cover image Shadow of the Alchemist: A Crispin Guest Medieval Noir

Shadow of the Alchemist: A Crispin Guest Medieval Noir

Jeri Westerson. Minotaur, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-00030-9

The legendary French alchemist Nicholas Flamel, a key player in Westerson’s solid sixth 14th-century historical (after 2012’s Blood Lance), has come to London to do some secret work. When the alchemist’s wife and apprentice go missing, he asks Crispin Guest (aka the Tracker) to investigate. One of the pair soon turns up dead, and the killer demands Flamel’s discoveries about the fabled Philosopher’s Stone in exchange for the safe return of the other. Guest finds himself in a protracted duel of wits with a taunting murderer who leaves clues all around the city as if he were the Riddler, of Batman fame. Meanwhile, children are dying of what appears to be some sort of plague, but Guest suspects that a human agent may be responsible. Some will feel that the author telegraphs too much of the ending, but all will appreciate her close attention to period detail. Agent: Joshua Bilmes, Jabberwocky Literary. (Oct.)