Thursday, May 9, 2019

Murder in the Spook House, by Michael Swanwick

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(Alternate-History Fantasy; The Mongolian Wizard) In this episode, Ritter investigates the murder of Sir Toby, but a newfangled lie-detector machine threatens to make him obsolete. (3,919 words; Time: 13m)

Like other stories in the series, this one is good fun, but they are best read starting at the beginning. maintains a current list of all The Mongolian Wizard Stories

"," by (edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden), published on by .

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

Review: 2019.307 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: To better review this story, I read all the others in the series, starting from the first one. They do work much better than if you start in the middle.

It’s quite a shock to hear that Sir Toby has been assassinated, since he’s been so critical to all episodes to this point. Ritter’s investigation is as thorough and careful as we’ve come to expect, but this time he figures it all out for himself; usually he gathers lots of clues, but someone else is key to solving the mystery.

Con: Like the other stories in the series, it’s light and forgettable. The setting (an alternate 19th Century) is the most interesting part. This episode had no real tension, since Ritter is in complete control, and even across eight episodes, Ritter still isn’t a three-dimensional character.

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