cover image A Deadly Injustice: 
A Nick Zuliani Mystery

A Deadly Injustice: A Nick Zuliani Mystery

Ian Morson. Severn, $28.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8062-8

Set in Cathay in 1268, Morson’s second Nick Zuliani mystery offers a stronger plot than its predecessor, City of the Dead (2008). Zuliani, a Venetian who’s become “official Investigator of Crimes” to Kubilai Khan, receives orders from his immediate boss, Lin Chu-Tsai, clerk to the minister of justice of the Mongol empire, to travel from Xanadu to the remote town of Pianfu to resolve questions concerning a poisoning case. After old Geng Biao dropped dead after eating some soup, his prospective daughter-in-law, 20-year-old Jianxu, was arrested and tortured to extract a confession. Suspicious of the validity of Jianxu’s admission, Zuliani looks to the victim’s financial dealings to identify others with motives to kill. Morson undermines the drama of the climax with some red flags pointing to the likely guilty party, but his hero, who runs scams on fellow residents of Xanadu, has enough character depth to sustain interest. (Nov.)