Murder and Magic is a collection of short stories by Randall Garrett featuring his alternate history detective Lord Darcy. First published in 1979, it has been reprinted many times since. The four stories here ("The Eyes Have It", "A Case of Identity", "The Muddle of the Woad", and "A Stretch of the Imagination") are set in an alternate world whose history diverged from our own during the reign of King Richard the Lionheart.
In a world where a magic-based technology has been developed in place of our own science, Lord Darcy combines his occult skills and brilliant deductions to bring criminals to the King's Justice.
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I wish I could be more positive
I love this series of books, and I would have liked to recommend them whole-heartedly, but on the strength of this first volume I would have to add a warning; the performance of the reader is not up to the standard of the writing.
It would be hard to find a comparison for this blend of alternate-world fantasy and Sherlock Holmes-style whodunnit. Written with wit and affection, the book creates a modern age in which the Plantagenets are still on the throne, a little less technologically sophisticated than we were in the equivalent decade but none the worse for that. I suppose the closest one might come would be some of the works of Diana Wynne Jones.
Oh dear. Where to begin? He seems to have no idea how to pitch and stress a sentence. His pacing is eccentric. He has no idea how to pronounce Anglo-French names; when he rendered "de Lisle" as "de Lizly" I gave up. I don't know if his performance improves on subsequent volumes, but I sincerely hope so. Based on this recording, I could do a better job.
I would have liked to, but in the end I could only take about ten minutes of it at a time.
I feel terrible about giving such a negative review, but I was so very disappointed at the quality of the reading. I can only hope that some day there will be another version of these books. In the meantime, if you can cope with the reader's idiosyncrasies, these are wonderful stories and the world the author creates is both sharply realised and warmly welcoming.
- Zander Nyrond
Logically sound cosy murder mysteries, with magic
- Chris Coates