REVIEW: Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab by Columbkill Noonan // two british detectives solving a case in the egyptian underworld

barnabustewTitle: Barnabas Tew and The Case Of The Missing Scarab

Author: Columbkill Noonan

Genre: Mystery, Steampunk, Fantasy

Format: eBook

Page Count: 274

Release Date: July 26, 2017


Barnabas Tew is a private detective struggling to survive in his trade in Victorian London. Fearing that he is not as clever as he had hoped to be, he is plagued by a lack of confidence brought on in no small part by his failure to prevent the untimely deaths of several of his clients. 

Matters only get worse when Anubis, the Egyptian God of the Dead, is referred to Barnabas by a former client (who perished in a terribly unfortunate incident which was almost certainly not Barnabas’ fault). Anubis sends for Barnabas (in a most uncivilized manner) and tells him that the scarab beetle in charge of rolling the sun across the sky every day has been kidnapped, and perhaps dismembered entirely. 

The Land of the Dead is in chaos, which will soon spill over into the Land of the Living if Barnabas – together with his trusty assistant, Wilfred – cannot set matters to right. Pulled from his predictable (if unremarkable) life in Marylebone, Barnabas must match his wits against the capricious and dangerous Egyptian gods in order to unravel the mystery of the missing beetle and thereby save the world. 



I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This in no way effects my overall rating of this book.

When I chose to read and review this book I was wary – but I’m happy that this book surprised me in the best way possible.

Our title character Barnabas Tew is a Private Detective living in Victorian England. He’s an aspiring Sherlock Holmes with Wilfred (forgot his last name) as his John Watson. He’s had a back track record of his past clients dying due to his mistakes. He acts smarter than he actually is, but his intentions are always the best.

Barnabas gets attacked and knocked out by a mummy. When he wakes up he’s in the Underworld. The Egyptian Underworld. As it turns out, one of his past clients recommended him to Anubis – the god of the afterlife – to solve a case for him.

This concept was so interesting and creative! I never would’ve thought of anything like this and I consider myself a creative person. I mean, British detectives in the Egyptian underworld?? BRILLIANT!

I loved how the author seamlessly incorporated loads of Egyptian gods that I was familiar and unfamiliar with. The way the author portrayed them was nice and they all had their own hidden agendas which made them even more interesting to read about.

I don’t pick up mystery books often but I found this one to be well-written. The author was able to sneakily put in clues that hint at what would happen at the end of the book. He also made just about everyone look like a suspect – like a good mystery story should have.

Although I loved the humor, writing, setting, and overall plot of this book there were a few technicalities that bothered me. For example, how Barnabas and Wilfred kept on getting hungry and tired – but they’re in the underworld so they’re dead. I found this strange. Maybe it’s unique to just Egyptian mythology that I didn’t know about, but it kind of bugged me. I kept on saying “You’re dead! You don’t need food or sleep or rest, just find the one that’s guilty!”

I liked but also got annoyed with Barnabas. He really isn’t all that smart – Wilfred, his assistant – is actually much smarter and observant than he is, which I found hilarious. He always saw himself as right – something I hate in a character – but considering he’s made out to be a detective similar to Sherlock Holmes I let it slide.

I was also able to guess the person guilty of the crime within the first hundred pages, but that was just me. I’m able to easily guess a lot of things so it wasn’t necessarily a downfall on the book’s part.


My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Overall this book was a very entertaining read. It was fun and adventurous and had a wonderful cast of characters that I found interesting to read about. The ending was fulfilling but open-ended so that you can easily decide whether you want to read the next book in the series or not.


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Do you like Egyptian mythology? Do you have any favorite books with Egyptian mythology?

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3 thoughts on “REVIEW: Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab by Columbkill Noonan // two british detectives solving a case in the egyptian underworld

  1. Pingback: February Monthly Wrap-Up // my twitter hiatus, university hunting & bettering myself | The Book Prophet

  2. Laura W

    This sounds really unique! I’m hoping to add more Egyptian mythology to my reading repertoire (I’ve only really read one series by Rick Riordan) and I’m thinking that this will fit the bill! I’m also very obsessed with anything British right now (I’m just finishing up Sherlock and it’s leaving a gaping hole in my life) so this is right up my alley. Lovely review!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebookprophet

      This was the only other book besides The Kane Chronicles by Riordon that I’ve read with Egyptian mythology. Ahhhh I felt so empty after finishing Sherlock! I think you’d enjoy it 🙂


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