Sunday, April 29, 2018

Silence in Blue Glass, by Margaret Ronald

★★★☆☆ Good Setup for a Longer Story

(High Fantasy Mystery) The war with the Fair Folk is over, but Arthur still has PTSD. His brother invites him to a party, but the attendees are so ill-assorted and antagonistic something seems bound to go wrong. (8,178 words; Time: 27m)

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 250, published on .

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

Cobalt blue flask
Cobalt Blue Flask
Pro: This is a murder mystery. Who killed Georgiana Brennec and why?

Although one might have guessed that Anastasia Greene would have the best motive, given the rivalry over her husband, Jerimiah, or even Theo, whose company wanted the Brennecs’ contract to fail, it turns out to have been her brother, Quinn Brennec, who was unhappy at being forced to abandon painting and take a normal job.

The world described is so rich with potential conflicts and wonders that I'd be eager to read a longer work in the same setting.

The element Cobalt really is named for goblins (Kobolds in German), owing to the peculiar behavior of the ore, which (among other things) really did pose a danger of arsenic poisoning.  Cobalt compounds have been used to make blue glass, glazes, and ceramics since Egyptian times.

Con: The mystery is resolved too fast for my taste. We have no real time to think on it before Mieni simply solves it. More broadly, the story has so many powerful elements in it, not least the magic glass itself, it's disappointing that there isn't more to it.

The glass ball serves to mask the sound of the murder, but otherwise it has no real role in the story. One also wonders just how important it is to mask the sound of poison in the first place.

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