Forgive me for missing posting a story last week. But I was starting a new job, and that took up a lot more time than I anticipated. Fortunately, now things are underway, and I have a three day weekend, so I'm going to make up for it with two stories this week. Not only that, but it's the first two stories from one of my most recent acquisitions, The Lost Tales of Oz, an anthology edited by Joe Bongiorno, with illustrations by Eric Shanower. I got it last month at OzCon International, and so I thought it would be fun to jump in and read the stories in it as soon as I could. This weekend was, finally, my first chance.
First up is a story setting up the premise of the book, "The Lost Histories" by Bongiorno. On a rainy day in the Emerald City, Betsy and Trot go searching for Dorothy in the Royal Library when they stumble across a section none of them have ever seen before marked "Lost Stories". It turns out that the library keeps expanding as more stories about Oz are "discovered" by the now numerous Royal Historians out there. The three girls decide to delve in and see what some of the stories say.
The first story they discover is "The Great and Terrible Oz Mystery" by Michael O. Riley. After a copy of Mary Louise Solves a Mystery makes its way around the Emerald City celebrities, a mania for mysteries ensues amongst some of the children, and the grown-ups play along by creating mysteries for them to solve. But when Jellia Jamb approaches Ojo and Tik-Tok about a possible real mystery to solve in the palace, it's not starting to look so fun. Jellia is seeing people that she had just seen somewhere else, and wonders what's going on. She suspects the Wizard, who she believes may have been more powerful when he was the ruler of Oz than he has let on. Her biases infect Ojo, who jumps to some unusual conclusions when he goes on a stakeout in the Wizard's room. With some help from Dr. Pipt, however, Ojo is able to discover what is going on, just as the mysterious figure (who is not, as it turns out, the Wizard, as if there was ever any doubt) is about to cause some possible terrible harm to the rulers and magic makers of Oz. Ojo is a hero, and all is explained. This was a fun way to start the book, and it's a very Ozzy way of dealing with a mystery. I think I twigged on to what was causing the problems before the characters in the story, but sometimes thats' half the fun of reading a mystery, isn't it?