• Member Since 14th Jan, 2017
  • offline last seen Aug 13th, 2017

Foxmane Vulpequus

Cogito, ergo Wittgenstein.


Madeleine Crumpet: A world-trotting jeweler with an eye for gems… and pleasant company. Of the stallion persuasion.

Rubyk of Trotheim: A cold noble of the forbidden Equestrian North.

What cause could bring these two unlikely figures together?

“My dear, you will not believe what happened to me on my last islands trip. I can scarcely believe it myself! But a girl doesn’t often get to help out in an affair like that. It was just like a Shadow Spade novel! Although that pony – Mister Rubyk – was about as far from the grand dame of mystery as you can get. I suppose it takes all sorts.”

"Oh, Mister Rubyk? Let me tell you dear, stallions don't come like him very often. There's just something about him – other than being the tallest in the room by a country mile. And when he smiles… brrr! Don't believe me? Well, then just let me tell you what he did when we found the body..."


[Update August 5, 2017: To address some of the legitimate reader concerns regarding the length of the several sections, in-line chapter headings within the story sections themselves have been added. A Google Docs version containing links to individual chapter headings is forthcoming. The author owes a sincere thanks to those who have reviewed this story to-date and hopes that this change will help to address some of the difficulties that he made for himself in posting this novel as he did.]

Chapters (4)
Comments ( 23 )

I haven't read all of chapter 1 yet, but I've got to say that I'm impressed with what I have read so far.

While personally I find it a bit difficult to read (but it makes for a great audio-book thanks the the text to speech feature), it really does capture the feeling of classic murder misery stories. The wording and style is, to my mind, a bit outdated, but that just adds to the overall theme. I haven't noticed a single spelling or grammar mistake either.

The OCs are interesting and each of them feels unique and not at all 2-dimensional, from what I've seen so far that is. And while the conflict and drama hasn't started as of the point which I am writing this, the descriptions of the locations have been both detailed and vivid.

It's just a shame that I don't think something as well written as this will get that many views, unless you really push it hard in groups. I wouldn't have spotted this if you hadn't put it in Authors Helping Authors. (There's no need to think of this as an official AHA review, but I can do one if you want. And of course, I wouldn't mind if you reviewed my story as per the group rules. :twilightsheepish: ) Perhaps if you had split up the chapters into smaller, more manageable chunks and released them over a period of time then you would have received more attention.

Still, I really like what I have seen so far, and I'm certainly interested in reading more when I have the time.


Dear Feather Book,

Thank you very much for your kind comment. I am certainly not averse to a bit of quid pro quo based on the AHA group rules. Please PM me the name of the story and I shall be happy to review whatever you like.

As to the length of the chapters: each of the "parts" I did not conceive of as a chapter, but rather perceived after the writing was complete as natural divisions of the story that impressed themselves on the reader. They are intended to be taken as a unit by design (in that ineffable way that characters and stories seem to design themselves). Whether or not I would have gotten more views by publishing as a serial, the internal logic would not allow it without disrupting each of the individual "movements". I had considered doing just that, in fact, but like most of what I wanted to do with the characters in this novel, the blessed thing just wouldn't let me!

Sincerely Yours,


An entertaining and absorbing homage to the Golden Age of British mysteries with a dash of Downton Abbey thrown in. Diamonds, dowagers, drunken ponies and mysterious poisons! Add a plucky heroine named Madeleine with an equally keen eye for a sapphire and a stallion, plus a noble and selfless unicorn who stops at nothing to seek justice. Like all the best ponies, this author has staying power. I forsee spending many happy hours in the world he's created.

sees word count

Well, holy crap.

I'll do my best to get to this eventually. I'm sure I'll like it!

Before I read this, what is the Gore tag for ?
And how bad does it get ?

Dear NicLove,

Would that I knew why the [Gore] tag was there! This story was deliberately written in a very circumspect way to avoid graphic depictions of violence, much like an Agatha Christie novel. But the staff insisted upon the tag before this story would be approved. I can answer that it is likely from one of two things:

1) The fact that this is a murder mystery per se; or

2) One scene with a fish in the second part - but this is culinary, not criminal.

Thank you very much for your interest. Please let me know if you have any other concerns.



Why did you make the chapters so long?

Noticed this when you added it to Mysteries. Those chapter lengths are a little intimidating — I'm going to have to set aside some specific blocks of lengthy reading time — and as a matter of audience engagement it might have been a little smarter to declare it finished but post it chunk by chunk (it gets a new shot at the front page every time a new chapter goes up, as long as it's been at least 24 hours since the last one).

That said, you definitely have my attention, even if I take a while to finagle it to the front of my queue.

Certainly intrigued by this so far! I'm a sucker for a good mystery, but what surprised me here was how engaging the slow build-up and character work has been, when we haven't even gotten to the murder yet. The gilded writing style (as others have noted) seems an acquired taste, but one I found myself easily acquiring as I turned the pages.

I do have to complain about a grammatical error that keeps hitting me in the face, though: your incorrect use of "an" before H words. Words starting with a consonant use "a".
While there is an exception for unsounded Hs, such as "honor" or "honest" (because the rule is about phonetic consonants rather than orthographic consonants), it's just silly to leave the consonant sound off of the beginning of "hoof"; and justifying "an healthy"/"an habit"/"an hint"/etc requires that the entire story be read in a Cockney accent thicker than Marmite.

(This is especially bewildering since you correctly follow the sounded/unsounded distinction in other circumstances: e.g. multiple instances of "a unicorn" due to its initial 'y' sound.)

Other than that nitpick, though, looking forward to seeing where this goes.

