• Member Since 20th Jun, 2014
  • offline last seen 35 minutes ago


Just an adventure/mystery fanfiction-writing brony from the state of Vermont who hopes that you enjoy his work.



This story is a sequel to Time Flies

Twilight and her friends bring Phillip Finder to Canterlot to celebrate the Blue Moon Festival. To Twilight's surprise, Flash Sentry is also in town, having recently been transferred to the City Guard as an Investigator.

But the festivities are marred by a series of mysterious burglaries and the suspicious death of a train conductor. Phillip and Flash investigate, and soon uncover a plot to destroy Canterlot, which they may be too late to stop...

Constructive criticism appreciated more than ratings.

If you're going to just downvote the story because you don't like it without giving some criticism, then don't bother.

The Phillip Finder series
The Pony in the Gray Trilby
The Everfree Forest Affair
Time Flies
The Blue Moon Brings Death
Letters to a Candymare
The Face in the Darkness
Secret of the Mare Lisa
The Sun Falls
Behind Locked Doors
Siege of Clovenworth
The Silent Fugitive
Curse of the Taverneigh Blue
Mystery on the Mareish Moors
The Grilled Cheese and the Muletese Falcon
Trifle Not With Monsters
The Fillydelphia Solution
The Sydneigh Ritual

Chapters (7)
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Comments ( 51 )

This was amazing. Your style of stories is very good and Philip is a great character. Hope to see more stories like these.

Time for constructive criticism. (hey, you asked) Now, be warned, I didn't read the previous stories in this series (just skimmed a little of another), so I could be missing out on some important context. Still, I feel that if someone makes a new story rather than a new chapter of an existing story, it should be a decent jumping on point; maybe not a perfect one, but a story you can enjoy in its own right. Kind of like how if I pick up the seventh book of The Dresden Files I'd be a bit confused but could figure things out, but if I started reading midway through the seventh book I'd be confused as all heck.

I find Philip Finder to be a problematic character. First, and on a minor note, his name sticks out as odd; one would expect it to be something like Clue Finder by the name standards of MLP. But more importantly, the character just sets off "Mary Sue" alarm bells. Everyone (the main characters most notably) likes him, he's shown to be a genius in solving things (while that whole bit with the "inconsequential cases" was kind of funny, it also really stretched plausibility), and the story basically revolves around him.

To be fair, I'm not really sure "Mary Sue" is necessarily the right term, because despite having traits of one, I don't feel like his purpose is to just show up the main characters like a general Mary Sue does. Sure, he has the "genius detective" traits, but he's not really any worse than someone like Sherlock Holmes. No, I think the problem is it kind of feels like it simultaneously wants to involve the main characters but also wants to be primarily focused on characters other than the main characters, and it results in the story feeling kind of awkward.

The story feels like it would be better "away" from the main characters. I'm thinking of something like the Mission: Implausible series. In that series, Vinyl and Octavia really didn't interact with the main characters (certainly not the Mane 6) at all; their interactions were mostly with various OCs with the occasional canon background character around. Because, really, when you get down to it, the Mane 6 really don't need to be here. Maybe Twilight, but even she could probably be cut with some rewriting.

So... that's what I would say is probably the biggest issue I have with the story. The fact it's insisting on bringing in the Mane 6 despite them not really having a purpose other than to cheer on the main character (an OC) creates a warping effect that makes Philip feel problematically like a Mary Sue. I don't know if this was as big of an issue in the other stories, but my overall impression is that it should be taking place "away" from the main characters of the show.

In terms of the story in general, it was okay, if a bit rushed. It kind of felt like the mystery angle didn't really have enough time to develop itself properly due to everything going so fast.

Not sure if I explained any of that well. So... the story's not bad. It has some problems, but it's still decent. Still has some wrinkles to iron out, though. I actually did rather like Flash Sentry's portrayal.

5321383 I appreciate the criticism, and looking back, you're right: the Mane six really didn't need to be there at all, although Twilight was definitely necessary.

And yes, I do acknowledge that maybe Phillip as a few Mary Sue traits, but I put work into him and I like him the way he is.

About the thing with the story revolving around him: well, it's kind of supposed to. See, this is his series. It's about him, not just solving cases, but also learning about friendship from the others.

And his name: okay, it is a little odd, but I choose Phillip as a nod to Phillip Marlowe, and to give his name an alliteration. Besides, it's too late to change it now.

While I understood from the start that not everyone was going to like my character, I have a lot of plans for him, I like him as he is, and I'm going to keep writing, no matter what anyone says.

But I do appreciate the criticism. Any ideas on how I can make Phil less of a Mary Sue?


Well, the problem isn't that he's the focus of the story. Of course he's the focus; he's the main character. Nothing wrong with an OC being a main character in a fan fiction.

