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What Ho, Automaton! (Reeves & Worcester Steampunk Mysteries Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Chris Dolley
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99

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Book Description

** Finalist for the 2012 WSFA Award for best short fiction **

“A fun blend of P.G. Wodehouse, steampunk and a touch of Sherlock Holmes. Dolley is a master at capturing and blending all these elements. More than fascinating, this work is also rip-roaring fun!" - SF Revu

What Ho, Automaton! chronicles the adventures of Reggie Worcester, gentleman consulting detective, and his automaton valet, Reeves.

Reggie, an avid reader of detective fiction, knows two things about solving crime: One, the guilty party is always the person you least suspect. And, two, The Murders in the Rue Morgue would have been solved a lot sooner had the detective the foresight to ask the witnesses if they’d seen any orang-utans recently. Reeves needs all his steam-powered cunning and intellect to curb the young master’s excessive flights of fancy. And prevent him from getting engaged.

The book contains two stories set in an alternative 1903 where an augmented Queen Victoria is still on the throne and automata are a common sight below stairs.

What Ho, Automaton! - an 8,000 word novelette about how the two met.

Something Rummy This Way Comes – a 41,000 word novella chronicling their first case. When Reggie discovers that four debutantes have gone missing in the first month of The London Season and, for fear of scandal, none of the families have called the police, he feels compelled to investigate. With the help of Reeves’s giant brain and extra helpings of fish, he conducts an investigation that only a detective of rare talent could possibly envisage.

Mystery, Zeppelins, Aunts and Humour. A steam-powered Wodehouse pastiche.


“A fun blend of P.G. Wodehouse, steampunk and a touch of Sherlock Holmes. Dolley is a master at capturing and blending all these elements. More than fascinating, this work is also rip-roaring fun! But where Dolley really excels is in capturing the atmosphere and humor of the Bertie and Jeeves stories. Any Wodehouse fan will want to grab a copy of this work, but even if you have never explored that world, What Ho, Automaton! is a fun and fascinating read. Highly recommended, take a spin in this steampunk hybrid and enjoy the ride!” – SF Revu

“I found myself laughing out loud at Reggie and the fabulous Reeves as they romped their way through various adventures. A homage to Wodehouse without being sycophantic, this is fantastic. One thing to say to Chris Dolley: More please!” Sueo23

“I enjoyed every page of this book. A steampunk novel that combines classic British Humor, tongue-in-cheek references to Sherlock Holmes and a cast of great characters. I don't think I've actually laughed out loud this much while reading a book in a very long time.” ErisAerie

“Dolley has managed to capture Wodehouse's style, rhythm, and sense of humor almost perfectly ... it is just so much fun, and the author's exploration of this alternative England, full of robots and polite Frankenstineian constructs, adds an absurd depth not found in its inspiration.” Magus Manders

“Absolutely enjoyable book to read. The author creates this fantastical old England with a nut of a main character and a mechanic sidekick that leave you grinning after each page. It's the next best thing to Sherlock Holmes, and I hope there are sequels.”Ashschreck

“A rollicking good read! Not having read the original Wodehouse (although feeling a sudden desire to) but being a huge fan of the TV series I adored these stories - I could hear Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry in my head. True to character and quick of wit, I couldn't stop laughing.” Larry Auld

Product Details

  • File Size: 414 KB
  • Print Length: 158 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Book View Cafe; 1 edition (April 9, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004W0CR7S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #306,218 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Reggie is an avid fan of detective novels, such as Sherlock Holmes. When he has the good fortune to cross paths with an automaton named Reeves, he adopts his as a personal assistant of sorts. First we learn of the pairing's fortuitous meeting, then we learn what happens when Reggie and Reeves team up to investigate the disappearance of several society debutantes.

While I have never read any Wodehouse, I am familiar with the premise of his stories, as well as his iconic characters, so I was able to appreciate the homage that this book was intended to me. It is a cocktail of Wodehouse and steampunk, with a Sherlock Holmes chaser, and it was intoxicatingly funny. I found myself snickering and snorting as I read, thinking the entire time "this is pure awesome".

