Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Barking Mad Tour

Barking Mad is a comedy murder-mystery set in England during the 1920s. An homage to both P.G. Wodehouse and Agatha Christie, the novel features idle playboy Reginald Spiffington and his unflappable manservant Pelham. The section excerpted below occurs midway through chapter three, approximately forty pages in. Reggie has been asked by old friend Moony Huffsworthy to come down for the weekend to Huffsworthy Hall to play matchmaker between Moony and Arabella Biscuit, daughter of the offensive and terrifying Sir Lionel Biscuit. But Reggie is more interested in the beautiful author Mimsy Borogove. After setting up a night-time picnic with Mimsy, Reggie has been attacked by what appears to be a large wolf. Only the timely intervention of Pelham, umbrella swinging, has saved Reggie from death. Here, Reggie has been carried back up to the room by Pelham, who has tended to Reggie’s wounds.

After the arm had been swabbed and wrapped, I sat moodily in my bed, ensconced amongst a sea of pillows and blankets and provided with a scotch and soda. The night had not turned out in exactly the way I had planned. The main alterations, as I saw it, were Mimsy Borogove not showing up at all for our planned assignation, and having been attacked by a bloody great wolf.

“Perhaps it was a large dog, Pelham?”

“It was most definitely a wolf, sir.”

“Mastiff, perhaps?”

“I am afraid not, sir.”

“How can you be so irritatingly sure? I could have sworn there were no wolves in England. Didn’t my old schoolmaster teach me that in one of my lucid moments during lessons at a tender young age? Hunted to extinction, what?”

“I believe that is the accepted wisdom, sir.”

“Then I’m dashed if I know, Pelham. I am, you could accurately say, confounded.”

“Your confusion is understandable, sir.”

“Perhaps, Pelham, you could enlighten me? Has the animal been imported from Russia? An escapee from a local zoo, I shouldn’t wonder? What are your thoughts, Pelham?” For Pelham, as you may have deduced by now, is a fellow who has an inordinate number of thoughts. The man is nearly constantly thinking. The very concept tires me out, but you’d have to get up pretty early to catch my man Pelham not exercising the old bean. And when something as perplexing as having a picnic preempted by an extinct predator occurs, Pelham’s just the brain you want in your corner.

“I can’t say for certain, sir.”

“You mean you have no idea? It is a disturbing conundrum.”

“I mean, sir, that the idea which presents itself to me is one which I am loath to share.”

I was taken aback. “What do you mean, Pelham? Since when have you not shared ideas with me? There are times, some of them fresh in my memory, when you shared ideas to the point that I fell quite asleep. Share your idea with me.”

Pelham sat. This was in itself unusual, and I began to wonder what the deuce was going on. I put it to Pelham in this way: “What the deuce is going on, Pelham?”

“I am afraid, sir, that my information may require a willing suspension of disbelief on your part.”

“A willingness to what did you say?”

“An inclination to listen without judgment until I have told all I have to tell.”

“Alright, Pelham, old boy. I have to say, you’ve become highly atypical this evening.”

“Yes, sir. My apologies, sir.”

“Oh, no apologies necessary, Pelham. The whole evening has been the least typical I could have imagined. Tell on, my good man, I am not going anywhere.”

“I believe you were attacked by something that was in fact a wolf, but which may in fact be something else as well.”

“I’m not sure I’m following you. My disbelief is suspended to the ceiling—it’s not that, you see—but it’s a wolf and yet something else as well. Some sort of wolf-dog hybrid, perhaps?”

“No, sir. I believe,” and here he paused like an actor in a radio drama, “that you were attacked by a werewolf.”

“I say, Pelham, are you feeling alright?”

“Yes, sir. I am most well. I am being completely serious when I say––”

“Because when you said ‘werewolf’ just then I had a clear thought. ‘Reggie,’ said my thought, ‘Pelham’s going round the pipe.’ I don’t often have thoughts, Pelham, and I find it neighborly to agree with them when they do occur.”

“If you would be so kind, sir, as to let me finish.”

“Certainly, Pelham. Rant away, my good lunatic.”

“Thank you, sir. Before I worked for you, I was employed by a man named Coverdale. Mr. Coverdale was a member of an organization that spent its time dabbling in the dark arts.”

“What, like macramé?”

“No, sir. Though Mr. Coverdale was not unfamiliar with the craft of macramé, I do not mean that. I mean that these men, and women, attempted to influence people and events through the use of magic.”

“Ah, I see. Houdini, what?”

“More on the order of Aleister Crowley, sir.”

“Oh, I see. I say, Pelham, that’s a bit sinister, isn’t it?”

“Yes, sir. It was owing to the, as you say, sinister nature of Mr. Coverdale’s magical endeavors that I eventually left his employ. I am much more comfortable working for someone like yourself, sir.”

“Thank you, Pelham.”

“Not at all, sir. While I was still serving as butler to Mr. Coverdale, I became privy to information about the world we live in that can be considered disturbing. I learned of these things occasionally directly from my employer, but more often from the servants of other members of his order.”

“What was the name of that order, Pelham?”

“The Order of the Jaunty Pomegranate, a name drawn from Greek myth, I believe. It was through the testimony of these other servants, mostly from one in particular, that I came to know the truth of certain peasant superstitions which seem to most of the world the stuff of Hollywood terror films.”

“You mean, like werewolves? Reynolds’ Wagner, Parisian alleyways, all that?”

“I’m not conversant with the reference, sir, but I do mean, among other things, werewolves—people who become wolves when the moon is full.”

