Sunday, January 17, 2016

Interview with Felix the Fox

Hello, kind readers. Today we will be interviewing Felix the Fox. Felix comes to us from the far off magical city of Egretia. Felix is an interesting character, with quite an extraordinary career. His specialist services have saved the lives and property of many of his clients.

Tell me, Felix, how did you get your nickname?

My name, just like my father’s, is Spurius Vulpius – but nobody uses it these days. I got the nickname Felix [ed: “lucky”] as a child, but as I grow older I’m less sure it means I’m Fortuna’s favourite. More like her favourite butt for practical jokes.

‘Fox’ is, of course, a reference to what I do for a living. It’s much nicer that ‘ferret’, which is almost what I got stuck with.

What do you do for a living?

I studied to be an incantator, a wizard. I got booted out of college, however, and never completed my studies. I worked a while for the firm of Gordius et Falconius, where I learned the art of investigation.

Now I work for myself as a fox – a sniffer of troubles, and resolver of predicaments. The kind of messes where there’s often a corpse involved.

Could you tell us about your latest case?

I can’t, I’ve been paid to keep my mouth shut…

But I’ll let you know that I’ve been doing anything from sanitation issues to lost magical rings. I’ve recently helped a young noblewoman whose husbands kept dying within a week of consummating their marriage. She’s now happily married to number four, who seems to be doing just fine.

My current assignment is for one of our city’s great landowners, a tycoon of apartment housings. He contracted me to find out why he can’t get any tenants any more.

Could you tell us how you got that interesting dagger? It’s very much not a standard-issue weapon

You’re right, it’s not a standard legionary weapon. I found it on campaign. After winning the siege of the last Tigumani fortress, we were ordered to plunder and raze the city. Seeing what my fellow legionaries did… Well, that’s another story. But there was a young woman there, a girl really. She was frightened out of her wits, hiding under a table and clutching the dagger. My colleagues were busy looting and raping, but there was just something about her eyes that made me pause. So I told her to hide, that I will take her away later. The selling of slaves from conquest is the prerogative of the consul, but I thought I might be able to sneak her as my personal property.

When I got back later, I discovered that someone found her, raped her, and beat her to death. Well, I found the mentula who did it – he held on to her knife – and dealt with him. I quit the legions and made my way home before they could find his castrated body and blame it on me. It was only on that long trek back home that I found out about the hidden compartment and the other interesting properties that dagger has.

What are the best and worst parts of your job?

The best is seeing the gratitude in my clients’ eyes – right before they add a fat bonus to my purse.

The worst is undoubtedly the sewers. I’ve seen corpses in various stages of decomposition. I’ve been stabbed, kidnapped, tortured. I’ve seen the effects of bad magia on people, make them go demented or worse. I’ve even been chased about by fifty shades of the dead once.

Yet somehow, invariably, without meaning too, I end up in the sewers under our great city. And they stink! I don’t care how much water is flushed through them, or how many slave gangs are employed to clear them out occasionally, our sewers are a menace. I make regular donations and sacrifices for Cloacina to keep me safe in her domain, but still it takes such an effort to get the smell off me. And any clothes and sandals I wear are guaranteed to make even beggars turn away. Like I said – Fortuna’s butt for a joke.

Is there anyone special in your life?

There was, a long time ago…

There isn’t one now, and it’s unlikely to change. Finding the dismembered body of your beloved, bloated from water and rotting away will do that to you. No, there isn’t and won’t be anyone. I prefer to keep those kinds of relationships with paid professionals.

What’s your favourite colour, animal, and drink?

My favourite colour is silver – that means I just got paid. And red – means I just spent the silver on some wine.

My favourite animal, like that of many of our people, is the squid. Totally versatile, from making ink to squid-on-a-stick street snacks.

My favourite drink is mulsum. When I can afford it I’m partial to mixing it from Verguvian wine and Kebric honey. Sadly I can’t afford the good stuff all too often, and end up making it with vinegary wine and third-rate honey. The spices I never skimp on though.

Felix the Fox is the main character in Murder in-absentia by Assaph Mehr. You can read more of Felix’s adventures on

About Felix:

Felix grew up on the less fashionable side of Egretia, but still far enough from the slums that he didn't smell like boiled cabbage. He was the first of his family to make it into the Collegium Incantatorum (wizarding college), but was unfortunately booted out when he could no longer pay tuition fees. Several misadventures later (and even though nobody believed him, he did actually visit Rome), he became a paranormal private investigator. Normally dealing with the dregs of society and their unfortunate businesses, Murder in-absentia is his first brush with necromancers.

About the author, Assaph Mehr:

Assaph had his nose in a book since he was five and told he can't run around outside any more. He loved history and ancient Rome since he first came across Asterix, and has been reading Fantasy and Historical Fiction for years. When he decided to write, he ended up mashing all his favourite genres - and named the protagonist after his cat. (It was late at night and, besides, it's a good name). He lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife, four kids and two cats.

You can find Assaph on his blog where he posts short stories and trivia, and Felix on the pages on Murder in-absentia.

Assaph also runs regular interviews like this on, where fellow authors seem to have a lot of fun revealing their characters' dirtiest secrets.

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