Who’s There? by Herschel Cozine

THERE
Who’s There? by Herschel Cozine
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (7 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Nurseryland’s best (and only) private eye has been involved in many cases surrounding nursery rhyme and fairy tale victims, but this is the most baffling of all.

How does one find a person who isn’t there? This is the daunting task that Nathaniel P. Osgood III faces when he reluctantly accepts the case.

Searching throughout Nurseryland, Osgood makes the discovery that the little man he is looking for has not been at many places. Unreliable witnesses who claim to have not seen the little man who wasn’t there all over town add to Osgood’s frustration. In desperation, Osgood resorts to deception to resolve the case to his client’s satisfaction.

How do you solve a case that doesn’t come with any substantial clues and is brought to your attention by an unreliable witness?

Mr. Cozine stumped me from the beginning of this story. I couldn’t imagine how a private detective with limited resources planned to solve such an ill-defined mystery, but I was eager to find out! His newest client, Griswold McPhee, certainly doesn’t make the job easy for him, but I enjoyed watching Nathaniel pry a handful of clues out of his client before agreeing to take the case.

The ending of this piece felt rushed. I understood the point the author was trying to make, but it would have benefitted from another round of editing in order to further develop how Nathaniel came up with his solution. It was difficult to believe that a man who was as distraught as Mr. McPhee would accept the detective’s answer as it was written.

This is a plot-based series, and so far Nathaniel P. Osgood III has remained more or less the same person from one mystery to the next. Each adventure can be easily read as a standalone story, but the author’s playful sense of humour became more evident on my second trip to Nurseryland. I’m looking forward to visiting this world again so I can meet more of the surprising characters who live there.

Who’s There? is a creative take on a lesser-known nursery rhyme. It’s a good choice for anyone who loves these traditional rhymes and has always wondered what happens to the characters in them after they end.

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