MICHAEL GALLAGHER WRITES

REVIEWS

OCTAVIUS GUY &

THE CASE OF THE MENDACIOUS MEDIUM

April 16, 2021

This was the second book in the series that I have read, and although it stands alone as a story, reading it was a much richer experience having already been introduced to the characters before. The character development of Octavius is skilfully done as he grows older and becomes more capable, I can't say more confident, as that has been part of his nature from the beginning! The relationship with his assistant George is very well written and whereas the device of an "assistant" is often used solely to explain plot lines or just "move things along", here, George is very much his own man and I found myself caring about him just as much as the main character. In fact it is difficult not to care about all the characters in the book as they are all carefully painted and allowed their own moments in the limelight. I even felt that the period and the location became its own character due to the efforts made regarding the detailed research that is obviously undertaken.

I knew very little about spiritualism, especially Victorian spiritualism, but that was completely irrelevant as Michael has a considerable knack of writing in a way that not only entertains but informs along the way, making it a completely enjoyable read for any reader from young adult upwards.

The story moves at a fair pace and I was completely drawn into the action right up to the very end, constantly wanting to find out what was happening next. I have no reservations in thoroughly recommending Octavius Guy and the Case of the Mendacious Medium and I am already looking forward to reading more in the series. 

October 08, 2020

This is a fantastic book that brings out so much out of each of the characters portrayed. The Octavius Guy series is proving to be addictive. Just when I finish reading one book, I feel I have to go straight to the next one. I have always made some time for regular reading of books but seldom do I read something with so much anticipation of what may take place in the next page that I end up reading well into the night (even after an exhausting long day of work). I hope this series and the other books of this author are widely read. 

October 06, 2019

Yet again, with meticulous attention to historical detail, Mr Gallagher has created a story that is really engaging and populated with some fascinating characters. Gooseberry, our eponymous hero, is brave, clever and funny. He is a young self-educated, and far less self absorbed, Sherlock Holmes.

What I particularly love about Mr Gallagher’s books is that they can be read and enjoyed by all ages. I have already lined up Gooseberry’s next adventure onto my Kindle.

September 03, 2019

Michael Gallagher is a marvellous writer and storyteller. This, the third in his Octavius Guy series, is so enjoyable: witty, warm, full of wonderful descriptions, dialogue and characters. Doesn't sound like a murder mystery? It certainly is. Set in Victorian London, it has an excellent plot which zips along at great pace and with great verve, enveloping us in its authentic atmosphere. Octavius - along with his sidekick, George - comes up trumps once again!.

August 05, 2019

This series just gets better and better and I just can't get enough of teenage investigator Octavius Guy! The sub plot of his own personal story and the development of the cast of characters had me totally engrossed and entertained. I love the way Michael Gallagher writes, with his witty asides and gentle humour. The characters are totally believable and superbly drawn. The era is thoroughly researched and I always learn something new about the lives and times of different classes living and working in London in the 1850s.

This is an absolute gem of a series and quite the most enjoyable set of books I have read in a very long time. So much so that, while I await book 4, I am now going to try the author's other series "The Involuntary Medium".

May 16, 2017

First off, I’d like to apologize to Mr. Gallagher for taking so long to read and review this book. But assuming that this will be the last of the Adventures of Octavius & Co, I wanted to wait until I was really ready for the story. And then once I started I tried to eke it out for as long as possible. Oh, how I love these books and these people! [Author’s note: Bless you for doing that, but it isn’t the last! Gooseberry’s next adventure is already under way, and there are at least three titles to come after that.]

Like the first two, this is a cracking good story. Octavius and George are on the case to both help a Spiritualist Medium and help Mrs. Crabbit. How are they connected, and why? Octopus has a heart of gold, and so much spunk! I just adore him.

I don’t want to give anything away, but I wanted to say that I was captivated (as usual) by the twists and turns in the story. The writing pulls you along, urging you to turn one more page, then another, then one more, until you have finished the book. Each person in these pages is real to me, so much so that I keep having to stop myself from looking them up online - they’re not really there! - and instead glomming my eyes onto the historical photos of London at the time for far longer than is advised.

