Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 16 Jul 2018

Member Reviews

There's something about Victorian era book settings that brings out the use of language to fit within that setting and gives the story a certain flavour. 

Barnabas Tew wants to be like his hero, Sherlock Holmes, but so far it's not going too well. He isn't nearly as clever and pretending to understand things when his assistant, Wildred, gets a reference that he doesn't does him no favours. 

They've been given a case by Anubis to find a missing god. The trouble is, searching for clues in the underworld requires being dead! Traversing a landscape where they have to learn the rules as they go along leads to a constant state of confusion for the detectives.

This is a light, fun story. The journey through the realms of Egyptian gods added an interesting touch, although purists will wonder how the author assigned personalities to some of them, especially Maat and Hathor, who seemed way out of character.

It was a little slow moving in parts and had a sort of comic feel to it, but was overall enjoyable. The obvious set up at the end for a next book in series was actually rather well done, but the story works fine as a stand alone.
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I got this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 
This book is anything I’ve read before. It’s funny and witty. Barnabas Tew want to be like Sherlock Holmes and he sure pretends he is him.  When he play at being serious or try to be intimidating it’s just hilarious. But I so loved that he tried so hard to solve the case he is given. By Anubis himself! And how cool is that. 
And I am into everything egyptian so so there was no doubt this book is for me. 
And I think for anyone else too who likes Egyptian mythologie and want to read a light, funny story.
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"Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab" reads like Monty Python meets Egyptian mythology. The humor is sometimes dry, sometimes absurd. The author obviously did her homework in regards to Egyptian mythology. While I enjoyed some parts of the story, I was left confused by one important story element: why would Anubis hire such an utterly incompetent investigator? Watching Barnabas stumble around was amusing, but really didn't make much sense. If you are looking for a serious paranormal mystery, look elsewhere. If you want something along the lines of Warlock Holmes, then you've found the right book.
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Really funny book in which a Sherlock Holmes type is hired by an egyptian lord to solve a mystery. Quirky and campy, this book sold me at egyptian and victorian mystery
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Fun supernatural mystery

I enjoyed this book. Columbkill Noonan tells a good, well-paced, lighter story. The characters are well developed and quirky. Some of the wording is very clever and worthy of re-reading.  If you liked the Inspector Hobbes books by Wilkie Martin, or The Case of the Deadly Doppelganger by Lucy Banks then you will like this as well. They are all well-written supernatural series wrapped up in friendly and humorous packages. I recommend this book for those who want to read lighter fantasy.
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Barnabas Tew  is a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. He wants to be just like him so he becomes a detective, and even gets himself a "Watson," or rather Wilfred. Unfortunately, Barnabas and Wilfred are just not cut out for the detective business; they rarely solve any mysteries, and sometimes their clients even end up dead!
They do have some past successes though, and word of mouth is getting around. Anubis, the Egyptian god of death, has heard of them, and needs their help.

The writing is witty, charming, and irreverent. The protagonists are hapless and absurd. This made the book amusing and cutesy. At first I loved it, but then the style started to stale. I would then go back to chuckling and rolling my eyes, but then I would get bored again. I loved the story taking place in the Egyptian afterlife, and being introduced to a few gods that I wasn't familiar with, but I often found myself disinclined to pick the book back up. I think the novel has a bit of a pacing problem, but my reading habits come and go in waves. I may have been in a slump, or I may not have been in the mood for this book. Because overall I enjoyed it. In fact I noticed a sequel is coming out soon. I am definitely going to buy it. Columbkill Noonan can write!
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This ARC was provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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I was really looking forward to this one. The mix of a Victorian setting and Egyptian mythology was one that immediately caught my attention. Unfortunately, the book did not live up to my expectations for it. 

My biggest issue with this was the writing style. It wasn't bad per say, but I was confused about the audience that this book was targeted at. It could have been anywhere from middle grade to adult. The story involved murders and gruesome punishments/torture and yet they were all addressed by the characters with an air of posh humour. It was jarring at first, then I tried to look past it, but finally I could ignore it no longer and had to stop reading. I might come back to it at some point, because the ideas were interesting. For now, however, I will have to leave it at that. 

Rating (out of 5): ⭐⭐
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Short review on Litsy

ARC provided by NetGalley and publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I was very much anticipating this one as it involved a mix of a Victorian setting and Egyptian mythology.
However, it did not live up to my expectations. My biggest issue with this was the writing style. It wasn't bad per say, but I was confused about the audience that this book was targeted at. It could have been anywhere from middle grade to adult.

