01/11/2008. Contributed by Jill Roberts
pub: Pendragon Press. 136 page enlarged paperback. Price: £ 5.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-9554452-2-4.
check out websites: www.pendragonpress.co.uk and www.shadow-writer.co.uk
The book title 'Dalton Quayle Rides Out' is actually the name of the second of two stories in this book. The character of Dalton Quayle is a Sherlock Holmes derivative. The films of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce to be precise. As Quayle is fond of disguises while on a case and Dr Pemberton is a not very quick-witted, bumbling country doctor type. Both Quayle and Pemberton reside at 221 AA Butcher Street.
Unlike the books of Solar Pons, these stories don't just use Sherlock Holmes material for inspiration. They read like a book version of 'Scary Movie'. Not so much reading a story as spotting the media references. You will either love these stories or hate them. I found them very short and light weight.
In the first story, 'Dalton Quayle's Wet One', Dr Pemberton wins a ticket for a luxury cruise, leaving from Outmouth. He plans to take Quayle as his guest, but is persuaded to change his mind and take their housekeeper Mrs Hudsucker with him on the voyage. While Quayle stays behind in London to investigate the case he is on as in 'Hound Of The Baskervilles'. Later, Quayle secretly travels down to Outmouth to look round the town for himself.
The free ticket on a cruise was just a ruse to get rid of Quayle, so that the villains plan of World Domination would succeed. Obviously it doesn't as Quayle uncovers the conspiracy, wraps up the case and the three of them go back to London.
The second story, 'Dalton Quayle Rides Out' starts with Quayle having gone missing for a few weeks while on a case. Pemberton, who now has his own lodgings, comes back to Butcher Street to look through Quayle's papers for clues to his whereabouts.
Tracking Quayle to China Town, he goes in on his own, leaving Le Strange on the outskirts, to wait for his return as the inspector refuses to send any of him men in or to go in there with him.
We have a few jokes over the Chinese language, from the names of people to Dr Pemberton's attempts at conversation 'nice-ie day-ie' etc.
Pemberton finds a drugged Quayle and gets him to the outskirts of China town and into Le Strange's car and they head back to Butler Street for Quayle to rest up and recover. He then announces they are going to America and shows them the nugget of gold he has been clenching in his hand.
They need a change of clothes for America, so Quayle calls into a fancy dress hire shop, just off Festival Road. Once on American soil, they come across a Wagon Train with its leader Flinty, on its journey across the plains. Flinty agrees for the wagon train to take them as far as the nearest town of Gravestone. Once there, Quayle and Pemberton wander into the saloon to talk to the locals. Cue bar scene from Westworld. There also follows a few visual gags; Quayle asking for 'two red-eyes' so the bartender pokes a finger into both eyes and then of him going to the opposite end of the bar to them and sliding down two shot glasses of whiskey, which neither of them catch.
The sheriff in this town is called Cooper and it is now High Noon. So he takes their guns and puts them in jail. Where they find they are sharing a cell with The Man With No Name. They all break out of jail and ride off to the Forbidden Valley where Marshal Rooster Cogburn joins them. They get to the mine entrance and follow sounds of activity to find robots digging for gold.
The story finishes with Fe-Man-Ho and Fok-Yu vanquished his henchmen locked up in jail in Gravestone. The reward for Fe's capture shared out amongst the posse and Quayle and Pemberton travel back to the UK, case solved.
I found it all rather silly. The 'Allo, Allo' French/English accent in the first story was OK but the 'chip-shop' Chinese/English in the second story, plus the jokes about Chinese peoples names were stretched a bit to-o-o far for my liking. This is also the shorter of the two stories.
The plots of the stories were engaging but not particularly enjoyable, more a vehicle for weaving in all the different scenes from different TV shows and films. Unlike 'Scary Movie', these stories didn't just have a poke at recent blockbusters, they included scenes from much older films, TV shows and other books. Therefore most of the fascination was in how he managed to add in the different media references.
As already mentioned, the title of the book is actually the shorter and lesser, of two stories, both of which contain a mix of iconic scenes borrowed from other films, TV shows and books. I have not bothered to reference all the references, but you can probably spot a few, more obvious ones, in the above. As already mentioned it was interesting to read him weaving in the different references, but more to see what else popped up, rather than how the story progressed. It could have been filled out with more scene-setting description that was carried through, rather than just setting up the gag and moving on. Then it would have felt more of a story in its own right.
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