Author: Nancy Brown
Word Count: 5,470
Author's Summary: A mysterious device affects the lives of the Doctor and his friends.
Characters/Pairings: Amy Pond, Canton Everett Delaware III, Jenny Flint, Madame Vastra, Rory Williams, Strax, The Doctor (11th)
Warnings: None, apart from some references to Victorian-era murders
Recced because: Well, full disclosure, this was written in response to one of my prompts in the EleventyFest ficathon, way back in 2013. When I gave the prompt, though, I don't think I was expecting it to elicit anything as seriously good as this bit of prime Eleven-era fic. This is the fic I was going to rec last time around before being distracted, magpie-like, by another story by the same author, but this time I'm making very sure indeed to put this one front and centre.
The story follows the trail of a strange, and possibly deadly, presumably alien device across three time periods, and with three groups of investigators. In the Victorian era, Madame Vastra, her wife Jenny and the inimitable Strax are called in by Scotland Yard to consult in a case of multiple murders. Meanwhile in the late 1960s, G-Man Canton Everett Delaware III looks into a slew of missing persons against the backdrop of the countercultural anti-war movement and the Nixon administration. And finally in futuristic Scotland, the Doctor and the Ponds are drawn to a museum of extraterrestrial curiosities. The skill with which the author weaves these various strands together to tell a single story, using time travel pleasingly to tie the plot together, is only one of the several great things about this piece.
I especially enjoy the way the different eras each have their own distinctive style, from the Sherlockian stylings of Vastra and Jenny's nineteenth century adventures to the hardboiled inner monologue that drives Canton's sections (and I don't think you have to find him as cool a character as I do to really dig those parts). As with those of this author's other works that I have read, it is the characterisation and the voices that I find most compelling about this. Canton's private-eye-esque patter aside, the Doctor-Amy-Rory team TARDIS (one of my favourite of all time) really shine here, and even Strax gets one excellent, and very Strax-like, exchange.
I urge you - don't walk, (metaphorically) run over to the Teaspoon and read this one, and please be sure to tell the author how much you liked it.
Amy rolled once to arrive at his side. She squeezed his arm. "Sounds like fun. Far futures, empresses."
"Lobsters?" Rory asked, worried.
"No lobsters," the Doctor promised him.
"As you know, giant space crabs do not count as lobsters."