Rating: ⭐⭐
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'Barnabas Tew and The Case Of The Missing Scarab' got my attention not only because of the title, but also because of the Ancient Egypt theme. Since I first learned about that period in history at school I was hooked so this book seemed definitely right up my alley!
Moreover I also like a good mystery and Sherlock and Watson are personae I just adore. So far so good for this book written by Columbkill Noonan. After all the say Barnabas and Wilfred sound a bit like those two, only funnier.
Set to read a book I would LOVE (yes, capital lettering) I started and immediately I thought it was a bit weird - not the story itself but the writing - . As I'm a Belgian it was sometimes difficult to read for me. Not only did I encounter words I never heard of, but also the way the sentences were built up weren't really how I think of English writing or speech.
I do read a lot of English books, but here it just hit me right in the face : I'm not a English-speaking person! And because of that I needed to re-read quite a bit and I did need a lot of breaks in reading further... .
A pity I say, because I really found it a lovely and unique book. Barnabas is definitely an odd ball and Wilfred can handle him very well. It leads to funny dialogues and situations. They're mostly over the top, but I do love that. Although I must say it sometimes was a bit tiring and I would love to make more haste in the plot. It dragged on sometimes.
In addition I found the characters now and then just plain dumb. The knew or said things and a couple of pages later they were in need of explanation of the same things as if they didn't know anything anymore. Weird and awkward. I went back several times to check if I wasn't the dumb one.
All that being said, I did enjoy the book and the ancient Egyptian gods as persons. I'm quite curious about how the Viking gods will be depicted in the next installment! So I'll give this crazy duo another go soon.
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This book is a little different from the norm. Barnabas Tew and Wilfred Colby are two rather hopeless Victorian detectives who really want to be like Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson but fail miserably. Their fate is to end up being killed by an Egyptian mummy in a museum on the orders of Anubis, the god of the dead in the Egyptian underworld, since he has need of them. Their mission is to find who has done away with Khepre, the scarab beetle who rolls the sun Ra out in the morning and back at night, before the entire underworld suffers irreversibly in the perpetual noon sun.
Along the way they meet many gods, good and bad, until the crime is solved. None of the characters are overly likeable but the dialogue is good and there is a certain amount of humour in the book. There is not too much of a plot but the story is quite amusing, the characters grow on you and the reader will learn quite a lot about Egyptian mythology along the way. The book finishes with the main characters heading off for another adventure, this time in Norse mythology.
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In today’s market it’s rRe to find a character that instantly clicks with the reader, much less a book that one will want to read and reread, Noonan manages to deliver both.
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I thought this book had a great central concept, but the execution was slightly misdirected. The writing was excellent, and the humour too! But, I did find the pacing and direction of the plot to be a little slow and so not as engaging. I really wanted to LOVE it, but I certainly enjoyed it :)
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This book was an enjoyable and fun read. It's full of humour, with a lovely plot and quirky characters.
I loved the pompous anti-hero and laugh out loud  reading it.
I will surely look for other books by this author.
Recommended!
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC
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Barnabas Tew is a very good detective in Victorian London. Or at least he tries to be, but he has had a few setbacks in the past. He can't seem to be able to keep his clients or his business alive. That is, until a great chance arises: Anubis, the great Egyptian God of the Underworld, needs him to solve a great mystery. The Scarab God has been kidnapped, and the Egyptian underworld is slowly dying without him. Along with his trusted helper, Wilfred, Barnabas finally gets the chance to show what he's worth. But among so many gods, some of whom are vicious or short-tempered, will he be able to make it?

Barnabas Tew has a very unique, and admittedly attention-grasping concept. The Barnabas-Wilfred duo comes in full contrast to Sherlock Holmes and Watson, creating hilarious circumstances for the pair. There is also a lot of humor in this story, which I highly appreciated. 

However, there seems to be too much dialogue and close to no narration, which at times strongly felt like reading a theatrical or movie script instead of a book. It felt like the plot could have used more editing, as there were a lot of plot parts that just dragged on and on, without any real significance to the story. Most of the plot, actually, had nothing to do with the crime involved and just revolved around the funny dialogue, which became tiring at times.

All in all it was a good concept, in need of more editing, but still amusing.
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Clever, funny, and utterly unique, Barnabas Tew and The Case of the Missing Scarab is a novel to treasure.  This delightful and unconventional mystery places two of England’s most hapless detectives in the Egyptian underworld.  Here, at Anubis’s bequest, Barnabas and Wilfred are tasked with finding Khepre, the god who moves the sun across the sky.   Quintessentially English and naive to a fault, the duo stumble from deity to deity making a nuisance of themselves and falling for more than

a few tricks.  Columbkill Noonan’s skillful wordplay and comical depictions transform a good novel into an exceptional one.  Noonan’s style perfectly captures both the slight stuffiness and well meaning idiocy of Barnabas and Wilfred, as well as the absurdity of the situation they are in.  


While the humor of Barnabas Tew and The Case of the Missing Scarab won’t appeal to all readers, those who enjoy clever wordplay and absurd situations will enjoy this charming mystery.  It is especially fun if you have some knowledge of Egyptian mythology- but that is not a necessity. With its lack of violence and gentle humorous nature, the novel can be enjoyed by younger readers, but it is likely they will need a dictionary on hand to look up more challenging words.


