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Literature / A Study In Moonlight

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A Study In Moonlight is a Slice of Life/Urban Fantasy/Mystery series strongly inspired by Sherlock Holmes. It takes place in the same universe as Destructive Harmonics and Helix but concerns different characters and different aspects of the world.

The main characters are Viviane Malifaux, a Bunny-Ears Lawyer consulting detective, and Marcella Argento, a relatively normal woman (apart from being half werewolf), who is the stories' major narrator as well as Viviane's best friend, professional associate, and occasional genius-sitter. Like the other stories in this universe, ASiM is set in the Pacific Northwest and contains Mundane Fantastic elements, specifically therianthropy.


A Study in Moonlight contains examples of:

  • Adorkable: Viviane's dad. One of the reasons her mom married him.
  • All Therapists Are Muggles: Defied. One of the reasons Marcella became an occupational therapist was so that there would be someone in the field who understood the issues facing werebeasts.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Zigzagged. Viviane does have an actual diagnosis (Asperger's Syndrome), but she's very private about it, and even people in the mental health field often don't know what to make of her. So to most of the people around her, she's "Weird Not Otherwise Specified." She was also misdiagnosed with sociopathy at one point.
    • Played straight with Kate Morrissey, who has some common autistic traits (social awkwardness, a tendency to fixate on certain topics, fidgety body language, being Not Good with People), but nobody ever suggests a diagnosis.
  • Animal Stereotypes: Werebeasts have to deal with them. Not so bad for werebears and selkies, but hard on wererats.
  • Big Beautiful Man: Ianto Evans.
  • Big Fancy House: Brackenwood Hall.
  • Bi the Way: Marcella.
  • Celibate Eccentric Genius: Viviane. She identifies as asexual, and normally describes herself as "not interested."
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  • Cursed with Awesome: Becoming a werewolf isn't a bad deal if you can handle it. The Involuntary Shapeshifting and canine-lupine quirks can be inconvenient, but you get Super Senses out of it, you become a bit physically sturdier and resistant to some human diseases, and if you weren't prone to domestic violence as a baseline human, you're not going to be eating your family members or anything.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Many carnivorous therianthropes have them in human form.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Werebeasts: Most therianthropes are fairly peaceable, or at least no worse than they'd be as baseline humans. (Admittedly, "no worse than regular people" covers quite a lot of moral territory.)
  • Gender Flip: Viviane of Sherlock Holmes, to an extent, and Ianto Evans to ACD-verse Irene Adler.
  • GPS Evidence: Viviane knows a lot about dirt. Marcella even gets into the act in Viv's absence in "Tamanous of the Brackenwoods."
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  • Mega Neko: Queenie is a mundane example, the largest domestic cat Marcella has ever seen.
    "Okay, whose bright idea was it to cross a Maine Coon with a lynx?"
  • Mundane Fantastic: Werebeasts are an exotic but well-known minority.
  • My Instincts Are Showing: Old Mr. Frankland, who is a wererat, loves gnawing on crunchy cookies.
  • The Nose Knows: Most therianthropes in human form have excellent senses of smell. Marcella uses it for detective purposes.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: Therianthropes have to obey the conservation of mass, which means that adult wererats are closer in size to capybaras, and most werebears are a bit small by ursine standards. They can only take mammalian forms - no wereswans. Some strains can be transmitted through body fluids (saliva-to-blood or blood transfusion), some are inherited, and inherited therianthropy is usually not contagious. It is possible for most therianthropes to control their shapechanging to an extent, but the change is hardest to resist during the full moon. Shapeshifting changes a werebeast's sensory and emotional reactions, but they retain a decent proportion of their memories and intellect and are very seldom mindlessly aggressive. There are also "mezzalunas," generally of werebeast and baseline-human ancestry, who are always in human form but have some therianthropic traits. A rarer variation are werebeasts whose physical default form is their animal form (although they can learn to shift into human form and possess human intelligence.)
  • Quirky Town: Mesopotamia, Washington.
  • Sherlock Homage: Viviane, blatantly so.
  • Slice of Life: The stories and snippets that aren't mysteries.
  • Speech-Centric Work: Very dialogue-heavy, particularly the "Early Years" sketches.
  • Spot of Tea
  • They Fight Crime!
  • Trans Equals Gay: Viviane's mother, in a moment of supreme cluelessness, asks why her Celibate Eccentric Genius trans girl kid can't just be a gay guy.
  • Werewolf Theme Naming: The Argentos. Argent = silver, and some of them have thematically appropriate first or middle names as well.
  • Whole Plot Reference: "Tamanous of the Brackenwoods" to "Hound of the Baskervilles."

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