Detective Fox and the Christmas Caper (Lily G’s Review)

Title: Detective Fox and the Christmas Caper
Author: Isobel Starling
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: Nov 1st, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary, Comedy  
Page Count: 124
Reviewed by: Lily G. Blunt
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Every good Dick needs a sidekick…
Actor Tom Lewis’s world came crashing down when a honey trap and tabloid expose outed him and put pay to his flourishing career. The housewives favorite was most well-known for his role as ‘Detective Fox’ in the quaint British series ‘Malmesbury Murders’. But after the media speculation about his sexuality, the show is in hiatus and Tom hasn’t worked six months.

Now things are getting serious, money running out and Tom needs a job desperately. So when his agent offers him a seasonal acting job, he reluctantly agrees… and takes on the role of Santa for a top London department store.

This decision changes Tom’s luck. When Tom overhears two unidentified store workers discussing a “job to get a little Christmas bonus”. He realizes the ‘job’ is of the illegal sort. Now, Tom could call the police, but then again, wouldn’t it be great for his flagging career if Detective Fox saved the day?

So Fox is on the case, and as every good Dick needs a sidekick, Tom decides a sexy young elf named Eli Mason will fit the role, in more ways than one.

FYI. This is an M/M Romantic comedy with gay sexual content.

This romantic comedy is indeed a caper.

Dictionary definition of caper:

  • a playful skipping movement:
  • an illicit or ridiculous activity or escapade
  • a light-hearted, far-fetched film, especially about crime

The novella is a cross between a Christmas pantomime production and the BBC’s Midsomer Murders TV show, except there are no murders in this. But there is a TV detective, who is intent on solving a would-be crime in an attempt to deflect publicity away from his scandalous private life and hopefully help him retain his role for the next TV series. If you read the story with this in mind, you’ll enjoy the ride.

In real life if you overheard about a possible major scam most people would go straight to the police rather than trying to hunt down the suspects themselves. Yet the major part of the plot has Santa Tom and Eli Elf, also known as the Detective and his Sidekick, and a couple of their friends act as amateur sleuths to save the large department store from an internal heist.

The story takes place mostly in an imaginary department store that is a cross between the world famous Hamleys toy shop and Harrods. Plus there’s visits to London pubs and streets, so if you enjoy reading stories set in the city this will be a treat.

The blossoming romance as such is understated in this story. It’s obvious the two men are attracted and have feelings for each other, but have yet to voice their wish for an exclusive relationship. I wasn’t surprised that Isobel also manages to weave in Tease and Denial kink into her story and makes it fun. The image of Tom and Eli’s sex scene overlooking the Thames and adding more stars to the night sky was delightful.

I’ve said this before for other stories, but the author should make use of a professional editor/proofreader as numerous errors let down the quality of her finished story.  Missing words, misuse of apostrophes and punctuation in dialogue particularly need checking. Head-hopping often occurs within the same scene, and sometimes the same paragraph, without any obvious indication of a change in point of view.

Detective Fox and the Christmas Caper is the first story in the series, and although it ends happily for the duo, I’m hoping more tales will follow so we find out where Tom and Eli’s relationship goes as they solve future mysteries together. 

Overall, a quirky Christmas mystery. What happens is not entirely plausible, but it’s fun and just as it says in the title… a caper.

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Detective Fox and the Christmas Caper provided by the author in exchange of an honest review.


Lily G. Blunt writes contemporary gay romance. She loves to explore the relationship between two men and the intensity of their physical and emotional attraction. Angst often features in her stories as she feels this demonstrates the depth of the men's feelings for each other. Lily is forever writing imaginary scenes and plots in her head, but only a few ever make it to the page. There never seems to be enough hours in the day despite having left the teaching profession to concentrate on her writing! Lily discovered the wonderful world of m/m romance novels five years ago via fan fiction and went on to write stories in her spare time. With the encouragement of her friends and readers she decided to publish some of her work. Lily subsequently self-published several stories via Amazon and later published short stories with Torquere Press, Wayward Ink Publishing, and Pride Publishing.