Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Night of the Salamander, by Michael Swanwick

Tor.com, August 5, 2015; 5,384 words
Rating: 2, Not recommended

In an alternate, 19th-century Europe, aide de camp Ritter investigates a magical murder. This is #5 in the Mongolian Wizard Stories.

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: Narration and dialogue are spot-on. Even though this is #5 in a series of stories, you would never know it; it stands alone quite well. Nice touch that the murderer is a young girl, so they find a spy to accuse and kill--and even take the opportunity to redeem the Marshall's aide.

Con: It's a bad mystery story because there was no way for the reader to anticipate anything. The mademoiselle solves the murder for us, off stage. Then Ritter reveals that he's figured out the valet was a spy. The final line by Mademoiselle is the one false note of dialogue in the whole piece.

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