Wednesday, July 6, 2016


What do you think of the club philosophy?
- It works, doesn't it?
Does it?
- We're all animals! Why deny it?
So you don't believe in suppressing anything? 
- Why would I want to suppress my urges? If your body wants something, it must be natural. 
Well what if you get the natural urge to rip someones throat out, shouldn't they suppress?
"The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery"

Finally got rid of my backlog in review-to-be-written now! Though I cheated a little by postponing writing one review so long I simply don't remember enough of it to write a decent review.

Baron Pierre Benac wanted his name carved in eternity and the easiest way to do that is by having other people doing the hard work. The concept of the Olympique Scientific Internationale held in the French Alps sounded admirable: for one year, the most outstanding scientists in their respective fields of expertise were to live and work together, with each other's presence stimulating their academic work. Mont St. Denis was used to skiing tourists, not so to scientists and academics who kept cooped in their laboratories, but still, the OSI worked. Until the body of one of the scientists was found stuck on a torch, after having his throat torn out. When the police officer in charge of the case is also killed in his office and another scientist barely escapes a second attack by a mysterious, clawed assailant, the baron is forced to call in Professor Niccolo Benedetti, the most famous expert on evil and his associates to save his life project (and while he's at it, the lives of the scientists) in William L. DeAndrea's The Werewolf Murders (1992).

The Werewolf Murders is the second book in the Professor Niccolo Benedetti series, following The HOG Murders and followed by The Manx Murders. I was not very impressed by the professor's appearance in The Manx Murders, but luckily, this second volume is more similar to The HOG Murders, which makes it a lot more entertaining. As always, the eccentric Benedetti is accompanied by his disciple Ron Gentry and his wife, and the three make a good team of three detectives. Ron and his wife basically act as the Archie Goodwin to Benedetti's Nero Wolfe and these series detectives are also joined by the local police and mystery-loving scientists, making The Werewolf Murders a fairly densely inhabitated novel.

The case in The Manx Murders was a bit underwhelming to me: definitely not the case here, with physically brutal murders held in a closed community (the OSI grounds) and a fairly colorful cast all doing their own thing (making the investigation perhaps more complex than realistically should've been). The result is a story that keeps up a good pace right until the very end, something that didn't work really in The Manx Murders, but did in The HOG Murders. In fact, The Werewolf Murders is really a lot like The HOG Murders, from the serial killings in the small community setting to the little problems like too-many-detectives and too-few-suspects.

I thought the puzzle plot a bit more fair in The Werewolf Murders compared to the The HOG Murders though, with better clues (though I still love the deductions surrounding one of the murders in the second half of HOG). The 'big twist' of The Werewolf Murders is a bit easy to guess, though that might be because it's is a very often used trope, especially by Christie (seriously: this is the first time I really thought about it, but she used this gimmick a lot). In The Werewolf Murders, this is done so straightforward I was actually guessing (hoping) it was a trap, but no. There are some other elements that work well with the werewolf theme and overall, The Werewolf Murders is a well-crafted yarn.

Looking back at the series, I think the Professor Niccolo Benedetti series is good, but a bit uneven. The HOG Murders and The Werewolf Murders are incredibly alike, almost like the same tale from different universes. The Manx Murders in comparison is not nearly as captivating as the first two books and is almost so different, it doesn't even feel like it's the same series (save for the same characters appearing).

Now I think about it, I think I've actually read fewer mystery stories featuring fake werewolves than real werewolves. Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within for example had a real werewolf and the werewolves in The Terror of Werewolf Castle...err, they were different werewolves. Even Scooby-Doo! of all things basically featured more real werewolves than fake ones.

Anyway, The Werewolf Murders is an amusing entry in the casefiles of Professor Niccolo Benedetti. It's a bit similar to The HOG Murders in terms of setting though, so I recommend not reading them back to back.


  1. are there a mystery light novel you would like to see adapted into an anime ?

    1. I hardly read light novels actually, so little to comment on that. And one could certainly make a case for the Zaregoto series being either a light novel series, or not, but anyway, it's already confirmed it'll get an animated version, so... yeah, no other titles from me.

  2. the solution of the locked room mystery of the museum case in the second volume of Gyakuten Kenji, is it an original one ? have you seen it elsewhere (in a novel or a tv series for example) ?
    I just want to know if it's an original one. If it is I would appreciate this case even better

    1. I myself haven't seen that exactly same solution anywhere else. Of course, the basic idea behind the trick is quite common, but I've only seen this particular version here.

      Though you shouldn't be too surprised: the writer of the manga, Kuroda, is a 'normal' mystery writer, so coming up with original plots is pretty much his job :)

    2. Ok, thanks :)