(a) horizon

What's interesting about this is that I'm thoroughly enjoying it, but not for the reasons I thought I would! The characters continue to be vibrant and intriguing, and peeling back the onion of the multi-layered cast is at least as much fun as piecing together the mystery clues.

If I had to take a guess at the culprit I'd say one of the Clavia. There's been a lot of foreshadowing with Papaya, but I think I believe the doctor when he says she couldn't have done it. On the other hoof, much has been made of their justice system and the cultural divide with the ponies; if one of them (or many of them, what with the Orient Express-like multiple attacks...) took out Calvados to protect her, or in vengeance for something done to her, they could very easily close ranks to sweep the whole thing under the rug. That would also explain Largo's aggressive dismissal of the case, if she knew something and had "her people" to protect. It feels like Pome knows more than he lets on, given how insistent he is on taking the fall, but he's just not acting like someone who actually did it, and while Mr. Orange has all the motive, I really doubt Largo would be going to such lengths to cover for him, not to mention the multiple attacks.

Hot damn this shifted into high gear. I'd almost call this a better thriller than a mystery! (Oh, sure, it's still quite clearly a mystery at its core; that's the skeleton around which all the meat wraps -- but what's keeping me turning the pages is a combination of the character work, which continues to be magnificent, and the growing tension as the investigation starts stumbling into unexpected dangers.)

Ahahahaha oh man Chapter 3 just turned Frei Frost Pane from a bombastic old windbag to best bombastic old windbag ever. I'm pretty sure that after that scene she's now my favorite character in the story. She's starting to steal every scene she's in, like Jeremy Irons in the old, lamented Dungeons & Dragons movie. (Except I absolutely do not mean to compare this to that trainwreck, because even without her I'd be staying fully engaged. My apologies for even bringing it up. You deserve so much better.)

Dammit Largo. Don't do this to me. You were supposed to be her friend! D:

I haven't actually read any "Golden Age" mysteries and so I can't tell you whether this is an honest reflection of their writing style, but "Golden Age" in the abstract really does feel like an appropriate descriptor here. There's a sort of archaic patina over everything, and very little of it is what I would have expected going in, but it's been consistently engaging. Hats off.

Out of the four parts of this mystery novel, this final one is the only one where I'd say it feels like the solving of the mystery is actually the outstanding element (character work in part 1, the rising tension in parts 2 and 3). That said, I am satisfied. I want to grumble a little that the twist felt a bit unfair, but with the benefit of hindsight everything does slot together neatly (except that Pome's iron insistence on taking the fall feeling oddly artificial; I'm just having trouble figuring out why he would have had any motive to actually obstruct the investigation to the extent that he did. If he knew what was going on, that's one thing, but the apparent fact that the actual circumstances of the murder were a mystery to him means that he can't be protecting anybody, and I'm not sure I buy the lampshading that owning his guilt was more important than the truth to the point of fighting Rubyk over it). The rollercoaster of the final chapters was a real ride, and that moment of karma at the end was oddly satisfying. The worldbuilding was fantastic throughout. There was definitely a great deal to enjoy here, and it really is cruel that this fell through the FIMFic cracks.

I don't know if you plan to publish anything else here (looks like you haven't been around for a month), but you've earned a follow. Also, have you considered submitting the story to Equestria Daily's fanfic features? Good mysteries are rare on the ground; they might be interested in giving this a signal boost.

Hello Foxmane, thankyou for the great time reading the unicorn and the crow. I must say i was enthralled with the idea and the execution. From the language, to the lore, to the heartfelt characters. A true mystery novel if i've ever read one.

Author Interviewer

End of part one and no body? You tease! Don't keep us waiting!

I have to say, I rather wish you'd started with chapter II here. The style is dense and takes getting used to, and I got a much better first impression of Madeleine (named for the pastry, I should think?) than I did Rubyk and his grandmother. Oh, but everyone in this story is a hoot!

Author Interviewer

Hah, I just needed some patience! Go figure!

I'm really loving Frost Pane, especially since she seems to like Madeleine a lot. :D

I am entirely with 8413158's analysis right now. What is Largo hiding? is the big question on my mind. :3 Of course, I'm also wondering what's with those letters at the ends of the acts...

Author Interviewer

Damn! I wasn't expecting things to turn courtly so quickly, but I have to say, you've got me well and truly hooked now!

By now I'm almost assuredly wrong, but the scene between Rubyk and Leaf had me wondering if Frost Pane hadn't done it...

Author Interviewer

That was tremendous. I hope this is only the start of what you're willing to share with us.

The story was abspiltely riveting, and the mustery kept me turning pages late into the night. The characterisation really carried it, and showing rather tha telling really makes it stand out. There's no clear 'exposition', it all flows naturally and condenses into a great thriller.

I suspected Jett when Largo said two others were expected, but the third was flying above. Not the actual reason, but definitely notable for me. However, the twists and turns really kept me second-guessong myself, and really encaptured the thrill of the hunt, mixed with cold logic.

Author, if you ever return to us — the Royal Canterlot Library gave you a spotlight in absentia (which got crossposted to FIMFiction as well). Drop us a line, and we'd be happy to retroactively add an interview in!

At any rate, this was definitely a story worth paying attention to, and I hope its initial reception didn't discourage you from further writing!

Is it just me or does anyone else get the feeling that Madame Largo's favorite color is pepto-bismal pink and loves collecting plates with kittens on them?

It's a real shame that the author who composed such beautiful prose and weaved such an intriguing tale spent merely half a year here on Fimfiction before they moved on, but at least they did leave us a story that we can enjoy and appreciate in its entirety, for this I'm most grateful. Wherever you are, I hope you're having success with your life pursuits.

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