cover image Point of Sighs

Point of Sighs

Melissa Scott. Lethe, $18 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-59021-645-3

In this slow-burning fifth fantasy procedural set in the city of Astreiant (after 2014’s Fairs’ Point), Adjunct Nicholas Rathe and his lover, Guard Captain Philip Eslingen, are once again drawn into unsavory matters of murder, corruption, and intrigue. The death of a tea captain sparks jurisdictional rivalries between the city’s various law enforcement factions, including those in the neighboring Points of Sighs and Dreams, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg; more bodies, including that of a prominent pointsman, turn up. With tensions on the docks rising and rumors of the resurgence of a mythical water spirit, the Riverdeme, putting everyone on edge, it’s up to Nicholas and Philip to unravel the truth behind the troubles. Scott’s world is atmospheric, moody, and richly detailed; the emphasis on trade disruptions, tea, and institutional graft provides an intriguing angle for the relatively leisurely plot. The underlying mystery is solid; the protagonists operate together in a comfortable fashion, but lack the passion suggested by their relationship. This entry works as a standalone, but readers invested in the series may get more out of it. (May)