Still a rather new fan to the steampunk genre, I really enjoyed the subtle steampunk aspects to the story. I particularly loved the Victorian revisionist setting, what with the Queen having mechanical limbs and all. I found the Reggie and Reeves characters to be well developed, and I loved their interactions. The first story is the pairing is just a short introduction to them as characters, and an explanation as to how the met. The real meat and potatoes of the book is the second story, which I found to be hilarious.

My husband is a big Wodehouse fan, so when I described the book to him, he fell in love with the concept; I think many Wodehouse fans will like the book. Fans of the steampunk genre will also greatly appreciate, particularly if they have an appreciation for good British humor. All in all, this book is full of win for me, and I would love to see the author write some follow up stories for Reggie and Reeves.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wodehouse done right December 30, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
It's very, very, very hard to write Wodehouse pastiche. Really hard. Chris Dolley does it well. I laughed til I cried over the (literally) robotic Reeves. Dolley gets the language right, he gets the timing right (really hard!) and oh yeah--it's steampunk! Supposedly there are more of these stories coming. Thank goodness!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Parody Done Right, and a bonus -- it's Steampunk! August 18, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Here is parody done right, and as a bonus, we get Steampunk! Chris Dolley has taken the classic tales of P.G. Wodehouse and created a delightful homage to them. Reggie Worcester begins in the title tale with "Aunt trouble," a dreadful thing, as any fan of the Jeeves' tales knows. Fortunately, his club has found an automaton in the attic - a smart one. Reggie is flabbergasted (the club has an attic?) but game to borrow Reeves, as the former carnie mechanical man is called. If anyone can help Reggie appease his aunt and get safely home, this brilliant automaton is surely the person - er, machine.

Dolley has down pat the voice, the mannerisms, and the bits and pieces that scream early 1900s. The language may be a bit thick for those who don't read or watch a lot of period Brit entertainment, but I think that you can get the gist of it, as well as the laughs. Take a look at the sample and find out if it's for you.

Now - why hasn't this pair been optioned for television? Excuse me while I return to our heroes as they continue their entry into sleuthing!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quick, cute and funny. August 12, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I was first introduced to Chris Dolley's work in International Kittens of Mystery and was happy to find out that more fun and frivolity were forthcoming in What Ho, Automaton!. If you're a fan of wry historical fiction that isn't afraid to be silly and absurd (in a good way) then this book is a good bet.

Reggie is, in a word, a goofball. His primary concerns in life are avoiding the yoke of holy wedlock and trying to solve mysteries, which he considers himself uniquely qualified to do because of his enjoyment of Sherlock Holmes novels. When he discovers Reeves, a thoroughly capable, steam powered automatic valet, telling fortunes at a club he frequents, he figures it's a good match.

It totally is- without Reeves, Reggie would know his you-know-what from a hole in the ground, and even with Reeves thoroughly managing things behind the scenes, Reggie manages to make a muddle out of just about anything, even without trying. He fixates on an idea and simply cannot let go of it, much to the amusement of the reader and the chagrin of the rest of the characters.

