The Mystery of the Haunted Cottage by Derek Landy reviewed

Myster of the Haunted Cottage + Doctor and MarthaOctober 23rd, one month to go and like clockwork up pop (on the kindle) the Derek Landy Puffin story The Mystery of the Haunted Cottage. As the picture (from the Derek Landy blog) shows this is a Tenth Doctor and Martha story. Familiar as the author of the Skulduggery Pleasant books I wondered how this would pan out with the use of Martha.

The Story

As we already knew from Amazon the set-up is straightforward:

When the TARDIS lands on a planet that looks identical to Earth, the Tenth Doctor and Martha are amazed to find it packed with fictional characters from her childhood. But who has the power to create an entire world out of books and why? The Doctor and Martha must solve the mystery before their story ends!

The story starts with the TARDIS landing somewhere that shouldn’t exist and on leaving the ship the Doctor and Martha find themselves in a setting very familiar to readers (such as Martha) of a children’s series called The Troubleshooters which is explained as a rubbish rip-off of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven.

The story takes plenty of time to enjoy the fun of de-constructing the Blyton stories and slowly working out that something deeper is happening than merely inhabiting a children’s tale. The pace picks up as we discover what is happening and the stories start coming thick and fast with a mix of Harry Potter, Rapunzel and others all coming to the fore. These are all coming from Martha’s mind and the immediate resolution is to get her to the TARDIS. This then leaves the Doctor’s mind as the source of imagery but this turns out to be part of the solution.

All ends well with the storybook world consigned to distant memory.

The Storytelling

I enjoyed the use of Martha and some use was made of her medical knowledge. The Doctor was somewhat one-dimensional and over-obsessed with his own intelligence. The Enid Blyton world was a hoot and some quibbles aside I enjoyed this straightforward tale.

Final Thoughts

Another decent story and one that avoids playing with canon. Ten down, one more to go!

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