Thank you so much for writing these books, and for bringing these characters to life. I have a feeling they'll always be lurking around in my head. (And, after my raving about these books to my reader of a Mom, we're doing a group read of “The Moonstone” before I lend her my Kindle to read this series.) Excellent, excellent, excellent!


Laura Brook, LibraryThing Early Reviewer

May 06, 2019

A wonderful series! Michael Gallagher has done it again. I loved this book. I laughed out loud and nearly cried. The characters are well developed and the storyline is different and engaging. It's obviously well researched and Mr. Gallagher goes even further than providing a great story by placing links to sites where the historical information referenced can be found. All in all, I was truly entertained and couldn't wait to learn who did it. Just as soon as you think you have it right, he throws you for a loop. I highly recommend this whole series and intend to read the next one.

May 31, 2017

I totally loved this book. I love Michael Gallagher's style.
I love reading about Octavius's exploits, his ways of thinking and how a young lad can solve these crimes.
An excellent read.

March 25, 2017

I enjoyed this book a lot. It’s a very young detective in a 19th century London, with the experience we have in police TV series to be surprised is difficult, this book is really enjoyable and with a surprising ending.
It’s a good choice for young readers as well old ones like me who enjoy adventures and mystery.
Highly recommended.


Elizabeth Carrasco, LibraryThing Early Reviewer

February 25, 2017

I received a free copy of this ebook as a generous gift from the author with no strings attached or expectations. This review is given freely and completely voluntarily. All thoughts and words are my own.

I loved this book!

This is the third book in the series. While it is helpful to have read the previous books in the series, I feel that it could easily stand alone. I read the previous book in the series and thoroughly enjoyed it as well.

Octavius (aka Octopus) is incredibly likeable and Bertha continues to be my favorite character. I wish we had seen more of her in this book. Octavius, yet again, solves the mystery, while, this time, training George, his apprentice. They make a good team.

There's an American medium and her entourage, a contested will, a nefarious duo, and a murder or two. In a locked room, everyone is a suspect. It's a right muck of a mess, and many things may not be as they seem, but Octavius, with the help of George, solves the crime and saves a life, right in the nick of time!

Once again Michael Gallagher creates a vivid, almost tangible reality in Victorian England. That, with his rich character development, and engaging plot makes this book incredibly enjoyable and downright fun!

I look forward to seeing Octavius Guy (and Bertha!) again and again.


Devon Lewis (The Pinkaholic), Goodreads Reviewer

February 08, 2017

Surprisingly I really enjoyed reading this book – surprisingly because I was almost put off by the title and because it is not my favourite genre. However it was very well written with sufficient detail to transport you to the time and the place. I didn’t warm to Octavius immediately as he seemed rather too sure of himself (like a young Sherlock Holmes) but I found him more engaging as the book went on. For me it was some of the other characters that gave the book its lift - Bertha for example and I loved the interactions with George his reluctant sidekick. All in all, well worth a read.


Suzanne 289, LibraryThing Early Reviewer

February 03, 2017

I absolutely LOVE this book. I will have to read the others in the series. Octavius is a lovable detective with a fun sidekick in George. From exposing mediums to investigating murder and the veracity of an old man's will, you will eagerly go on adventures with this amazing duo.


Liliyana Shadowlyn, The Faerie ReviewLibraryThing Early Reviewer

February 01, 2017

Well written with a tremendous amount of detail. This book transported me to Dickens’ London for a mystery with a metaphysical twist. I enjoyed the trip but sometimes felt bogged down and needed timeout.


Seaside-Reader, LibraryThing Early Reviewer

January 17, 2017

I really enjoyed this story by Michael Gallagher. It is set with Octavius Guy as the main character, a detective with his assistant George. Octavius decides that their employer needs their help in his personal life, without the man's knowledge or consent. The two detectives embark on an adventure that uncovers a larger mystery that only the Great Octavius Guy can solve. This was very well written. The story line flowed smoothly with pleasant description & imagery. I enjoyed several of the characters in this story and would gladly read another book by this author.


