MURDER BY MAGIC: Twenty Tales of Crime and the Supernatural

Rosemary Edghill, Editor . Warner Aspect $13.95 (345p) ISBN 978-0-446-67962-6

Although authors such as Randall Garrett in his acclaimed Lord Darcy series successfully melded whodunit plots with alternate universes where magic is real, few of the 20 supernatural mystery short stories in Edghill's all-original anthology rise above the mundane. Inspired contributions include Teresa Edgerton's "Captured in Silver," a nice ghostly locked-room murder tale, and Lillian Stewart Carl's "The Necromancer's Apprentice," which presents an interesting solution to the actual mystery surrounding the death of Amy Robsart, wife of Elizabeth I's favorite lord, balancing wizardry with astute deductions about the political motives of those who stood to benefit. The standout, James D. Macdonald's "A Tremble in the Air," introduces a psychic detective, Orville Nesbit, who's clearly heir to the tradition of such sleuths as Algernon Blackwood's John Silence and who deserves to live on in further tales. Unfortunately, most of the other stories rely on catchy gimmicks (e.g., a husband-and-wife sorcerer team based on Nick and Nora Charles in Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's "A Night at the Opera") rather than well-crafted puzzles. The jacket art—showing a white-bearded wizard gazing at a body outline on the flagstones of a foggy, gas-lit street—amusingly evokes the fantasy-crime blend. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/06/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
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