“And you think that the beast that attacked me was one of those.”

“Yes, sir.”

“And upon what criteria do you make such a classification, Pelham? The thing was no doubt wearing a double-breasted waistcoat and a pocket-watch?”

“I cannot find humor in the situation, sir. I base my conjecture, and I will admit that it is only conjecture, on three pieces of evidence. One is the size of the creature that attacked you. It was much larger than any naturally occurring wolf of which I am aware. Certainly larger than the wolves in London Zoo. Secondly, the fullness of the moon. And finally, the fact that, as you’ve said, there are no wolves in the wild in England.”

“I see. Do you know, this is the most I’ve ever heard you reveal about your past, Pelham? And I wish you hadn’t.”

“I am sorry, sir. But I felt it important to convey my suspicions to you in light of what has happened.”

“In light of…? I’m afraid once again I am at a loss, Pelham.”

“I beg your pardon, sir. I should have been more explicit. You have been bitten by a werewolf. If the stories are to be believed, you will become a wolf tomorrow evening.”

Where to get Barking Mad - goodreads, Amazon, Typecast Publishing

Barking Mad Description:
The year is 1931. The scene is werewolfishly classic English fare. And tonight the moon hangs as full as a royal pie plate in this inaugural Reginald Spiffington mystery when the none too obsequious playboy, Reggie, sets out for a delectably long weekend at Huffsworthy Hall to assist his dear friend, Moony, in his failing endeavor to take the hand of his lady-love and to partake in the culinary talents of the genius chef running the kitchen. With no one reason more important than the next, he ll be off straight after breakfast. Reggie s itinerary for the weekend turns abruptly less toothsome when he decides to solve the unexpected murder of another of the Hall s guests, a guest whose luggage is secretly packed full of nefarious plans. Soon, all Huffsworthy s inhabitants are potential suspects, including Reggie s saucy, quick-witted love-interest, Mimsy Borogrove. Aided by his invaluable valet, Pelham, and armed only with his knowledge of detective novels and a newly acquired set of keener, canine senses, Reggie sets out to find the killer before another meal falls to ruin
About Jamieson Ridenhour - website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads
Jamieson Ridenhour is the author of Barking Mad: A Reginald Spiffington Mystery, available from Typecast Publishing in June of 2011. He is the editor of the Valancourt edition of Sheridan Le Fanus 1872 lesbian vampire novella Carmilla, as well as creator of the award-winning short fairy-tale horror film Cornerboys.

The South Carolina native now lives in Bismarck, ND, where he writes poetry about movie monsters and murder-mysteries with werewolves in them. He also plays wicked lead guitar with Bismarck-based rock and roll band Blind Mice, lectures on vampires and Charles Dickens (though not at the same time), and generally frolics on the plains. He lives with his wife Gwyn and their two children Ian and Eva.
Contest Info: Jamie is offering a giveaway for all entries gathered during the Tour. A signed copy of Barking Mad, 4 unique signed character cards and a DVD.
Open US/Canada. See full contest rules here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 6th - Reels Well Blog
Tuesday, February 7th - A Casual's Reader Blog 
Wednesday, February 8th - Evie Bookish
Thursday, February 9th - My Bookish Way's 
Friday, February 10th - Bewitched Bookworms

Monday, February 13th - Sitting Here and Read
Tuesday, February 14th - Books and  Things
Wednesday, February 15th - Books and Other Creative Adventures 
Thursday, February 16th - Sweeping Me
Friday, February 17th - Reviews by Molly

Monday, February 20th - Unabridged Andra
Tuesday, February 21st - Buried in Books
Wednesday, February 22nd - Hooked on Books
Thursday, February 23rd -Glorious Books
Friday, February 24th -  A Cupcake and A Latte 


  1. Wow! This sounds like a lot of fun :D

  2. What a fun post! Barking mad does sound amazingly witty!

  3. I think I quite enjoy Pelham and the way he presents his thoughts, very matter of fact and professional as though he were talking about the weather instead of werewolves:) Really enjoyed this excerpt!

  4. Liking the sound of this one, I love the names of those characters ....... Moony and Arabella Biscuit, Reginald Spiffington - brilliant.

  5. Nice excerpt :)

    I am glad there is no fullmoon today, lol

  6. tank you so much for sharing, it sounds like a really nice book, I didn't know about this one.

  7. Melissa, you always do the funnest giveaways and other things on your blog! It's always a pleasure to come here!

    I have missed you, chicky-poo! I'm so sorry to hear about your eye but glad you're on the mend! That happened to me once and just wearing the patch---period, gave me a headache! I ended up taking it off it was driving me so crazy! Glad you're doing better :o]

    Sorry I haven't been around much but had a hell of a flare up but doing a bit better now!

    I'll be back(using best Arnie Terminator voice)

    Hugs to you, Chica!

  8. I think this sounds like a lot of fun - plus you know how much i like UK based books! :)

  9. This is the politest sounding, most formal werewolf book I've ever read, and the characters' names are a hoot!

  10. Of course we're polite! Just because you're a werewolf, there's no need to be uncouth!

  11. Oh very neat! Thank you for sharing this and the all with us. Best of luck to the author. :)

  12. Everyone knows matchmaking isn't as easy as it sounds.

    And you can never go wrong with the direct approach of telling someone what they are about to become. :P

  13. Dude! When I read the synopsis, I was like "meh..." but the excerpt was like, "oooh!!!" lmao!!!

    Yes! These are actually the thought processes my mind works through!

  14. What a fun excerpt. Love the characters and their use of language!


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