But it gets troublesome when they're the focus when presented side-by-side with the actual main characters. That's where the problems begin, as it can easily come across as the OC "stealing the show" from them so to put it. That's why I speculated it might have been a better choice to have a mostly OC side cast, as it fixes that problem. I brought up Mission: Implausible as an example of a series that was able to have lots of OCs but still work as a My Little Pony fanfic... although admittedly that might not be the best example because the stars, Vinyl and Octavia, are both canon characters (albeit so undeveloped in the show itself they could almost be considered OCs). Of course, with the series already entrenched in its location, it might not exactly be feasible for you to make such a dramatic shift.

Oh, and I'm not telling you to stop writing. Was just trying to give some random thoughts.

5323726 I understand, and appreciate the advice. I hope you don't think that I was offended; I wasn't, but I realize that I may have come off as sounding like I was. I was just making my position clear.

That dance at the end, wish someone could make a pony animation of that.

Fun series. And no, don't worry, I don't think Philip is Mary sue, more of a compound character clearly inspired by some classic fictional detectives. really sometimes a writer can just use the 'universe' of mlp and concentrate on a diffrent character to take the story in diffrent directions.

5545389 Thank you for the kind comment.

Oh dear, Everything that was stolen can be used to build a timed explosive with fragmentation capabilities...

7301772 Perceptive. I didn't think a lot of people would get that.


I'm no stranger to crime stories, my friend.

Hello, Flash Sentry! It's great to see someone using him as a well-rounded character instead of a punching bag.

You know, when I finished your first story, I told my sister it was about "a Gary Stu being a Gary Stu." That improved in the very next book, however. I think because Philip Finder stopped doing everything single-hoofedly. Also because the Mane 6 started doing something besides hanging around in the background gawking at how awesome Philip is.

The addition of Flash Sentry excited me for this reason. One of the best ways to offset somepony's Gary Stu traits is to give him a companion that compliments and occasionally outdoes him. The different ways Flash Sentry and Philip Finder approach problems will hopefully highlight their differences. I already saw some of that in the adorable tunnel scene.

There's one major problem that bugs me. The identity of the villain was both too predictable and came out of nowhere. On the one hoof, you only really gave us one suspect, so the reveal wasn't a surprise. His name didn't help either. On the other hoof, most ponies don't wake up one morning and decide to commit robbery, blow up dams, and loot cities. Conversely, I find it hard to believe that somepony with that attitude would make it into the guard.

I suddenly wondered if you have any female villains. We can be cold and heartless too, sometimes. :raritywink:

7416829 Well, I'm glad you decided to give my series a chance after the stumbling block that was my first, lousy story.

I've always had a soft spot for Flash, and I wanted to give him a chance in my series. In the Phillipverse, he eventually grows to become quite important to Phillip and the cast.

Unfortunately, my mystery writing skills aren't as great as I'd like them to be, especially at this point. I try to emulate Conan Doyle's style at time, but I fail more often than I succeed.

And Blast Cap does have a reason for attempting the bombing. You just have to keep reading the series to find out what it is.

Getting female villains was something that I didn't get around to for a while, but I did add a few mares to the rogues gallery in later stories.

Thanks for braving through my terrible mystery series! I hope you enjoy the rest of them!

7416829 You know, once I got over the initial sting of you calling Phil a Gary-Stu, I actually found it a little funny and flattering.

I like to think of The Pony in the Gray Trilby as the equivalent of the first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet. If that had been submitted as a fanfiction today, I have little doubt that Holmes himself would have been accused of being a Gary Stu, since he has a lot of the traits.

So I'm actually choosing to take it as a compliment that even though you seemed to dislike it, you stuck with the series, and that you found that it improved afterwards.

7417073 Okay, so there is another reason for the bombing. In that case, it doesn't really matter if Blast Cap's motivation is weak. Of course, in the short term, you run the risk of reader thinking you're a bad writer, even though you're a good writer building up to a surprise climax.
Personally, I'd recommend adding a bit of dialogue to hint at where you're going. Something like:

Flash Sentry: I don't understand. This seems so out of character for him. Why would he do something like this all of a sudden?

Philip Finder: I don't know... but I'm going to find out!

Sequal hook! Drop curtain!

Like that.

7418195 Taking your advice, I added a little bit to the end of Part 6 that served the purpose of giving a possible sequel hook.

7420975 Ooh, creepy and mysterious. Nice!

Huh, what happened to Phillip? Last story he was much more open and stuff to the Mane 6. I get he didn't want to come, but... why did he go back to his old self?

7463774 He was just in a bad mood, I guess. Canterlot isn't one of his favorite places in the world, and he didn't really want to come.