OtwellS, LibraryThing Early Reviewer

January 09, 2017

Another wonderful mystery featuring Octavius Guy, aka Gooseberry, as he and his detective-assistant-in-training, George Crump, work to solve a series of murders involving a psychic medium in 19th-century London. When Octavius notes some very unusual behaviour from Mr. Crabbit, the man in charge of reimbursing him for small expenses he incurs through his investigative work for Mr. Bruff, the lawyer that both are employed by, he decides it's a mystery to be solved, and a perfect opportunity to further George's lessons in the art of being a good detective. Through their spying they discover that Mrs. Crabbit has been attending sessions with a very expensive psychic medium in the hopes of contact with her late Uncle, whose estate she had hoped to inherit. To her dismay, the Estate ended up going to the only other living relative, a man that she knew her Uncle disapproved of, and would not have left a penny to. Convinced that the will was forged, Mrs. Crabbit believes that somehow she will be able to contact her Uncle to find evidence of such. Octavius resolves to find a way for him and George to attend the seance in order to learn more, and find a way to help the Crabbits one way or another. When murder occurs in the midst of a ghostly appearance, followed by more murders that seem to tie everything to Mrs. Crabbit's Uncle and his Estate, Octavius is more determined than ever to get to the bottom of what is going on. A former street thief, the young Octavius is wise beyond his years to the ways of the world, as he takes care of his younger brother Julius, and uses his wits, as well as all the resources he has, to find ways around the obstacles that present themselves throughout the investigation. I really enjoyed the interaction between him and George, and getting to know George better, and I love that Bertha has become a regular character in the books. Not only is she Gooseberry's best friend, but provides a wonderful mother figure for his family of outcasts and street folk, showing that kindness and caring can come in the most unexpected ways.

Michael Gallagher's research into 19th-century Spiritualism, and the fascination that many in the Victorian era had for attending seances and fortune telling, is meticulous as always. I enjoyed the notes at the end of the book about some of his real life sources. He weaves many of the details of real life Spiritualists into the story in such a way that the reader truly feels what those who attended such sessions must have felt...the awe, the fear, the fascination at witnessing disembodied heads that glowed with an eerie light, expelling a strange substance explained as "ectoplasm" from which ghostly manifestations could form (or so they said). In a darkened room, those attending would be told to hold hands and not let go, no matter what they saw or heard, for doing so could put the Medium's life in danger, heightening the suspense and anticipation. Even Octavius, with his very clever and rational mind searching for answers on how such things could be happening, shivers with fear when cold ghostly fingers brush the back of his neck, and loud raps signal ghostly answers to questions asked by those in attendance.

I have always found the Victorian obsession with Spiritualism fascinating...both the Spiritualists themselves (and the amazing lengths they would go to in order to convince their audience of the presence of the supernatural), and also those who worked hard to debunk them, and show them for the frauds they were. Octavius is like a young mixture of Sherlock Holmes and Houdini in the way his mind works overtime, sifting through all that he sees, hears, and feels to try to find a rational explanation that he knows must be there. He's a pleasure to read about, and his world is filled with such detail that it's easy to imagine it all in your head. Heartwarming and humorous, with lots of suspense, it kept me guessing right through to the end. 🙂


Suzy Schettler, Goodreads Reviewer

January 05, 2017

Octavius is at it again! With a less than enthusiastic assistant of George at his side, my favorite Victorian boy investigator sets off to solve a new mystery. Discovering what is behind Mr. Crabbit’s distraction leads them straight to a murder.

Words cannot describe just how much I enjoy Octavius. He is confident (perhaps too much so) and he is not about to let anything slow him down. I think my favorite part is the interaction between him and George. His friend has his own life and isn’t in a hurry to let Octavius charge in and take over.

The mystery is paced extremely well and kept me guessing to the end.