5 / 5


I received a copy of Barnabas Tew and The Case of the Missing Scarab from the publisher and NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review.


— Crittermom
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I received this ARC via Netgalley, in return for an honest review.  This book was different.  The hero, Barnabas Tew, and his assistant, Wilfred, are late Victorian era detectives.  Barnabas wished to be Sherlock Holmes and somehow, it just doesn't work out that way.  Instead, he ends up killed by mummy (yep, Egyptian mummy) and in the Underworld to solve a mystery for Anubis, God of the Dead.  Adventures ensue across the Egyptian mythology.  Barnabas and Wilfred win through in the end and appear headed for further adventures, this time with Odin, in a future book.    This book really was unlike any I've read.  The characters aren't hugely likable or intelligent or sympathetic (Well, I like Wilfred).  If you like books where the main characters tend to, unwittingly, move from one  catastrophe to another and managing to win through, this is the book for you.  They're gentle souls, thrust into a very strange and unforgiving world, trying their best to navigate through.  They do grow on you so you carry on, just to see what happens next.  The author obviously did a great deal of research into Egyptian mythology and it shows throughout the book.
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Quirky, funny and a delightful read. Will definitely look for more from this author. 

Thanks to Goodreads and NetGalley for the copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
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Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab is a comedy of errors following Barnabas and his assistant Wilfred. They are detectives, styling themselves in the manner of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, although they’re not nearly as successful - in fact, they’re actually quite terrible at the job, and several of their clients have died as a result of their botched investigations. When one of their clients passes away after using a magical ankh, Barnabas and Wilfred are recommended to a new client for their work. This client is, surprisingly, Anubis, Egyptian god of the dead. Khepre, the god that rolls the sun across the sky, is missing - and Barnabas is tasked with finding out where he is. Across the underworld Barnabas and Wilfred encounter great and minor gods, multiple adventures, and ultimately the truth of what happened to Khepre, with great risk to themselves.

This book was a bit fun, following Barnabas and Wilfred on their adventures and seeing them interact with different gods and creatures. The mystery itself wasn’t too compelling in my opinion, I didn’t find myself getting invested in the book, but there were moments where the antics of the detectives made me laugh. I have always liked Ancient Egypt, so it was interesting to see a Victorian detective and his assistant navigate that culture, one so different from their own. The settings were very descriptive and interesting, so I liked reading those portions of the text.

That being said, I think the protagonists were so bad at what they did, and so dense, that at times it became quite annoying how obtuse they were, Wilfred less so than Barnabas. I struggled at times to keep on reading the book because I didn’t find it all that compelling, but I think that just happens to be a matter of taste. There were a few mistakes that could’ve been fixed by good editing as well, although I’m not sure if the copy of the book provided to me through Netgalley was a finalized version or before proofs. The ending of the book led right into a sequel, but I don’t think I would find myself picking that up.
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When I first started the book, it got off with a bang, cute idea, kind of Laural and Hardy set up.  Half way into it I realized it was not at all the book I thought It was going to be.  The idea of these two swimming beyond their depth in a very, very strange place was on the surface a GREAT idea and could have been a great book.  It just went on for about 200 pages too long. Well written I have to give it that, but what was a wonderful original idea was just repeated over and over until it just wasn't funny anymore, nor interesting. Didn't even need to read the book to know what was going to happen. Towards the end of the book I have to admit, not only did I skip multiple pages, I just didn't care about the characters anymore they were so dim and gullible, The book could have also benefited from a lot more description of the environment, which was a HUGE part of the story.  From the ending of the book it looks like its set up for a second, I won't be reading it, that is for sure.
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From the blurb, I expected this to be a detective story set in Victorian times. I was looking forward to meeting a new detective and his side-kick and to reading about their adventure looking for ancient Egyptian artefacts. What I got was more of a fantasy.

To be honest, I expected (perhaps naively) the "ancient Egyptian underworld" mentioned in the blurb to have been an elaborate trick set up by a gang of criminals intent on stealing artefacts from the British Museum. I did not expect the heroes actually to be transported to the underworld itself, and, by the sound of it, then to be transported to the Norse underworld for the next book in the series. 

The dialogue is nothing like dialogue written by Victorian authors such as Dickens, Trollope, Collins or Conan Doyle, other than being in English. But that English is extraordinary, having convoluted, archaic and pseudo-archaic phrases and words in addition to more modern language, such as , "Okay", "feminist" which were most unlikely to have been used in everyday conversation in London (nor in the realm of the ancient Egyptian dead) in the late C19. 

The plot moves along at a good pace, the dialogue is frequently amusing and there is a fair bit of information about ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses. But I am left wondering who the author's intended readership is for this series. Possibly, it is aimed at younger teenagers.

Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for this honest review.
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