lynx and Falcon Ècu, respond to Nova Park, a company located on the top floor of the most prestigious office building in Tourquai.
There they find a gruesome scene. Well known and extraordinarily wealthy venture capitalist Oswald Vulture has been beheaded in his office. There is no evidence, no murder weapon, and Oswald’s secretary swears no one has entered or left the office since the last time she saw Oswald alive.
Even more disturbing, the head has been taken from the scene. This is of particular note because Oswald Vulture being a plush animal, as are all the residents of Mollisan Town, if his head can be found within a reasonable amount of time it can be reattached and Oswald will be virtually good as new…and able to identify his own killer.
And there is no shortage of suspects with motive to have wanted Oswald dead. Surely Oswald’s sexy secretary, Emanuelle Cobra, must know more than she’s telling. How else could a killer get into and out of Oswald’s office on the 62nd floor, a room with only one entrance, unobserved? Or could it be eccentric scientist Oleg Earwig, who blames Oswald for stealing the rights to his greatest invention? And how exactly are art gallery owner Igor Panda and art forger Jake Golden Retriever involved?
Along the way Superintendent Larry Bloodhound bounces theories off his friend Philip Mouse, a private investigator with street contacts in places beyond the reach of the law, and it soon becomes apparent that Philip himself has more than a passing interest in the investigation. Could it be because of his relationship with the mysterious Jasmine Squirrel, whose company Domaine d’Or Logistics has a financial connection to Nova Park despite there being no tangible evidence Domaine d’Or Logistics actually exists other than on paper?
While the story at heart is a classic locked-room murder mystery, the characters have some pretty serious quirks (not the least of which is that they are all stuffed animals) and secrets. Superintendent Larry Bloodhound has a cocaine habit, Igor Panda has racked up an outrageous gambling debt that has him in the crosshairs of the wrong people, Jake Golden Retriever has a unique source for his forgeries, and Anna Lynx is just a tad too obsessed with the events going on in her best friend’s marriage.
Tourquai is an interesting hybrid of police procedural and noir fiction, and the unraveling of the killing of Oswald Vulture is a great murder mystery. But as with the previous two entries in the series, Amberville and Lanceheim, it is the wonderful little details about Mollisan Town that remind you why this series is unique. Be it the brightly colored streets, the weather that follows that same pattern every day, the use of drying cabinets instead of showers (plush and water, after all, do not go together well), or the very idea that a decapitated murder victim can identify his own killer if you can just find and sew his head back on, the world of Mollisan Town is a fascinating place to visit.
Unfortunately this brings our tour of Mollisan Town to an end, for now. There is a fourth book in the series planned which will eventually take us to the final district, Yok. Until then, I hoped you’ve enjoyed your guided tour of Amberville, Lanceheim and Tourquai.
Tourquai is available from Harper (ISBN: 978-0061797453).