Samhain Publishing, $2.50, ISBN 1-60504-140-8
Frank Tuttle brings back Markhat, the Finder that was first introduced in Dead Man’s Rain, for another fantasy mystery romp. Like his job title would suggest, Markhat is the fellow you hire to look for things that are usually not easy to be located.
In The Mister Trophy, Markhat finds himself, thanks to Mama Hog’s machinations, accepting a job from a Troll to become an intermediate of sorts between a bunch of angry Trolls and the vampires of Haverlocks. The Trolls want their cousin’s head – currently stuffed and displayed as a moth-eaten trophy thing in the Haverlock mansion – and you can bet the vampires aren’t going to comply so easily. Worse, there are more to the situation than the Trolls and the vampires led Markhat to believe. Oh dear.
This short story is too much fun for words. Oh, the way Markhat gets himself out of trouble at the end is due to an item given to him by Mama Hog, which makes things probably too convenient if I think about it, but the story is funny and most entertaining. Our hero has his droll wit put to good use here and the Trolls are just too funny. I also like how Mr Tuttle manages to reveal more details about the town of Rannit without having to launch into obvious lecture-like paragraphs. While this is a short story, Mr Tuttle displays a judicious sense of economy with his words to the point that he makes the story come off like a complete tale through a good balanced mix of showing and telling.
The Mister Trophy is an excellent fun romp. Sign me up for the Markhat love boat at once. Where’s my T-shirt?