If you’ve read any of Octavius’ adventures before, or just enjoy a clever Victorian tale, this is definitely the series for you.

December 29, 2016

Octavius Guy, aka Octopus or Gooseberry, is a 15-year-old errand boy working in a 19thC London law firm. Formerly a street urchin and pickpocket he is both exceptionally bright and rather cocky, having taken it upon himself to train an older boy in the art of detection at which he considers himself expert. In his third case, Octavius and his “apprentice” George investigate a medium with whom their office manager’s wife has become obsessed. Through the several deaths that follow the two young men unravel not only the medium’s techniques but also the motive, method, and opportunity behind an inheritance fraud. This is an excellent period piece that incorporates consideration of ethnic and gender bias as well as the consequences of the characters’ good-hearted or flawed natures.


amac121212, LibraryThing Early Reviewer

December 21, 2016

The author (very nice person, I've e-mailed with him), was so kind as to send me this book through LibraryThing.

I liked it as much as the previous one in the series, a nice Victorian mystery with the main character Octavius/Gooseberry evolving little by little into adulthood, to become a good young man and investigator, I should think. And all the other characters accompany very well.

The case of the medium itself made me think of Houdini, a few decades later, when he, a great illusionist, exposed all the tricks of a lot of fraudulent mediums, and his controversy with Doyle, more of a believer in spiritualism (and fairies, but that's another story). And yes, she is mendacious. Or not always?

Quite well documented (I learnt several interesting things). And a few very nice illustrations/drawings of buildings and landscapes, to top it all. Very enjoyable for me, as a lover of the Victorian Era. Five stars.


Mrs. Hudson, LibraryThing Reviewer

December 15, 2016

I received an early review e-copy of this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review. There is a murder during the séance that Octavius and George are attending as they follow the activities of Mrs. Crabbit. Octavius is the chief investigator and George is his assistant but at times Octavius seems to think George is getting a little too big for his britches and there seems to be something strange going on with George. This is a wonderful Dickensian era murder mystery. The ragtag bunch of friends that Octavius has add a great deal to the story and as always are enjoyable especially Bertha and the time spent at the improved Bucket of Blood. This book is the third book in the series but can also be read as a standalone. As always Michael Gallagher is an excellent storyteller and writes a great murder mystery set in Victorian times with a few funny and unexpected twists. This is a keeper and well worth the read.


I ADAM, LibraryThing Early Reviewer

December 09, 2016

A lively, well written mystery set in Dickens' and Wilkie Collins' London. Filled with period details and with a mystery within a mystery, this is a fun quick read with quirky characters. The story is told from the point of view of Octavius Guy (alias Gooseberry and Octopus), a 15-year-old detective with an Artful Dodger-style past who is convinced of his own powers of deduction. With the assistance of his not-so-faithful sidekick/apprentice, George Crump, he sets out to solve one mystery and swiftly finds himself faced with another mystery and then another. How he solves them all is a joy to read. I am now looking for the first two books in the series because Octavius Guy is a detective definitely worth following!


flusteredduck, LibraryThing Early Reviewer

December 02, 2016

Another fascinating and enticing 5 star read from Michael Gallagher featuring Octavius Guy. When I read a book by Michael Gallagher I am transported back in time to a Dickensian era. The language is perfect for an intriguing murder mystery.

Octavius may not be smarter than the average fifteen year old but he most definitely is more observant and gives far more thought to what he observes. Being a chief investigator, he feels it is time he takes on an apprentice. George shows promise. At times, more promise than Gooseberry appreciates.

This tale will appeal to any Sherlock Holmes fans or Houdini fans. The main event centers around a Spiritualist and two people who may or may not want her to speak to the dead. Someone does not want to take a chance that a voice from beyond will ruin their living future.

Favorite supporting characters from previous books make their presence known as well. We get to spend time at the improved Bucket of Blood with Bertha and her boys.

This book does well as a stand alone but I know you will enjoy every book in this series. Bonuses at the end are amazing!


Laura Reading (Laura in Wisconsin), Goodreads Reviewer


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