"Chicago, 1929. There are a thousand stories in the naked city; and when you're a dwarf at four-foot-one, they all look that much taller."The Billibub Baddings Mysteries
is an award-winning Fantastic Noir
by Tee Morris
, an Affectionate Parody
of Hardboiled Detective
stories, as well as many classic fantasy tropes.
The first book in the series, Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword
started out in 2007 as a Podiobook
with narration by Tee Morris and character voices by several other guest podcasters, but eventually came out in print form as well, published by Dragon Moon Press. In 2008, a sequel called The Case of the Pitcher's Pendant
was published by the same company, though at the time of writing it has yet to be released as a Podiobook.
Billibub Baddings, "Billi" among friends, is a dwarf
from the world of Acryonis, who, while saving the world, ends up getting sucked into the "Portal of Oblivion" and finding out that it doesn't lead to oblivion, but to Chicago
in the late 1920s
. Finding himself stuck in a world with no magic, elves or dragons, but with plenty of gang wars, corrupt police
and Al Capone
, he manages to get over the culture shock, learn the language and eventually establishes himself as a hardboiled Private Detective
. Aided by his Sexy Secretary
, Miranda, he tries to make his way in a world that in some ways is very different from his own and in other ways very similar...
- Affably Evil: Al Capone presents himself this way, but within the context of the story is probably more Faux Affably Evil.
- Berserk Button: Played with. Billi hates being called a "leprechaun" or "elf" or anything other than a dwarf, and often describes how close he is to flipping when someone uses those terms, but he can usually control himself.
- Bond One-Liner: Even while drugged and fighting for consciousness, Billi manages to deliver one to museum curator Samuel Hamill, when he is crushed by falling sarcophagi: "Figured you for a mummy's boy."
- Cross-Dressing Voices: Given that most of the female characters in the story are voiced by actual women in the podcast, it's very notable when Tee Morris himself provides the voice for Miranda.
- Deadpan Snarker: Billi is a master of this, especially in his narration.
- Elves VS Dwarves: Alluded to, though while Billi himself makes many sly digs at elves in his narration, he doesn't hate them (and certainly finds great joy in thinking back on beautiful Elven women).
- According to Billi, the rivalry between elves and dwarves started over a recipe for malt beer.
- Fiery Redhead: Billi.
- Gangsterland: It's the main setting.
- Heroes Want Redheads: In addition to being a Fiery Redhead himself, Billi openly admits his attraction to red-headed women.
- Historical-Domain Character: A few show up, or are alluded to — most notably Al Capone, but some lesser-known names also make appearances.
- Hold Your Hippogriffs: Billi, even after learning English, can't seem to kick the habit of using euphemisms and similes from his own world, leading to several instances of this.
- I Call Her "Vera": Billi names his first gun, a .45 automatic, "Beatrice."
- Lemony Narrator: The stories are narrated by Billi in first person, and he gets pretty creative with his similes from time to time.
- Officer O'Hara: Chief O'Malley, who is as true an example of the stereotype as you could imagine. Justified by the setting.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Played with, Lampshaded and ultimately averted as quite a few of the traditional stereotypes turn out not to fit dwarves from Acryonis at all.
- The Roaring Twenties: Takes place in the late 1920s.
- Sassy / Sexy Secretary: Miranda has both sass and sex appeal in spades.
- Standard Fantasy Setting: The world of Acryonis seems to have been this, though with a few parodic aspects.
- Supreme Chef: Mick, Polish immigrant and the owner of "Mick's Diner," has a reputation for making the best chili in Chicago. Billi certainly praises his cooking often enough in the story.
- Also, Al Capone, whom Billi is surprised to learn is the one who cooked the pasta dish he just described in near-lyrical tones.
- We Interrupt This Program: The "story so far" segments on the podcast takes the form of this, usually "interrupting" programs like "The Chicago Opera Hour" and similar.
- X Meets Y: In the author's own words, "The Lord of the Rings meets Mickey Spillane."