There's a lot going on in this story- missing debutantes, secrets and lies, intrigue, pork products, you name it. It's a story that strives to make people laugh, especially those who are fond of Victorian detective novels or mysteries in general. It doesn't try to save the world and overhaul the characters from the beginning to the end, and I appreciated that- sometimes it's nice to just have a good joke and leave it at that. This is a novella, as well, so it's the perfect thing for a short reading break. Plus, with a price tag of $2.99, what's not to love?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wodehouse meets steampunk July 7, 2011
By soraki
Format:Kindle Edition
This book contains a short story and a novella that take place in a Wodehouse/steampunk world.
The first story, What Ho Automaton, begins with Reginald Worcester's formidable Aunt Bertha sending him to detach his cousin from an engagement to an unsuitable female. Reggie brings along his new automaton-servant, Reeves, a robot of immense brainpower.
The second story, Something Rummy This Way Comes, begins with Aunt Bertha ordering Reggie to get engaged by the end of the Season. Reggie's reluctance over attending the Season evaporates when he meets a spirited deb named Emmeline, who tells him that debutantes have been disappearing over the past few weeks. Reggie and Reeves set up as consulting detectives to investigate the kidnappings with help from Emmeline.
I can't wait for the further adventures of Reggie, Reeves, and Emmeline.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Channeling Wodehouse
If you loved the Wooster and Jeeves novels and enjoy a rollicking mystery, What Ho, Automaton is for you. Read more
Published 12 months ago by J. Blackwell
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent innocent fun
What Ho, Automaton! (Reeves & Worcester Steampunk Mysteries)by Chris Dolley is an excellent read, filled with manipulating Aunts, plighted troths, zeppelins, and country estates. Read more
Published 14 months ago by music mama
5.0 out of 5 stars The first steampunk novel I've read, but not the last
This book was my introduction to Chris Dolley who can write like nobody's business. I've read everything available on Amazon that he has written, which is not nearly enough!! Read more
Published 14 months ago by Susan Newhall
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of fun
A great read for those nights when you can't sleep, this pastiche of Wodehouse and steampunk made me smile a lot and occasionally laugh out loud. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Katharine Kerr
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun Fun
This is quite ideally ridiculous and definitely what I would call a mash up, like those Austen meets ninja zombie book things of a few years ago. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Gail Carriger
4.0 out of 5 stars Such a fun story!
Book Info: Genre: Steampunk Mystery
Reading Level: any age that can read it
Recommended for: fans of Wodehouse, those who like steampunk stories, those who enjoy a... Read more
Published 15 months ago by K. Sozaeva
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
I'm not saying it was bad, but it just wasn't for me. If you like the idea of a walking, talking, person-like computer you might love this one!
Published 19 months ago by Younggrandma
1.0 out of 5 stars book
I am sorry, but it was a waste of time. I love to read, but I did not even finish the book.
Published 19 months ago by L. Norling
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-done pastiche
Once I've said "steampunk P.G. Wodehouse," you're either in or out. But if you're in, let me clear up a few points you might be wondering about.
First, is it a good pastiche? Read more
Published on August 27, 2012 by Mike Reeves-McMillan
4.0 out of 5 stars What Ho! Steampunk?
The mind boggles perceiving Reeves (Jeeves of Steven Fry fame) as an automation being charged via his belly button--unlike those German automations! Read more
Published on September 13, 2011 by eyes.2c
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More About the Author

Chris Dolley is a New York Times bestselling author, a pioneer computer game designer and a teenage freedom fighter. That was in 1974 when Chris was tasked with publicising Plymouth Rag Week. Some people might have arranged an interview with the local newspaper. Chris created the Free Cornish Army, invaded the country next door, and persuaded the UK media that Cornwall had risen up and declared independence. As he told journalists at the time, 'It was only a small country, and I did give it back.'

In 1981, he created Randomberry Games and wrote Necromancer, one of the first 3D first person perspective D&D computer games.

In 2004, his acclaimed novel, Resonance, was the first book plucked out of Baen's electronic slushpile.

Now he lives in rural France with his wife and a frightening number of animals. They grow their own food and solve their own crimes. The latter out of necessity when Chris's identity was stolen along with their life savings. Abandoned by the police forces of four countries who all insisted the crime originated in someone else's jurisdiction, he had to solve the crime himself. Which he did, and got a book out of it - the International bestseller, French Fried: One Man's Move to France With Too Many Animals And An Identity Thief.

He writes SF, Fantasy, Mystery, Humour and Memoir. His memoir, French Fried, is an NY Times bestseller, a number one bestselling travel book on Amazon US, a number one biography, travel and entertainment book on Amazon France and has spent over a year in Amazon UK's bestseller charts. His novelette, What Ho, Automaton! was a finalist for the 2012 WSFA Small Press Award. And his novelette, Magical Crimes, was the number one bestselling free short story at Amazon UK in December 2011.

He's a director of the author-run publisher, Book View Cafe.

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