I have to admit, the first chapters of this story weren't as amusing as that of the previous one. However, it fixed its reputation with the 'chase' and the finale. I'm looking forward to learn more about that villain.

7885921 You won't have to wait for very long. It's interesting that you brought up that, because this probably marks the transition into more serious stories for the series. I'm glad that you enjoyed!

"Yeah, that's extraordinary, incredible, astonishing, and a whole bunch of other things that I can't think of right now," Flash replied.

"That's not what Guards usually say," Phillip said."

"What do Guards usually say?" Flash asked.

"The kindest I've ever gotten was 'Piss off,'" Phillip shrugged.

I get this reference! Also, interesting beginning. Can't really say anymore on this, but I am very interested in Phil's past in the guard as a investigator, which I assume is like the Royal Guard's version Internal Affairs.

"Is that the latest Agatha Canter mystery?" Twilight asked, noticing the author's name emblazoned on the cover of the novel. "Oh, I love her! I haven't read the newest one, but—"

"Wife did it," Phillip grunted, closing the book and setting it aside. "He was sleeping with her sister."

"I didn't hear that! I didn't hear that!" Twilight wailed as if in agony, clutching her ears. Her cry elicited a chorus of "Shhh!" from the other patrons. She lowered herself back down, grinning sheepishly in apology.

Really Phil? Spoiling the ending? (Shakes head)

7463851 Can't say I blame him, what with all the snobs and the like. Only nice ponies in Canterlot are probably Fancy Pants, the Princesses and Flash.

7301807 Terrorist attack? Guess I'll have to wait and see... I'm on the edge of my seat now!

So many Sherlock refs my head nearly exploded. And that Blast Cap, reminds me of Sergeant Sally Donovan, the bitch. I'm so hoping Blast Cap gets it or is the villain here.

Oh, I think I know where this is going if my remembrance of the Empty Hearse (The episode, not the book) is correct...

Knew Blast Cap had to be the villain. It was obvious right from when we met him, given the amount of focus on him. And so this is where the Flashlight shipping begins...:yay: All in all, another great story from you Josiah!

*says like Flashlight ship*
*instantly two people downvote the comment*
Just for the Flashlight ship?

You'd think it would be easy for Twilight to get Philip a VIP pass.

Also, this chapter made me realise why I dislike "sherlock scan". It makes a character look smart by having them notice clues that the audience cannot. That's acceptable as a character trait, as it is for Philip, but for the actual mystery I much prefer Christie's approach: the clues that the audience could see, but they're cunningly hidden within the narrative.

This of course is way more difficult to write.

Hmm, that's an interesting way to look at it.

So Twilight still needs to supress the instinct to bow to Celestia, but is on first name basis with Luna?

"Wife did it," Phillip grunted, closing the book and setting it aside. "He was sleeping with her sister."

In all the Christie books I've read, I only ever managed to solve half a mystery before the reveal. (I figured out the culprit based on a story they told, that seemed like a red herring, but really served to fill in their own alibi. But I didn't figure out there were two of them, and their connection was the reason for the murder.)

The moment fertiliser showed up, I knew what was up. But why... and why not just buy the stuff?

I see you've extended the show's tendency to allow things like blushing despite ponies having fur, to things like bruising. I think I've done the same on occassion.

Also, hypothesis at this point: there were two ponies involved - one who planned the murder, and faking suicide, and a stupid henchman who ruined the ruse by getting greedy with the watch.

957636 This was not one of my better thought-out stories.

The clock was a separate, self-contained device before it was made into a bomb. Why would cutting the wire stop it? :trixieshiftright:

Again, not my best story.

Most of these are not my best stories.

And after this story, I think I'll read Zungwang's lines in Bane's voice.

I wonder how Blast Cap ended up at his position. A corrupt cop, and a reckless robber with penchant for explosives are normally two different kinds of villain.

So, once again this is connected to the larger plot. Onto the next one then :rainbowdetermined2:

Hey, my first (thankfully never published) attempt at a story here involved a group of WH40000 space marines brought through a teleport mishap into the middle of Season 2 starter, trying to adapt to the new weird reality while gathering the Elements of Harmony to defeat Discord. Don't lecture me about bad fics. :duck:

Also, all the mistakes you made in your earlier works were a learning experience that brough you to your later works. :ajsmug:

Well, I guess that's true.

Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for the friends I earned through the first stories, and what I learned from them, and honestly, I'm kind of glad that you like them. I just want you to understand why I'll seem dismissive or cynical about them.

Saw your notice about people downvoting your stories without any criticism as to say why, I'm giving you an upvote just for that because even though I am not a writer myself it bugs me to know that people do stuff like that just because.

I agree, I realize he wasn't terribly keen on coming to Canterlot in the first place and wasn't in the best of moods for it. But that's no excuse for being a complete jerk.

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